Zermatt and Saas Fee

For the last five days I have been guiding for Northern Mountain Sport in the Zermatt and Saas Fee valleys where the weather and mountain conditions have been challenging.

Andy and Rob scrambling on Pollu(4092m) in less than perfect weather.
Andy and Rob scrambling on Pollux(4092m) in less than perfect weather.


Andy, Rob and I met on Saturday with a variable mountain forecast. We immediately used the Klein Matterhorn lift to gain height before using map, compass and GPS to locate the South West Ridge of Pollux (4092m). We climbed this in deteriorating weather before more map work safely deposited us in the Refuge Guide Val d’Ayas.

The weather the next morning was even worse than the day before with fresh snow covering all tracks. Mountain Guide Bruno from Fiesch did a great job in putiing a new track over the Grande Glacier di Verra which all teams used to return to the Klein Matterhorn station and Zermatt.

The forecast for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was variable. We headed to the Britannia Hutte above Saas Fee via the Plattjen lift. After some lunch we had a great afternoon on the Holaub Gletscher looking at crevasse rescue, the construction of ice anchors and ice climbing skills.

Andy waiting to be rescued from a deep crevasse.
Andy waiting to be rescued from a deep crevasse.

Yesterday, we climbed to the Adlerpass (3789m) putting in a new track all the way across the Allalin Gletscher in deep snow. From here we attempted to climb the Strahlhorn but had to retreat in poor weather and dangerous snow conditions (lots of fresh snow covering deep crevasses on the ridge).

Rob and Andy on the Allalin Gletscher during a spell of good weather.
Rob and Andy on the Allalin Gletscher during a spell of good weather.

Today was the final day of our trip. We had a great day traversing from the Britannia Hutte over the Holaub and Allalin Gletscher’s (again utilising Scottish winter navigational skills) and the Schwarxbergchopf (2868m) before descending to Mattmark from where the excellent Post bus service returned us to Saas Fee. On the way we also spent time relooking at crevasse rescue and also practising prusiking skills.


It has been a tough but rewarding week to finish the season on. Tomorrow I return to Scotland to begin the Autumn season.


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