Height: 13,330 feet/4,062 meters
Location: Wallis, Switzerland, Europe
Lat/Lon: 47.08°N, 7.7°E

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


In the Obergabelhorn Northface (June 2000)  

(Picture credit to: ©Andreas Weinhold )


The Obergabelhorn has very steep flanks to each side. The smooth iceface to the north is very impressive. The southface is a pure rock face. It is one of the very few rock faces in the Walliser Alpes which one can recommend. The 4 ridges are more secure, since they have less danger of rock- and icefall. The SW-ridge (Arbenridge) provides great rock climbing possibilities. The NE-ridge to the Wellenkuppe is a mixed route. The SE-ridge is not very difficult. The NW-Ridge (Coeur-Ridge) is only in the upper, snowy part really interesting.

From the summit, one has a wonderful view to the Matterhorn with its Northface.

Routes Overview

1. ENE-ridge:
    - ZS, III+, 4,5 h ( Biner , 231 )
    - 250 hm, G 7, III- (1 passage), I and II near the summit; the rest ice till 50° 4,5-5h from Rothornhut ( Waeber, 434 )
2. SW-Ridge (Arbenridge):
    - ZS, III+, 3,5 h ( Biner, 238 )
    - G 6, III+ (short passage), II and I, 2,5 - 3 h, 500 hm,  very good rock (Waeber, 434 )
3. NW-ridge/Coeur-Ridge (from Mountethütte):
    - ZS, III, 5 h ( Biner, 236 )
    - G 7, III+, ice till 50°, 5-6 h, 1170 hm, in the upper third beautiful firn ridge (Waeber, 438)
4. N-Face:
    - Impressive Iceface, steepness: 55° in the average, at the end steeper, 450 hm, 1250 hm from Mountethut (Waeber, 439)
    - S, 6h (Biner, 238)
5. S-Face:
    - Several routes through the S-face, the easiest one: IV, G 7, good rock, very little danger of rockfall (Waeber, 439)
    - S, IV+, 5 h (Biner, 240)
Getting There

1. To the Obergabelhorn:
  • a. You can come from the Rothornhütte (3198 m).
  • b. You can come from the Cabane du Mountet (2886m).
2. To the Rothornhütte (3198 m):
  • You reach the hut in 4,5 hours from Zermatt (1580 hm). You reach the Berghaus Trift (2337m) in 2 hours from Zermatt. The best way is if you follow the sign in the center of the village. You go over grass to Bodmen and on the northern side of the Triftbach to the Triftschlucht. The way goes through is and to a bridge to the S-side. In zigzag you go up to the hotel Edelweiss and the way along the Triftbach, pass it then and climb up to the Trifthaus along the northern side of the stream. Then you go further up along the stream and reach Vieliboden. You go up to the moraines of the Triftglacier and along the left/northern moraine in zigzag to the Rothornhut. 2,5 h from Trift.

  • You reach Zermatt (1616m) with car or bus from Visp/Brig and by train from Täsch. Zermatt is well-know in the whole world as one center of the Walliser Alps. You are not allowed to drive your car in 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 right and leave the Saaser valley to the left. Here, the Matter valley beginns. Via St. Niklaus, Randa and Täsch, you reach Zermatt.

      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 Cabane du Mountet (2886m):
  • You reach the hut from Zinal on the E-route (4 1/2 h, 1250 hm, 9 km): From the parking place at the southend of Zinal, you cross a bridge and follow the road on the western side of the Navisence to the S till it goes up. You keep on the road which goes up to the alphut Le Vichiesso (1862m). Shortly afterwards, you turn right to the new Mountet-hut-way. You go the road down to the left, traverse the stream of the glacier end (Zinalglacier) on a bridge. You reach the turn off to the Tracuit-hut and Ar-Pitetta-hut (1,5 h). You take the right way and go up zigzag in SE-direction, traverse the western hangs of the Besso above the breaks of the Zinalglacier. You turn around the Besso-SW-ridge via a rock zone below P. 3052m. In SE-direction, you reach the hut via lumps of rocks.

  • You reach the hut from Zinal on the W-route (4 1/2 h, 1350 hm, 9 km). From the parking place at the southend of Zinal, you cross a bridge and follow the road on the western side of the Navisence to the S till it goes up. You keep on the road which goes up to the alphut Le Vichiesso (1862m). Here, you leave the way and go up to the Petit-Mountet-hut (2 h). The new way goes up over the hangs of the Pgne de la Le, around a rock zone at about 2550 m. Then you go down and reach the falling line of the Bouquetins-O-rib which leads to the Zinalglacier via the break. You traverse the glacier with SE-direction and go up on the orographically right side. You leave it at P. 2652m and go up to the hut over the W-hang. The skiascent goes over the whole Zinalglacier. Pay attention to avalanches from the flanks if there is much sunshine!

  • You reach Zinal from Sierre (28 km) by bus or car via Vissoie and Ayer (Val d'Anniviers).

  • To Sierre from Sion (491m) in the West of Visp/Brig in the East.

When To Climb

  • During summer

  • Camping and/or Accomodation

  • Camping and hotels in Zermatt or other villages in the valley

  • Mountainhuts

    1. Rothornhütte (3198 m):

    The hut is situated at the foot of Eseltschuggen, at the end of the SE-ridge of the Zinalrothorn, and on the left side of the Triftglacier.
    2. Cabane du Mountet (2886m):

    The hut is situated right above the glacier de Zinal, the lowest end of the Blanc-de-Moming-SW-ridge.
      (according to Waeber :)
      - 105 beds
      - serviced from July until the end of September
      - from October to June: 50 beds
      - phone: ++41(0)27/4751431
      - internet: Cabane du Mountet or vs.wallis.ch

    Mountain Conditions and General Information



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