Our Zermatt 4000m Peaks climbing week concentrates on some of the most famous 4000m peaks in the Alps – the aim of the week is to climb technical 4000ers in the Swiss Valais from our base in Zermatt, but also visiting other areas nearby.
A challenging week climbing technical 4000m peaks in the Swiss Valais, based in Zermatt. Peaks are selected to make best use of current weather and conditions. Please tell us of any 4000m peaks you have already climbed, so we can plan accordingly. Typical grades are in the range PD+ to AD+.
Other dates may be available for this trip – please enquire.
This is an advanced level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 3+ and Tech Level 3+ (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines below). You need previous alpine climbing experience and must be capable of climbing grade IV rock (Hard Severe) in boots with a sac on, as well as Scottish III to succeed on these objectives. Good levels of fitness are required, as many of the hut approaches are long and typical routes involve 6-9 hours climbing each day (see fitness level 3-4) so we advise you to prepare well in advance with regular exercise and training.
One IFMGA guide climbing with 2 clients.
Included in price
- 6 days of guiding
- All guides expenses
- 4 nights accommodation in Zermatt, including breakfast
- 3 nights accommodation in mountain huts, including breakfast and 3-course evening meal
- Local travel in the guide’s vehicle to complete the course itinerary
Excluded from price (see course factsheet for cost estimates)
- Evening meals in Zermatt
- Trains and cable cars
- Lunches and drinks
- Travel to resort
- Equipment hire
We work with a number of 2* hotels and chalets in Zermatt that provide an ideal base for mountaineering activities, with a good breakfast and simple yet comfortable shared rooms. Rooms are provided on a twin (or occasionally 4-6 person) sharing basis, but if you prefer a single room please let us know at the time of booking and we will provide a quote. Storage facilities are available, so any extra luggage can be left in the accommodation during your time spent in huts. Hotel details can be found on our Accommodation page.
For overnights in the high mountains, we will use mountain huts. For more info please read the Using Alpine Huts article which provides an overview of typical facilities, average costs to help you budget for lunches/drinks, and general info on hut etiquette.
You should arrange outward travel on Saturday, arriving by 5-6pm latest in time for the briefing at your accommodation. Your guide will run through safety routines and kit checks, as well as hand out any rental equipment, before we go on to discuss everyones ambitions for the week, together with current weather and mountain conditions and how these affect our plans.
We’ll also have maps and guidebooks to show you, so if you’ve any further questions or last minute requests, then this is the ideal time to bring them up before we head on to dinner. PM Overnight in the valley.
Sunday and Monday
We typically start with 2 day outing above Zermatt, returning to the valley on Monday night.
(NB We run this week as a six day itinerary rather than a five day, because most of the peaks are climbed in a two day round trip – so six days is far more productive in terms of summits climbed).
2 Day Climbs from Zermatt valley:
- Pollux – Breithorn Traverse
Mon PM return to Zermatt, overnight in valley.
Tuesday to Friday
Typically we spend one night in the valley and two up in huts during this period.
2 Day Climbs in nearby valleys:
- Dent Blanche
- Lenzspitze – Nadelhorn
Some peaks also lend themselves to link ups and longer outings – examples are shown below:
Multiday Link Ups:
- Rimpfischhorn – Alphubel – 3 Days
- Dent Blanche – Dent D’Herens – 5 Days
Please tell us of any 4000m peaks you have already climbed when booking and you’re ambitions for the week, so that we can plan accordingly.
Return travel should be arranged on Saturday morning, after your final nights accommodation.
Your course starts and finishes in Zermatt. The most common way to reach Zermatt is fly into Geneva, then take a train along the Rhone Valley to Visp, then onward train service to Zermatt. Alternatively fly into Zurich or Basel.
Flights and transfers
- Fly to Geneva with numerous budget airlines: for an overview of the best options check out the excellent Sky Scanner flight comparison website.
- Train from Geneva/other airports to Zermatt: https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html(integrated Swiss travel website.
