- Northface
  - July2001


13841 feet/4219 meters
Wallis (Mischabel), Switzerland, Europe

Last update: April 15th, 2002
   © Copyright by Rahel Maria Liu


Hohberghorn, viewed from Stecknadelhorn in the East

© Copyright by Rahel Maria Liu


The Hohberghorn is a mountain which belongs to the Nadelgrat. It has a snow summit. As a mountain of the Nadelgrat it is not very interesting because it is only one peak of many. But the Hohberghorn has a northface which is also in summer not snowless. Its northface is similar to the Lenzspitze northface. You know that there do not exist so many of such pure snow northfaces in the Alpes any more, especially such which are regularly steep and without seracs. All the other routes around the Mischabelhütten can be overcrowded, but in the northface of the Hohberghorn you are probably alone. I did it solo. And I was by myself. From the Windjoch until the summit of the Hohberghorn I met nobody. And the view and panorama from the northface are wonderful.

The Northface was climbed for the first time by O. K. Williamson with Heinrich Fuchs and the guide Franz Lochmatter on 29th of July 1910.

The way back from the summit to the Mischabel hut over the Stecknadelhorn (compare: Nadelgrat is mixed climbing, rock (II) and snow.

Routes Overview

1. NOW-ridge from Hohbergjoch/Dürrenjoch :
  • II, 1,5 h, G 7, 300 hm ( Waeber )
2. OSO-ridge from Stecknadelhorn
  • II (passages), 1 1/4 h, G 6, snow and ice, crumbling in the lower part ( Waeber )
3. NE-face
  • pure ice tour, till 55°, G 8 ( Waeber )
  • S, IV, 3,5 - 5,5 h totally, 1 - 2 h for the NE-face ( Biner )
  • 50°, 320 hm, 2 h, from Mischabelhütten to the foot of the face 3 h ( Dumler)

Getting There

1. To the Hohberghorn:
  • a. You can come from the Mischabelhütten
  • b. You can come from the Bordierhütte
2. To the Mischabelhütten:
  • You reach the hut from Saas Fee in 4 h (on foot, 1540 hm). From Saas Fee, you go on the marked way (sign at the church) in western direction to the end of the Torrentbach. You traverse an avalanche barrier by a tunnel. You ascent over the bridge and zigzag via Trift and Schönegge to the end of the ridge which comes down from the Distelhorn to the SW (P. 2448,6m, 1 3/4 h). The wa goes up further to P. 2688m and the S-flank of the Distelhorn to the foot of the Fallglacier, about 3000m (1 1/4h). Clear signs show the way through rock, which you climb northern above the Fallglacier. Via a rock rib, you reach in zigzag the hut (1 h).

  • If you use the cable car to Hannigalp , the ascent takes 3/4 h less. After an horizontal traverse to the Torrentbach, you go up below the Distelhorn E-flank to Schönegge, where you meet the route, described above. (3-3,5 h, 1030 hm). Pay attention at the beginning at the summit station of the cable car: Interpret the sign to the Mischabelhütten correctly and do not turn right and do not go up, but keep on the main road/way which goes horizontally at the beginning!

  • You reach Saas Fee (1790m) with car or bus from Visp/Brig. Saas Fee is a modern holiday village, surrounded by many 4000m mountains and huge glaciers. You are not allowed to drive by car through the village. You must park at the main parking place at the entrance to the village.

  • Brig is the main city of the upper Wallis and the junction of the trains:
      a. Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon-Domodossola
      b. Furka-Oberalppass (Andermatt/Disentis, Glacierexpress)
      c. Brig-Visp-Zermatt
      d. Lake of Geneva-Milano

  • In Brig, many busses arrive as well:
      a. Simplon-Gondo
      b. Saastal
      c. Blatten
      d. Mund
      e. Rosswald

  • You reach Visp/Brig by car:

      a. from the West: From Geneva (airport) on the A1 to Lausanne, on the A9 via Montreux, Martigny and Sion to Sierre. From Sierre the road no. 9 with direction to Brig. But at Visp, you turn already right to the S with directin to the Saaser valley. In Stalden, you turn left and leave the Zermatter valley to the right. Here, the Saaser valley beginns. Via Saas Baalen and Saas Grund, you reach Saas Fee.

