Zermatt's Riffelhorn

Where: Swiss Alps
When: July 2007
Partners: Solo

Paralleling a guided group on Riffelhorn

Located above Zermatt, Switzerland, Riffelhorn is a small, aesthetic rock climbing objective. Sitting above a lovely tarn and below the uber-impressive Breithorn, Pollux, Castor and Monte Rosa, one can only imagine the views that await those heading for the summit of this tiny vantage point.

The day after climbing Breithorn under bluebird skies, morning broke to thick clouds and a drizzle. I'll be damned if I was gonna sit in our little bed 'n breakfast another day.

Heading to the train station, I bought a ticket then hopped onboard to shave some time/effort approaching the mountain. The clouds didn't look promising. The ride up was beautiful, gradually climbing through the trees and past a couple of waterfalls to a point well above charming Zermatt.

I exited the train at a stop next to Riffelhorn. As I did, the rain started to fall. I bolted for the mountain. Gaining the east ridge and finding the route wonderful, I spotted a guided climbing team on a route in a stunning position, backdropped beautifully by Breithorn.

Selecting an easy 5th class variation to the right of the climbing party, I soloed up good, though slippery, rock, soon gaining the summit. As the rain began to fall harder, I enjoyed a few minutes alone on the top. The guided party soon topped out on their route and walked toward the highpoint; I decided it was time to descend.
Pollux, on my ascent of Riffelhorn

On my way down, I picked an easier line - mostly class 2-3, but with the occasional class 4 spot. Interestingly enough, as I scrambled down I passed a guided party pitching out my descent route.