When people ask me “When is the best time for the Matterhorn?” I always answer…
The Wallis (or Valias in the French speaking part) is also quite close to here and in mid May we took advantage of some good weather in that area. Monika and I did a personal trip, traveling to Zermatt and then to the Monte Rosa Hut. We caught the Klein Matterhorn lift up to 3800m before skiing over towards the Schwarztor (black gate). This has a fantastic glacial ski run down onto the Gorner Glacier over a 1000m meters below and is the typically ski access route to the hut as well as often being done as a day trip. Another less commonly skied route is to traverse up and over Castor 4223m and then ski down the Zwillings glacier.
This is a more broken and crevassed route which was on this spring due to the great snow cover on the high glaciers. After some hard work breaking trail in over knee-deep snow we were stoked to arrive at the summit of Castor before the clouds had built up too much and it hadn’t clouded in. This often happens as it is on the Italian border and so a bit of a cloud magnet. With good visibility we skied off down the Glacier. Thankfully the skies remained clear and we got some good skiing as well as being lucky to ski a line that is rarely on. The people at the hut followed our progress with interest as the line is in full view straight across the valley. It all went smoothly through the maze of crevasses at the bottom of the glacier, so we didn’t need to call the hut for advice on which route to take. Not usually an option I’m used to either.
The next day the weather held so we ski toured up the to West ridge of the Dufourspitze and climbed along the ridge to the summit. The snow cover made for good cramponing conditions and after a couple of hours and a bit of proper climbing we arrived at the summit.
At 4634m it is the highest on Monte Rosa and the highest point in Switzerland. Not far across from us was the highest hut in the Alps; Rifugio Margherita sitting on Signalkuppe at 4554m just on the Italian side of the border.
Spring in Switzerland has something for everyone but for us the abundance of great ski touring with the ability to travel light due to the catered huts is quite special.
Stay tuned for more.
Tim & Monika