Whilst, at 4017m the Weissmies only just makes it into the exclusive club of Alpine 4000m peaks, it has many more attributes to recommend an ascent than just its altitude…The ascent of the Weissmies is a classic high alpine route, with enjoyable scrambling among some of the Giants of the Swiss Alps. This 3 day course is suitable for climbers with good fitness and some basic mountaineering experience and is a great progression for higher or more technical alpine ascents like the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.
Climb the Weissmies, Featuring…
- Ascents of two fine Swiss alpine peaks including the 4017m Weissmeis & 3363m Mittelrück
- Rocky mountain scrambling in ascent & descent along with a very fine snowy & narrow summit ridge
- 2 nights spent in a lovely Swiss mountain hut. Superb location, hospitable staff, good Swiss mountain food
- Quality alpine mountaineering training
- Great progression (and acclimatisation) towards climbing other 4000m peaks including Mont Blanc & the Matterhorn
- Meet other like minded climbers for a sociable 3 day trip in the high mountains
- An action packed long alpine weekend easily done from Geneva Airport & transfer to Chamonix
- The option of returning to Chamonix at the end of the course or catching a train direct to Geneva from Martigny station
Day 1 – Journey Deep Into the Swiss Valais Alps
Our three day Weissmies course begins in Chamonix, easily reached from Geneva airport via a simple one hour transfer. Day 1 begins with introductions, a weather brief and equipment check. We can also hire out any alpine mountaineering equipment out at this stage. Please check our alpine mountaineering equipment list and mountaineering equipment hire pages in advance and let us know what items you will require.
Our onward car journey from Chamonix takes us east across the Swiss border and through the Vineyards of the Rhone Valley before we steadily ascend the classic Swiss alpine valley of the Saastal to Saas Grund. Here we leave the car, visit the cafe & climbing shop for any final items required and take the bus up to the village of Saas Almagell where the pleasant 7km, 4 hour hut walk begins.
The Almageller Hut is a classic Swiss Mountain Refuge. Attractive & hospitable, with good food, great views and the hut’s elevation of 2894m is a reasonable sleeping altitude for the first night spent up high. Dinner is served around 6.30pm and involves 4 courses including soup, salad, main course & dessert. Guten Appetit!
Day 2 – Ascent Of The Weissmies (4017m)
On summit day breakfast is served at around 4am and our intention will be to leave the hut 45 mins after that. A rough & rocky path leads up through stony meadows where the classic alpine sensation of being surrounded by the bobbling head lamps of other teams gives a great pre-dawn atmosphere.
The arrival of dawn coincides with reaching the Zwischbergenpass at 3268m. This is an inspiring place in the first rays of the sun from the east, with expansive views over the Italian plains and lake Maggiore, while the Swiss Alpine giants remain aloof in the shadows to the west. A magnificent spot for a brief pause before ascending the snow slopes leading to the rocky South Ridge.
Day 3 – Ascent Of The Mittelruck (3363m)
Another 0400 breakfast is taken to start the rocky traverse path beneath the famous Portjengrat and round to the Sonnigpass at 3147m. From here the ascent of the Mittelruck South Ridge is a relatively short scramble which, like the South Ridge of the Weissmeis can be completed in most snow conditions and thus offers more enjoyable scrambling and training for other alpine ascents as well as another good acclimatisation peak.
It’s still a good mountain day with plenty of rough walking and scrambling in ascent and descent and that’s why, for those going on to Climb Mont Blanc after this course, we factor in a rest day between the two 3 day programs.
The descent is made via the same route back to Sonnigpass from where a more direct descent to the lovely alpine meadow at Almagelleralp can be made for an early lunch before the final trek down to Saas Almagell. The return drive to Chamonix is made with the option of being dropped off at Martigny train station for the direct train to Geneva Airport. Details of this rail journey can be checked on the Swiss Railway timetable website. We aim to be back in Chamonix by mid-late afternoon on day 3.
