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Dent d'Hérens (4,171 m.a.s.l.)

The Dent d’Hérens lies to the west of the Matterhorn, and is linked to it by a four kilometre long ridge. The approaches are long from all sides. The East Ridge is actually one of the longest in the Alps. You will have to undertake a long hike to take a look at this 4,000-metre mountain, because the Dent d'Hérens is very isolated. It can be seen, however, on the way from Zermatt to Schönbiel via Zmutt.

Origin of the name
The name Dent d'Hérens has been official since the publication of the Dufour Map (1845 – 1865), and is derived from the name of the Val d'Hérens. There was probably some confusion with the name of the Dent Blanche, because the inhabitants of the lower Val d’Hérens called the mountain Dent Blanche, while the inhabitants of the upper valley called it Dent de Rong or Dent d’Erins.

History / Legends
The Col d'Hérens was one of the most important glacier passes of the Middle Ages. It led to St. Martin in Val d'Hérens and was the easiest and shortest way from Zermatt to Sitten (Sierre). Many Zermatt families settled down in St. Martin. The documented annual processions to the Bishop’s see at Sitten, which were carried out by a priest and eight men, took this route. The Small Ice Age led to the abandonment of this pass. Today, the Col d'Hérens is part of the main route between Zermatt and Chamonix. It was completed in a single stage for the first time during the Second World War, in order to check the operational capability of the mountain brigade. Today, it is the route of the legendary „Patrouille des Glaciers“, the hardest mountain race in the world.


4,171 m a.s.l.

First climbed

12th August 1863

First climbed by

The first ascent was carried out on 12. August 1863 by Florence Crauford Grove, William Edward Hall, Reginald Somerled Macdonald, Montagu Woodmass, Melchior Anderegg, Jean-Pierre Cachat and Peter Perren.


Information for hikers

Different hiking tips with a view of the mountain

Hike from Zermatt to the Schönbielhütte cabin

Cabins on the trail / picnic opportunities

Zmutt, Stafelalp, Schönbielhütte cabin
Mountain railway facilities Prices

Information for mountaineers / alpinists

Valley location

Lago di Place Moulin (1,950 m.a.s.l.)
Zermatt (1,620 m.a.s.l.)

Starting point

Rifugio Aosta (2,781 m.a.s.l.)
Schönbielhütte cabin (2,694 m.a.s.l.)

Various routes

West-northwest Ridge (normal route starting from Switzerland)

  • Difficulty: S, III (French scale: D; with III. UIAA level rock climbing)
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Starting point: Schönbielhütte cabin (2694 m)
  • Valley location: Zermatt (1609 m)

West Ridge (normal route starting from Italy)

  • Difficulty: ZS, III (French scale: AD; with III. UIAA level rock climbing)
  • Duration: 5½ hours
  • Starting point: Rifugio Aosta (2,781 m)
  • Valley location: Rifugio Prarayer (2004 m) or the car park by the Place Moulin reservoir.

East Ridge

  • Difficulty: S, IV (French scale: D; with IV. UIAA-level rock climbing)
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Starting point: Bivacco Giorgio e Renzo Novella (3,706 m) or Colle Tournanche (3479 m)

Refreshment areas / mountain cabins

Rifugio Aosta (2,781 m.a.s.l.)
Schönbielhütte cabin (2,694 m.a.s.l.)

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