Whilst, at 4017m the Weissmies only just makes it into the exclusive club of Alpine 4000m peaks, it has many more attributes to recommend an ascent than just its altitude…
The traverse of the Weissmies is a classic high alpine journey, among some of the Giants of the Swiss Alps, and provides an extremely enjoyable long weekend when combined with its neighboring 4000m peak, the Lagginhorn. This course is suitable for climbers with good fitness and some basic mountaineering experience and is a great progression for higher & more technical alpine ascents.
Climb the Weissmies, Featuring…
- Ascents of two fine Swiss alpine 4000m peaks
- Rocky mountain scramble in ascent, glacial traverse in descent topped by a fine snowy & narrow summit ridge
- 2 nights spent in lovely Swiss mountain huts. Superb locations, hospitable staff, good Swiss mountain food
- Quality alpine mountaineering training
- Great progression (and acclimatisation) towards climbing other 4000m peaks including Mont Blanc & the Matterhorn
- Meet other like minded climbers for a sociable weekend in the mountains
- An action packed long alpine weekend easily done from Geneva Airport & transfer to Chamonix
- The option of returning to Chamonix at the end of the course or catching a train direct to Geneva from Martigny station
Day 1 – Journey Deep Into the Swiss Valais Alps
Our three day Weissmies course begins in Chamonix, easily reached from Geneva airport via a simple one hour transfer. Day 1 begins with introductions, a weather brief and equipment check. We can also hire out any alpine mountaineering equipment out at this stage. Please check our alpine mountaineering equipment list and mountaineering equipment hire pages in advance and let us know what items you will require.
Our onward car journey from Chamonix takes us east across the Swiss border and through the Vineyards of the Rhone Valley before we steadily ascend the classic Swiss alpine valley of the Saastal to Saas Grund. Here we leave the car, visit the cafe & climbing shop for any final items required and take the bus up to the village of Saas Almagell where the pleasant 7km, 4 hour hut walk begins.
The Almageller Hut is a classic Swiss Mountain Refuge. Attractive & hospitable, with good food, great views and the hut’s elevation of 2894m is a reasonable sleeping altitude for the first night spent up high. Dinner is served around 6.30pm and involves 4 courses including soup, salad, main course & dessert. Guten Appetit!
Day 2 – Traverse of the Weissmies (4017m)
On summit day breakfast is served at around 4am and our intention will be to leave the hut 45 mins after that. A rough & rocky path leads up through stony meadows where the classic alpine sensation of being surrounded by the bobbling head lamps of other teams gives a great pre-dawn atmosphere.
The arrival of dawn coincides with reaching the Zwischbergenpass at 3268m. This is an inspiring place in the first rays of the sun from the east, with expansive views over the Italian plains and lake Maggiore, while the Swiss Alpine giants remain aloof in the shadows to the west. A magnificent spot for a brief pause before ascending the snow slopes leading to the rocky South Ridge.
The South Ridge is not technically difficult but is sustained & offers fun scrambling. It is a good introduction to this style of mountaineering in preparation for routes on the higher & harder alpine peaks. The delightful summit ridge presents a slightly exposed but enjoyable snow crest leading right to the summit and a breath taking panorama of the Alpine chain.
Whilst the ascent of the mountain, spread over two days from Saas Almagell has been long, the descent is relatively short and swift. Some steep snow slopes, crevasses and seracs require careful negotiation on this descent and the aim is to to complete the descent early whilst snow conditions remain good.
A relaxing early lunch can then be enjoyed at the ‘Hohsaas’ ski station & mountain hut with a great view of the North Flank of the mountain. We then make a short further descent of the mountain to reach the Weissmies Hut to spend the afternoon relaxing & preparing for another alpine start & ascent the next morning.
Day 3 – Climb the Lagginhorn (4010m)
Another 0400 breakfast is taken to start the ascent of The Lagginhorn. The classic route from the Weissmies Hut presents a climb of around 1000m graded alpine ‘PD’ and characterised by rough walking, easy scrambling and a few short steep snow or ice mountaineering sections.
The descent is relatively short and swift and considerably aided by the presence of the high ski lift which spares the knees for the descent down to the fleshpots of Saas Grund!
After lunch in Saas Grund the return drive to Chamonix is made with the option of being dropped off at Martigny train station for the direct train to Geneva Airport. Details of this rail journey can be checked on the Swiss Railway timetable website. We aim to be back in Chamonix by mid-late afternoon on day 3.
