Monte Rosa Climb: Discover great heights and stunning views in the Pennine Massif

23 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

Although the Alps stretch far and wide, there is something special about the Pennine Alps that run along the Swiss-Italian border. Perhaps it’s the sheer number of peaks that practically touch the sky, or the small and historic town of Zermatt that provides access to this region. Whatever draws you, climbing Monte Rosa is an unforgettable adventure.

Monte Rosa is one of the largest alpine massifs. It comprises 18 giant peaks—each over 4,000 meters in height—and dozens of smaller summits and ridges. There are likewise numerous ways that one can climb the mountain. This is a spectacular destination for adventurers of all skill levels. 

The Pennine Alps

To gain access to the Pennine Alps, you’ll make your way to the lovely town of Zermatt. Zermatt itself has a small population of less than 6,000 residents. However, as a springboard for adventure, it draws many tourists year-round. Although there are frequently thousands of visitors lodging in and around Zermatt, you can still enjoy some blissful peace.

There are no combustion-engine vehicles permitted within city limits, with the exception of emergency vehicles. The few cars that do drive around town are battery-powered, and those are taxis and public buses. Overall, this quaint town provides a wonderful escape from city life. Zermatt is also situated squarely in between a multitude of sky-scraping summits. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the unique alpine scenery.

Of course, when you’re ready to head out of town, plenty of trekking and mountaineering options await. Monte Rosa draws many visitors, and it’s not hard to understand why. This giant massif includes Dufourspitze, the second-highest summit in the Alps. It’s one of dozens of peaks that collectively create this glacial mountain. There are dozens and dozens of climbing options available. Trips last two to ten days, suit all levels of experience, and are guaranteed to end in fantastic views. 

A charming hut you may stay overnight in your Monte Rosa climb

Most routes will begin with a cable car ride to a midway point on Monte Rosa. Climbers head for a mountain hut to rest for the evening, which allows them to get an early start in the morning. These lodges are dotted all over the massif, so you’re guaranteed relatively easy access to any route. 

The Margherita hut on the summit of Punta Gnifetti is located the highest of any lodge in Europe. The Gnifetti hut boasts a Michelin-star restaurant. The Monte Rosa hut is particularly popular for its sustainable design and tech friendliness. Regardless of where you rest, you’ll be surrounded by stunning views and fellow mountaineers.

Monte Rosa, close to a summit

Every route provides the exciting opportunity to cross glaciers with crampons and hike up snow-covered paths. The temperature on Monte Rosa never rises above zero, so it’s important to bring plenty of warm clothing. More advanced climbers will enjoy scaling the steep rock faces with ice screws and ropes. As all these excursions will bring you to high altitudes, it’s important to acclimatize yourself to avoid sickness or feeling faint. Most travelers explore Monte Rosa in the company of a seasoned guide, which allows you to focus on the adventure at hand. 

From the top of Monte Rosa’s many peaks, you can see nearby summits like Matterhorn and Breithorn. Alpine meadows and valleys stretch far below you, including the Rhone Valley. The best weather and views occur in summertime. The sky is clear, and you can enjoy the endless beauty of the Pennine Alps. When you’ve soaked in all the snowy, icy beauty, you can head back to your lodge for a good night’s rest. In the morning, you’ll return to town.

A glacier in the Pennine Massif

There are still plenty of other adventures waiting for you in Zermatt. Countless excursions and trips depart daily. Perhaps you’ll hike around the region or train to climb Matterhorn. If not, there are still helicopter tours and waterfall diving that can give you new perspectives of the beautiful valley. Zermatt itself boasts a wonderful mountaineering museum that’s a popular location for any climber. This tourist hotspot includes the history of the fateful Matterhorn climb in the 19th century. The museum even features the snapped rope from that climb. There are also Stone Age artifacts and plenty of historical exhibits that showcase Zermatt’s extensive history. Why not be a part of that history yourself? Make the trip and you, too, can climb the Alps.

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