Weissmies 4017 m

Our story 

Weissmies 4017 m

Finally time to kick off part two of this project! 

Emma S. And Hanna came to pick me up in Italy with the van, and in the early morning we drove to Saas Fee to pick up Lisa, who was joining us on this climb. She wanted to climb her first 4000 m mountain, and we were happy to have her with us! 

The approach 

In the early afternoon we left Saas-Almagell to head towards the Almagellerhütte. This is a hike with 1200 m altitude gain, on a nice, but steep trail that passes first through the forest and then through the beautiful open valley near a little river – very pretty. 

About halfway up there’s a small hotel where we took a break to have something to drink. The sun was scorching hot so we really needed to stay hydrated! After about 4 hours of hiking we reached the Almagellerhütte, which was still closed for the season – so we headed to the winter room instead. 

We had a quick dinner and brushed our teeth in the company of some very cute mountain goats before making ourselves comfortable in our sleeping bags and trying to get some sleep (with varying results!). 

The climb

The next day we woke up at 4 am, had some breakfast and headed out in the semi-darkness towards our goal for the day – the South-East ridge of Weissmies. The normal route to the summit of this mountain is currently off-limits due to dangerous conditions, which is why we chose this route instead. 

The climb starts with a hike from the hut at 2894 m up to the Zwischbergenpass at 3268 m. From there you descend a bit before heading up the steep section towards the ridge. We found some slippery snow sections here which slowed us down a bit – and also we started to feel the altitude! It’s always hard when you’re unacclimatized. 

We eventually reached the ridge and started climbing – it was lots of fun! Mostly scrambling and easy climbing that never felt too hard or exposed. At around 3600 m we had to take a break to evaluate the situation since 3 of us had a bad headache and the 4th had some stomach issues. After some considerations we decided to keep moving slowly anyway, since the forecast looked amazing and we were in no hurry to get to the summit. 

It turned out to be a good decision – we all felt better after some rest, and slowing down made it easier on our bodies to keep on climbing up the ridge. After about 350 meters of ridge climbing we reached a snow plateau where we put our crampons on and decided to rope up since in order to reach the fore-summit we had to climb a very short but exposed section where the snow was melting a bit. After the fore-summit a beautiful snow ridge leads to the summit, at 4017 m. It felt so good to finally reach the summit – and that we made it there in the end even though we all had some issues with the altitude. 

The descent

For me personally (but I think that the others would also agree with me on this one…) this was the hardest part of the day. Descending the ridge was slow, on that kind of terrain it takes almost the same amount of time to go down as it does to go up. 

When we finally reached the end of the ridge both Emma and I were in terrible pain from our shoes. Luckily Emma, Hanna and I all have the same shoe size, so we ended up switching shoes to at least change the spots where the shoes were putting pressure on our feet. This turned out to be a great idea – it made the descent so much easier! 

Nevertheless the descent was still very very long. We stopped at the hut to pick up our sleeping gear, and then continued the long walk down towards the valley.  A total of almost 2500 m descent was really hard on our knees and feet – I was definitely struggling through the last few hundred meters. The thought of a cold dip in the stream and a pizza as soon as we reached the valley kept me going though 🙂 

This was definitely a very fun climb that really tested our bodies and endurance! The summit day was about 15 hours long for me, and a bit longer for Emma S. who had really bad issues with her feet so she took it slower on the way down. Luckily we had planned for a rest day after this, which was just what we needed! 

//Emma H. 


Route & grade

South East ridge from Almagellerhütte, grade PD


Pennine Alps, Switzerland

Start of climb

Saas Almagell


7 km from Saas Almagell to Almagellerhütte

3 km from Almagellerhütte to the summit of Weissmies

Elevation gain

+1290 m from Saas Almagell to Almagellerhütte

+1200 m from the hut to the summit

Estimated time

3-4 hours to the hut

4-6 hours to the summit from the hut (also take into account that the first part of the descent will be slow since you need to down climb some sections!)

About the route

This is a fun route – and a nice way to reach the summit of Weissmies while avoiding the dangerous seracs on the normal route. The climbing is generally quite easy, with rock that is surprisingly solid in most places (although, always test the holds before pulling hard on something!).

When to climb

Summer. The climb is nice and easy when it’s snow free – I’m guessing it will be a bit more difficult if there’s still a lot of snow on the ridge.

Gear to bring

30-40 m rope, harness, crampons, ice axe, helmet.

GPS track

Approach to Almagellerhütte from Saas Almagell

Weissmies South East ridge from Almagellerhütte


We stopped halfway up during the approach to get something to drink, at the Almagelleralp Hotel

The Almagellerhütte, at 2894 m

Relax outside the bivy

Close-up view of the South East ridge!