Required Fitness and Experience Levels
Some previous mountaineering experience is required for the traverse of the Weissmies. Those who have never worn crampons before should investigate our ‘Chamonix Alpine Introduction’ and ‘Climb the Gran Paradiso’ courses or arrange some private guiding & mountaineering training prior to the course.
Both ascents involve some rocky / mixed scrambling and somewhat narrow and exposed summit ridges so folk should have a head for heights, although the actual difficulty level is quite low. Steep snow must be negotiated efficiently in descent which is why some prior experience with crampons is necessary.
A very good level of fitness & stamina is also required for the long walk to the hut (4 hours) and 1100m climb to above 4000m on the 2 summit days (c. 5-8 hours).
Suggested Course Progression
A good build up to climbing the Weissmies would be completing our Intro Alpine Course and Climbing the Gran Paradiso. This would then set you up well for Climbing Mont Blanc.
After that our series of Chamonix mountaineering courses forms a logical progression in the following order; ‘Becoming an Alpinist’ followed by Chamonix Alpinist & then Chamonix private guiding for harder / longer routes & north faces as well as our Climb the Eiger & Matterhorn courses.
When To Climb the Weissmies
Whilst the main season for climbing the Weissmies is high summer (June to September) it is possible to climb the mountain all year round according to weather and conditions. With stable snow conditions In winter and spring, most will make the ascent on skis via the high Hohsaas lift. Those looking for a quieter and tougher climbing experience may choose to climb in the Autumn when the mountain lifts and huts are all closed. Depending on conditions an ascent at this time may still be possible, using the hut’s ‘winter room’ and indeed this can provide a remote feel & magical mountain journey.
Please note the Wiessmies or Climb the Gran Paradiso ascents can often be linked with each other and our Climb Mont Blanc / Climb the Matterhorn courses or would provide a useful springboard for more alpine climbing on a private guiding basis. Please get in touch with your own dates to arrange a private guide for the Wiessmies or an Autumn ascent. We run a range of 3 day courses throughout summer season. See our course dates below.
We can also arrange excellent private guiding itineraries where it is possible to climb some other very good routes from the Almageller Hut (Dry Hornli Ridge & Traverse of the Portjengrat) and the Wiessmies Hut (South Ridge Lagginhorn, North Ridge Weissmies, Fletschorn, Jeggihorn etc) thereby creating a magnificent 3-5 day mountaineering itinerary in the upper Saastaal.
Dave Lozman, Weissmies & Gran Paradiso Courses, Sept 2016
Just a quick one to say thanks for this last week. The climbing has been amazing, particularly the Weissmies. The company has also been good and the guides excellent. I’m already thinking of booking again for next year and I’d like to discuss some further objectives and my development as an alpine climber. Many thanks once again.
Please refer to our classic alpine mountaineering equipment list for a summer traverse of the Weissmies.
2018 Course Dates & Prices
Please check our individual course dates below and visit that page to reserve your place.
2018 Course Price £795.00
What’s included in the Price?
- 3 days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Transport during the course from Chamonix to the Swiss Alps & back
- Discounted equipment hire prices if required
- Trip management & booking of mountain huts
What’s not included?
- Dinner, bed and breakfast in the mountain huts, 77 Swiss Francs per person per night. Discounted if you are a member of an alpine club.
- The guides dinner bed & breakfast at a discounted rate split between group members. E.g with 3 clients this would be c. 20 Swiss Francs each.
- Chamonix Valley accommodation – please see our Chamonix Accommodation notes. Prices start from camping at C.10 euros per night, Bunkhouse for C.20 euros per night and hotel accommodation from around 40-50 euros upwards.
- Lunches, drinks and snacks
- The high mountain lift pass to descend from Hohsaas (C.25 Swiss Francs)
- Flights and transfers to Chamonix
- Mountaineering equipment. Check the kit list above
- Insurance suitable for alpine mountaineering in Europe
Please visit the specific Weissmies course dates above to complete a booking form, make a payment and confirm your place.
Sari Long, Weissmeis Course, September 2015
Aaron and I had a fantastic climb up the Weismeiss. Thank you for the great conversation and absolute professionalism. Thanks also for the trotti bike recommendation for the descent – that was awesome! Looking forward to the chance to do more…