- If you plan to arrive by train, then purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass (details on website above) could save you some money on this course, as you get half fare on the cable cars in many resorts, as well as on the trains and buses. If you purchase a Swiss card the journey from the airport to Zermatt and back will also be included.
- Alternatively hire a car at any airport (all 3-4 hours driving time).
For flights and other travel options, including train, coach and driving, visit our Travel Planning page.
To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 3+, and Tech Level 3+ (as appropriate for the style of climbing on this trip ie Alpine, rock climbing or ice climbing).
Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hour hillwalk, 40-50 mile cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. Eg: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted.
Fitness Level 4
You do 4+ hours CV training/sport per week. A 70+ mile cycle ride, or 20+ mile hillwalk on a weekend would hold no fears. If so inclined, you might be the kind of person who has done longer road sportives/challenge rides, a ~3.30hr marathon or other similar endurance events. Keen hillwalkers who happily knock off 3-4+ munros in a day also have this kind of fitness and endurance.
Tech Level 3
Intermediate climber. Leading single or multi pitch trad rock climbs at Severe – VS / ice climbing experience seconding routes to Scottish grade 2 – 3 / familiar with multipitch abseil descents / alpine peaks at PD – easy AD standard.
Tech Level 4
Experienced climber. Leading multi pitch trad rock climbs at VS – HVS / multi pitch winter climbs to Scottish grade 4 / alpine peaks at AD – D standard. If you mainly climb with guides or seldom lead climb, you have extensive experience seconding at this standard.
To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.
Summer Alpine Kit List
Above all, alpine climbing kit needs to do the job, but be as light as possible. We work with various manufacturers including Arc’teryx, whose products we can thoroughly recommend.
- Wicking thermal top – long sleeved and light colour is ideal!
- Softshell Jacket – mid weight, wind resistant, light insulating layer (or a mid weight fleece jacket)
- Spare warm layer – lightweight synthetic/down jacket or other warm layer
- Waterproof jacket – lightweight breathable model
- Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight windproof softshell model
- Overtrousers – with long side zips
- Socks – warm ‘Smartwool’ type, plus thin liner socks and spares
- Gaiters – made from breathable material (or trim fitting trousers with ankle volume adjuster)
- Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
- Warm insulated gloves – wind and waterproof
- Warm hat – must fit under a helmet
- Water Container – at least 1 litre
- Headtorch and batteries
- Map, compass and whistle (optional, but a good idea)
- Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, painkillers etc
- Sun Glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
- Goggles – for windy/snowy conditions
- Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
- Sun hat
- Wallet and passport
- Alpine Club/BMC card (if you are a member) and insurance docs
Hut Overnight Items
- Small wash kit
- Spare lightweight t-shirt/socks/pants
- Silk sheet sleeping bag liner
- Ear plugs
- (Hut slippers for indoor use, and blankets/duvets and pillows are provided by the huts)
- Rucsac – 35/45l is perfect for general use
- Rucsac – superlight 15/20l model, for taking on long multi-pitch rock routes (for technical courses/private guiding)
- *Rigid mountaineering boots – Axe, Boot and Crampon advice
- Rock climbing shoes – must be comfortable enough to wear for several hours (can be hired in resort if nec)
- Approach shoes or trainers
- Trekking poles
- Harness, locking karabiner and belay device
- 2 prussik loops + karabiner – if in doubt, bring 3m of 6mm climbing cord!
- 120cm sling + locking karabiner
- Climbing helmet
- Crampons with antiball plates
- Ice Axe classic type for intro and general mountaineering courses
- Technical Ice Axe and Hammer – required for parts of the Tech Alpine/Cham Alpinist/Ice and Mixed/North Faces courses
Your guide will have ropes, climbing rack, first aid and survival equipment.
*Boots: These are VERY important to the success of your trip! Its best to have your own boots and break them in well before the start of the trip – see advice below.
Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website or our blog for equipment advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent walking boot fitting service and general equipment advice.
Please see our Equipment Hire page for more details.
For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for climbing and mountaineering activities as outlined in the course itinerary. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury. Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.
Please find further details on our insurance info page.