If you want an alpine tour that’s really good in all respects then the North Ridge of the Zinalrothorn is hard to beat. I’d previously climbed the peak from Zermatt via the Rothorn Hut, so when the opportunity arose to make an ascent from Zinal I was keen to squeeze it into my summer schedule.
I met Andy and Dave at Sierre station and drove them to the roadhead above Zinal, which is a nice journey in itself up a relatively unspoilt Swiss valley. The lads then set a cracking pace up to the hut, in spite of my efforts to slow them down by giving them the rope to carry. Andy was literally running up the path to get ahead and take photos, and I wondered if I could stick the pace. It’s a stunning walk if you’re given chance to admire it, and the panorama from the Mountets hut is quite breathtaking.
The hut and the staff are fantastic, and it was very quiet too affording a good nights sleep.
We were up at 4.30am and off at ten past five for the climb itself: a moraine approach, glacier ascent, snow/ice crest, scrambly ridge and finally some harder climbing on the airy and exposed summit push. There was significant snow on this upper section of the route, making the ascent of La Bosse quite interesting! See the photo above.
We descended the way we had come, back to Zinal, largely for logistical reasons and time constraints. I had to return to my car, and we only had a 2 day time slot for the route. Eventually the terrain levelled the playing field and I could at least keep up with Andy and Dave. The comment from Dave was that I have only one speed and it doesn’t change, even when scrambling along 4000m ridges all day. We descended all the way down to Zinal in one go, and dare I say it, all three of us were quite tired!