Glacier trek to the Monte Rosa hut Mountain tour

The glacier trek to the Monte Rosa hut is a very special experience, but not suitable for all. Zermatt Tourism and the Alpin Center Zermatt recommend that this tour be undertaken only in the company of a mountain guide with local knowledge.

Best season

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Description

Hikers who don a pair of crampons for this glacier trek encounter a unique world: a cold wind blows continuously, and an icy chill hangs in the air. The sound of creaking and cracking emerges from deep down in the river of ice. In the middle of the glacier, hikers find the broken rocks and rubble of the medial moraine, along with glacier tables: boulders perched on pedestals of ice, which appear solid enough but which could collapse at any time. Small streams steadily scour channels through the glacier; rocks of varying sizes heat up in the sun and work their way down through the ice, leaving pools filled with water.

The trek starts at Rotenboden and leads along the extended lateral moraine. Hikers may be lucky enough to spot ibex; some of the males give off such a strong scent that walkers may well smell them before seeing them. At the entrance to the Gorner Glacier, tall metal ladders, permanently attached to the rock, lead down to the river of ice.

The Gorner Glacier is the second-longest in the Alps, after the Aletsch Glacier. This steadily flowing sea of ice has been melting at a phenomenal pace for years. The melting process is resulting in great changes on and in the glacier. Until just a few years ago, hikers could walk comfortably across the glacier to the Monte Rosa hut with little risk. Today, conditions have become unstable, and so hikers are strongly recommended to undertake the trek with a mountain guide.

  • Only undertake the trek with a mountain guide
  • Bookable trips in summer (Zermatt Tourismus, Alpin Center)
  • Crampons required
  • For accommodation at the Monte Rosa hut, reservations are compulsory
Rotenboden - Monte Rosa hut (route across glacier marked with flags)

(Hiking time for the walk back: approx. 4h)

We recommend for the Klimahörpfad (climate audio trail):
  • Audio guide (available with deposit from Zermatt Tourism, Gornergrat Bahn station or Alpin Center). Also available as podcast.
  • Good footwear
  • Crampons
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Clothing suitable for the weather (always carry a waterproof)

Important! A good head for heights, a sure foot and mountain experience are all needed

The route leads across the Gorner glacier. This has changed a great deal in recent years. Recommended: book a mountain guide.

The mountain landscape around Zermatt, with 38 summits above 4,000 metres, offers breathtaking panoramic views and is home to a wealth of fauna and flora.

Additional information and recommendations are available from the guest information centre on Bahnhofplatz (by the railway station).
  • Plan every mountain tour carefully and adapt to participants’ fitness level as well as the weather and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.
  • Inform others of planned route, and whenever possible avoid going alone.
  • Do not leave the marked routes; do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • It is forbidden to walk on the ski pistes.
  • Please be considerate to other walkers and to plants and animals.
  • Take note of the warning signs drawing attention to the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs.

Important! Difficulty level T4 – the route is difficult. Glacier traverse. Unsuitable for inexperienced mountain hikers. We recommend the services of a mountain guide. Return hiking time 7-8 hours.

Zermatt is car-free. Private vehicles are permitted only as far as Täsch (5 km before Zermatt). The Täsch–Zermatt road is closed to the public.

Onward travel to Zermatt is either by private taxi or shuttle train. Trains depart every 20 minutes; the journey takes about 12 minutes, and ends at the Bahnhofplatz in Zermatt.
Täsch has car parks with both covered and open-air parking – e.g. at the Matterhorn Terminal or privately operated facilities.

Onward travel: see “Getting there”.
By train to the Matterhorn village: 3½ hours from Zürich airport or 4 hours from Geneva airport. Change at Visp onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (Matterhorn Gotthard Railway). From Visp, the railway leads through the Mattertal valley past idyllic small villages to Zermatt.

Zermatt is also the start and finish point for the world-famous Glacier Express panoramic train journey (Zermatt to St. Moritz or Davos).
Neue Monte Rosa Hütte SAC - Ein autarkes Bauwerk im hochalpinen Raum. Ambrosetti / Tonatiuh. 2010. GTA Verlag, ISBN 978-3-85676-273-5.
A walking map (1:25,000) is available from Zermatt Tourism’s guest information centre, along with brochures containing tips and recommendations.

Map and arrival

Condition 

Technique 

Experience 

Landscape 

Difficulty hard
Distance 7.35 km
Ascent 527 m
Descent 464 m
Duration 4,0 h
Lowest point 2548 m
Highest point 2887 m

Starting point of the tour:

Rotenboden (2'815 m)

Destination of the tour:

Monte Rosa-Hütte SAC (2'883 m)

Properties:

  • Nice views
  • Geological highlights
  • Faunistic highlights
  • Tour route
  • With refreshment stops
  • Botanical highlights
  • Mountain railway ascent/descent

Download


Tour map (PDF)
Google-Earth
GPS-Track

More infos

Guided tours from the Alpin Center Zermatt