Mountain tour

Glacier trek to the Monte Rosa hut

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.

360° Panorama
  • Type Mountain tour
  • Difficulty hard
  • Duration 4,00 h
  • Distance 7,4 km
  • Ascent 527 m
  • Descent 464 m
  • Lowest point 2548 m
  • Highest point 2887 m


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 (bookable through the office of Zermatters)
  • 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.


Instead of returning from the Monte Rosa hut on the same day, this modern hut has 120 beds for overnight stays.


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.

Map and arrival