Required Fitness and Experience Levels
Some previous mountaineering experience is required for the traverse of the Weissmies. Those who have never worn crampons before should investigate our Chamonix Alpine Intro and Climb the Gran Paradiso courses or arrange some private guiding & mountaineering training prior to the course.
Both ascents involve some rocky / mixed scrambling and somewhat narrow and exposed summit ridges so folk should have a head for heights, although the actual difficulty level is quite low. Steep snow must be negotiated efficiently in descent which is why some prior experience with crampons is necessary.
A very good level of fitness & stamina is also required for the long walk to the hut (4 hours) and 1100m climb to above 4000m on the summit days (c. 5-8 hours). Some mountain walking experience is also required in order to be able to deal effectively with the rough & rocky terrain encountered en route to the climbs.
Suggested Course Progression
A good build up to climbing the Weissmies would be completing our Intro Alpine Course and Climbing the Gran Paradiso. This would then set you up well for Climbing Mont Blanc. The South Ridge of the Weissmeis offers a good volume of moderately technically scrambling in ascent and descent and thus is good preparation for both the Gouter Ridge on Mont Blanc and as training for a future ascent of the Matterhorn.
After that our series of Chamonix mountaineering courses forms a logical progression in the following order; ‘Becoming an Alpinist’ followed by Chamonix Alpinist & then Chamonix private guiding for harder / longer routes & north faces as well as our Climb the Eiger & Matterhorn courses.
When To Climb the Weissmies
Whilst the main season for climbing the Weissmies is high summer (June to September) it is possible to climb the mountain all year round according to weather and conditions. With stable snow conditions In winter and spring, most will make the ascent on skis via the high Hohsaas lift. Those looking for a quieter and tougher climbing experience may choose to climb in the Autumn when the mountain lifts and huts are all closed. Depending on conditions an ascent at this time may still be possible, using the hut’s ‘winter room’ and indeed this can provide a remote feel & magical mountain journey.
Please note the Wiessmies or Climb the Gran Paradiso ascents can often be linked with each other and our Climb Mont Blanc / Climb the Matterhorn courses or would provide a useful springboard for more alpine climbing on a private guiding basis. Please get in touch with your own dates to arrange a private guide for the Wiessmies or an Autumn ascent. We run a range of 3 day courses throughout summer season. See our course dates below.
We can also arrange excellent private guiding itineraries where it is possible to climb some other very good routes from the Almageller Hut (Dry Hornli Ridge & Traverse of the Portjengrat) and the Wiessmies Hut (South Ridge Lagginhorn, North Ridge Weissmies, Fletschorn, Jeggihorn etc) thereby creating a magnificent 3-5 day mountaineering itinerary in the upper Saastaal.
Dave Lozman, Weissmies & Gran Paradiso Courses, Sept 2016
Just a quick one to say thanks for this last week. The climbing has been amazing, particularly the Weissmies. The company has also been good and the guides excellent. I’m already thinking of booking again for next year and I’d like to discuss some further objectives and my development as an alpine climber. Many thanks once again.
Please refer to our classic alpine mountaineering equipment list for a summer traverse of the Weissmies.
2020-21 Course Dates & Prices
Please check our individual course dates below and visit that page to reserve your place.
2020-21 Course Price £795.00
What’s included in the Price?
- 3 days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Transport during the course from Chamonix to the Swiss Alps & back
- Discounted equipment hire prices if required
- Trip management & booking of mountain huts
What’s not included?
- Dinner, bed and breakfast in the mountain huts, c. 80 CHF Swiss Francs per person per night. Discounted if you are a member of an alpine club.
- The guides dinner bed & breakfast at a discounted rate split between group members. E.g with 3 clients this would be c. 20 Swiss Francs each.
- Chamonix Valley accommodation – please see our Chamonix Accommodation notes. Prices start from camping at C.10 euros per night, Bunkhouse for C.20 euros per night and hotel accommodation from around 40-50 euros upwards.
