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Freeride tour of the week | Zermatt - Schwarztor

Zermatt classic with short ascent and long glacier descent

by Lorenzo Rieg 12/27/2015
The Schwarztor is not one of the great classics in Zermatt for nothing. After a short but impressive ascent, you reach the Schwarztor, which provides a passage northwards between Breithorn and Pollux to the Schwarzgletscher and the descent on the same. This is certainly not the most challenging descent in the area, but the landscape experience and, above all, the ratio of ascent to descent altitude meters are among the best.


Start at the mountain station on the Klein Matterhorn. From there, you traverse or push, if necessary with skins, in the direction of P3824, whereby it is best to head south. Up to this point, you also follow the normal route to the Breithorn, one of the most frequently climbed 4,000-metre peaks in the Alps, which also means that the route is very busy. After a short descent to the south-east, you pass the south side of the Breithorn massif to the Schwarztor.


From the Schwarztor, head north over the rugged Schwärze glacier. Good visibility, glacier equipment and appropriate knowledge are essential here. After passing through or around the glacier fractures and reaching the valley floor, continue out of the valley through the valley, which narrows into a gorge in places. Late in the season or when the snow conditions are poor, you may have to carry some of your skis. After you reach the bridge at 1945m, you have to climb a few more meters to get back to the ski area or the piste from Furgg to Furi.


Of course, the summit of the Breithorn can also be climbed on the way, which further enhances the already magnificent view. The Schwarztor descent is also suitable for making the "approach" to the Monte Rosa hut with lift access an interesting affair. The descent route can be seen in advance from the Stockhorn section of the Gornergrat.

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Difficulty (5-level scale): ****
Special dangers: The descent from Schwarztor leads over a very crevassed glacier. Appropriate equipment and knowledge are a prerequisite, as is good visibility.
Average steepness/maximum steepness: 30°/ 40°
Exposure: N-E
Altitude difference start and finish: 3883 m | 1867 m
Altitude difference uphill and downhill: 210 m | 2080 m
Duration: approx. 5h
Best time of year: March - May
Accommodation: There is of course plenty of accommodation in Zermatt and throughout the valley. If you want to travel cheaply, you can pitch your tent at Campingplatz Attermenzen near Täsch.
Directions: From Valais near Visp through the Mattertal to Zermatt.
Topographic maps: National Map of Switzerland, sheet 2515, Zermatt Gornergrat 1:25,000

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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