Balmhorn Zackengrat

Published by outware , 22 September 2012, 21h51.

Region: World » Switzerland » Bern » Frutigland
Date of the hike:21 September 2012
Hiking grading: T3 - Difficult Mountain hike
Mountaineering grading: PD+
Geo-Tags: CH-VS   NL 
Time: 1 days 14:00
Height gain: 1300 m 4264 ft.
Height loss: 2200 m 7216 ft.
Access to start point:Kandersteg, Suenbuhlbahn
Accommodation:Hotel Schwarenbach

On Thursday 20-09-2012 6.00 AM my alarm woke me up..time to leave. I first calibrated my Suunto.. -5 meter.

At 7.00 AM my brother would pick me up in Rotterdam to leave to Kandersteg, to go to Schwarenbach, with the goal to reach the Balmhorn Summit 3699 Friday afternoon.


At 4 pm we reached Kandersteg, took the lift to Suenbuhl, the guy in the lift seemed to be happy he had some guests who wanted to go up at this time of the day.

In 1.15 we arrived at Schwarenbach where we got a complete lager for our own as were the only ones who wanted to get up early  the next morning.


After a good and complete breakfast we left Schwarenbach at 4.30. And with using our headlights we found the way up to Schwarzgletschjer pretty easy. The route was marked by stonestaples(Steinmmaenner) and even in the dark easy to find.


Under the steeper part to get up to the Zackenpass we faced blank ice covered with some fresh snow and needed to use our crampons.  It was getting lighter here and we could turn of our headlights.

We saw some crevasses but these were pretty easy to pass and we started up to clim the steep part (37 degrees) to the Zackenpass. Half way up the terrain became less easy, as there was a thin layer of fresh snow covering stones with a blank ice underground and climbing this with crampons wasn’t alway that easy to go. We were the first ones after the snowfall to come here , so we couldn’t follow any tracks.


When we arrived at the Zackenpass we sat down for a few minutes enjoying the sun and the beautiful view on the Walliser mountains.

Going over the Zackengrat the under ground was not so easy to go as there still was a layer of Ice covered by stones, covered by  a thin layer of snow.

It were the kind of conditions on the ridge where I would have prefered to use short rope. But as there were no zacken on the  Zackengrat it wouldn’t have made much sense to use a rope. A mistake or slip with a fall either on the left side would have resulted in a 100 meter fall on the Berner side, or either on the right side resulted in a 300 meter fall in the Walliser Dalatal. So enough reasons to keep concentrated and avoid any mistakes.


When we arrived at the end of the Zackengrat (3320 M) we noticed that we were at the end of our condition too. We had to pay the price for 3325 Meter altitude difference within 30 hours.

And as we had a long way to go down and didn’t want to make any mistakes we decided to return.

The way back went ok, and the descending from the Zackenpass was do-able because we saw from above where the original route was a were able tofollow this.

We arrived safe on the Schwarzgletcher again and walked this down again. The gletscher seemed to have grown a few hundred meters in half a day.. despite the climate? In the dark going up it went al pretty fast to our idea but in daylight it seemed to be a way longer.

Unfortunately we missed the last cablecar and we had to go down another 800 meters by foot to Kandersteg.

After a pizza and a  good sleep we traveled back to Rotterdam.


Despite we did not reach the summit we made a great tour within 55 hours with fantastic weather and one of the most beautiful views on the Walliser mountains and the Montblanc I have ever seen.

Hike partners: outware

Click to draw, click on the last point to end drawing


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