- Lunches, drinks and snacks
- The high mountain lift pass to descend from Hohsaas (C.25 Swiss Francs)
- Flights and transfers to Chamonix
- Mountaineering equipment. Check the kit list above
- Insurance suitable for alpine mountaineering in Europe
Please visit the specific Weissmies course dates above to complete a booking form, make a payment and confirm your place.
Sari Long, Weissmeis Course, September 2015
Aaron and I had a fantastic climb up the Weismeiss. Thank you for the great conversation and absolute professionalism. Thanks also for the trotti bike recommendation for the descent – that was awesome! Looking forward to the chance to do more…
Latest Weissmeis Conditions & Reports
Please let us know if you have been on the mountain and have any conditions info we can add to this conditions feed…
10 September 2020, All 4 Main Ridges On The Weissmeis Being Climbed
Maddy, Geoff and Neil all summited via the South Ridge from Almageller Hut today as part of their Mont Blanc preparation for next week. There were also teams climbing the North Ridge, normal route from Hohsaas up the north flank and Rotgrat west ridge. Decent dry conditions on all routes and a summary and photo topo of the approach to the Lagginjoch for accessing the North Ridge in our latest news post here:
24 August 2020, Good Dry Conditions On All 4 Main Weissmeis Routes…
Enjoyable traverse of the mountain yesterday via an ascent of the Rotgrat West Ridge and descent via the classic South Ridge. Lots of teams descending the glacier north flank route down to Hohsaas. Enjoyable to climb a different route on the mountain and a slightly harder route up the West ridge than South ridge although nowhere near as hard as the north ridge! Also did some really excellent multi pitch high mountain rock on the Dri Hornli Ridge behind the Almageller Hut, full conditions and info here:
9th September 2019, Summer weather & conditions last week – autumnal this week!
We have made several ascents of the Weissmies South Ridge in the last week including in very much ‘late summer’ conditions last week with dry rock on the boulder field approach from Almageller and the South Ridge itself and only crampons on the final upper section of summit ridge. Then yesterday there was fresh snow to below hut level and plenty of trail breaking high on the mountain. Conditions update here:
29th June 2019, Good Conditions On Weissmeis South Ridge – Big Problems On North Side
We have just had 2 teams climb the mountain in good style via an ascent and descent of the South Ridge from Almageller Hut. There was some soft snow on the approach to the main pass above the hut but then good snow snow volume on the approach to the South Ridge and enjoyable scrambling up and down that, see photo below.
The team did not take the Mittelruck option on the last day as there was lots of soft snow on the approach to Sonnigpass with no track and no overnight freeze. In the past we have sometimes descended to the valley to take the lifts of Saas Fee to make an ascent of the Allalinhorn, but on this occasion the teams, some of whom were acclimatising for Mont Blanc, were happy to spend a 2nd night in the hut and do some rock climbing and training in Almagelleralp on the way down.
On the North side of the Weissmeis & glacier de Trift, there is a ban on climbing the normal route due to a detection of significant movement of the seracs under the north ridge. So this route plus any glacier walking below is banned by the commune de Saas Grund until further notice.
As part of both Matterhorn and Mont Blanc preparation programmes – and just for making this excellent ascents in it’s own right, we have had 4 teams up the mountain in the last 4 days, all with 100% success record on the summit climb via the “aller retour” on the South Ridge. Whilst teams were also ascending and descending the north side, this glacial flank has had more problems this season with steep & icy slopes exposed to serac collapse with around 70m of fixed ropes on the most delicate section. The Saas Guides bureau has shifted its ratio to 1:2 and our Weissmeis courses now do the return route via the South Ridge to spend another night at the lovely Almageller Hut and climb the fine Mittelruck on day 3 from the Sonniggpass. This gives a great experience with 3 days based in the upper Saastal and ascents of both fine peaks.
Full team to summit today with great weather and fine overnight freeze meaning the snow was not only extremely abundant but in great stiff condition for cramponing. The snow slopes to the climbers right of the South Ridge itself provided rapid and easy access to slightly higher up the ridge than where it is often gained and then the fine upper snow crest was a pleasure. We reversed the South Ridge and descend back to Saas Almagell.