      b. from the North: from Bern on the A6 to Spiez, from here the road to Kandersteg, at Kandersteg, you drive your car on a train and go by train through a tunnel; end of the tunnel: Goppenstein; you continue the road to the S and reach the main road from Sierre. On the crossroad, you turn left (E) and reach Visp. From here, continue as route a.

      c. from the East: from Bregenz on the A13 to Chur; turn off at Reichenau and continue the road no. 19 to Brig/Visp via Flims - Sedrun - Andermatt - Gletsch - Fiesch. From Visp, continue as described in a.

      d. from the South: either from Como on the A2 via Bellinzona to Airollo, then road no.2 till Hospental and here to the left on the road no. 19 to Brig/Visp or from Arona till the end von the A26 and then the E62 via Domodóssola to Brig.
3. To the Bordierhütte:
  • You reach the hut from Gasenried in 4 h (1230m) and from St. Niklaus in 5 h (1740hm). You have to traverse a glacier which is marked in summer by poles.

  • From Gasenried, you go on the road to the chapel of Schalbettu, on the way over the Riedbach and zigzag through the forest to the moraine of Alpja (2099m). On the moraine crest, you go the way up to 2500m where you reach the glacier. You do not enter the glacier, but go up to the SW, zigzag the hang up till you reach 2700m by a traverse. Here you descent to the glacier (sign) and traverse this glacier to the E to the moraine. You traverse the moraine below the hut. On the other side (signs) you got to the hut. For the descent: the beginning of the way after the glacier is marked clearly. This is the ascent also in winter. If the conditions are good, you can also go from the summit station Seetalhorn via the ski-run and the hangs of the Riedberg to the glacier. But you have to pay attention to the traverse of the moraine!

  • You reach Gasenried via a small road from St. Niklaus. St. Niklaus is located in the middle of the Mattertal. You can go there by car, bus or train from Visp/Brig. If you come by car from Visp, turn right at Stalden and leave the Saasertal to your left. To Visp/Brig as described above.

When To Climb

  • Summer (June until August)

  • Red Tape

  • No permits, fees etc. are required. If you arrive by car, you have to use the central parking place in Saas Fee because you are not allowed to drive your car in Saas Fee.

  • Camping and/or Accomodation

  • There is a camping place in Saas Grund, where you can stay after having returned from the Weissmieshütte.

  • Good and cheap tourist camp for example in Saas Grund:
    Saaser Hütte Adler:

  • Mountainhuts

    1. MISCHABELHÜTTEN (3329 m):

    The Mischabelhütten are situated on a rockrib, which separates the Hohblamglacier from the little Fallglacier. Since 1975 there exists a new bigger hut above the old one, which still keeps beds. From the huts you have a wonderful view to Saas Fee and the Weissmiesgroup.
    2. BORDIERHÜTTE (2886 m):

    The Bordierhütte is situated above the Riedglacier.
      (according to Waeber :)
      - 43 beds
      - serviced July till middle of September
      - winter room open all the year
      - phone: ++41(0)27/9561909
      - Internet: Bordierhütte

    Mountain Conditions and General Information


    2. WEATHER


    4. TRAIN
      - Internet: http://www.sbb.ch/
      - Phone:++41(0)900300300
      - Travel agency: ++41(0)512258444


  • Schweizer Landeskarten:
      1:25000 no. 1327 Evolène
      1:25000 no. 1328 Randa
      1:50000 no. 5006 Matterhorn-Mischabel
      to order a
    DAV Service

  • Books

  • Hermann Biner , Hochtouren im Wallis. Vom Trient zum Nufenenpass. 2nd ed. 1996.
    ISBN 3-859022-160-5

  • Helmut Dumler /Willi P. Burkhardt, Viertausender der Alpen. 11th ed. Munich 1998.
    ISBN 3-7633-7427-2

  • Michel Vaucher, Walliser Alpen. Die 100 schönsten Touren. 2nd ed. Munich 1990.
    ISBN 3-7654-2124-3

  • Michael Waeber , Walliser Alpen. DAV-Gebietsführer. 12th ed. Munich 1999.
    ISBN 3-7633-2416-X