Saas is a great venue for interesting and spectacular, yet not too technical 4000m peaks. We will be in high alpine glaciated terrain for much of the week, spending 4 nights in mountain huts - with a welcome night in a valley hotel in the middle!
This week is a great opportunity to climb 3 or 4 4000m peaks and learn/refresh your essential mountaineering skills.
Who is it for?
This week will appeal to alpine first timers with good hill walking experience and fitness, as well as those who already have the alpine bug from previous trips. All required skills are taught at the start of the week.
There is a good variety of climbing with glaciers, snow slopes, easy rocky scrambling and ridges...and stunning views.
There will predawn starts on the climbing days, but this is balanced with relaxing in the sunny afternoons after the climb...
Saturday: We meet in the hotel in the evening to go through the weather/conditions and plan for the week.
Sunday: Final kit check/hire and any shopping. Walk up to the Brittania hut (3hrs) and crampon/ice axe training on the glacier below.
Monday: Climb the Allalinhorn (4027m) and return to the Brittania hut (6-7hrs). A predominantly snow/easy ice climb - a great start to the week.
Tuesday: Climb the Strahlhorn (4190m) and descend to Saas Grund (10hrs), overnight in hotel. Another snowy/easy ice climb with spectacular views and a great summit!
Wednesday: Walk up to the Almagella hut (4hrs). A very pleasant walk through alpine meadows and up steep mountain trails. Not too strenuous today.
Thursday: Traverse the Weissmiess (4023m). Overnight in the Weissmiess hut (8-9hrs). This is one of our favourite climbs in the Alps - a must for everyone! It has a bit of everything - rocky scrambling, glacier, snow ridges - but none of it too hard.
Friday: Today we climb the Jagihorn by its Via Ferrata - a stunning scramble up rock and exposed ladders and ropebridges, it's great fun and something different for our tired bodies. If for example we have missed out a previous 4000er (due to weather), we can climb the Lagginhorn (4010m)- another big hill in these parts. Descend to Saas Grund (8-9hrs) overnight in hotel.
What to expect from mountain huts
They are basic but comfortable. They can cater for vegetarians. Food is usually on a set menu basis (3 course in the evening, hot drink and bread/jam/cereal for breakfast). Often there is no running water and so you have to buy water to drink and wash with (no showers). You can usually buy tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks, chocolate bars and snacks. Sleeping arrangements are normally dormitory style bunkbeds (eg 6 people on the bottom, 6 on the top) with blankets and/or duvets. Huts provide slippers for wearing inside. You can expect a good atmosphere and a stunning view!
We stay in the hotel Bergheimat on the main street in Saas Grund. It has a bus stop just outside and an ATM next door. Local shops include supermarkets and climbing shops (for purchasing or hiring equipment).
The hotel is comfortable (2 star) with a good bar and restaurant. You can leave items here during the week while we are staying mountain huts.
We book the hotel for the group, but the cost is not included in our Course Price (they accept credit cards or cash).