Breithorn is located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, in the Benning Alps, near the Matterhorn. At 4,164 meters above sea level, it is considered the easiest to climb among the 4,000-level peaks in the Alps. Climbers can take the ropeway to 3820 meters to start climbing.
Thanks to the cable car leading up to Klein Matterhorn (3883 m a.s.l.), the highest point of a cable car in Europe, the main summit of the Breithorn is not very technically demanding; many people often climb here at weekends and on holidays. The first ascent was made in 1813 by Henry Maynard, Joseph-Marie Coutts, Jean Gras, Jean-Baptiste Erin, and Jean-Jacques Erin.
Since the 1800s, Breithorn has attracted countless mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts to its slopes. This post will introduce the most important things you need to know before planning your expedition to the summit of Breithorn.
The Breithorn range stretches aligned West-East along the border ridge between Italy and Switzerland for about 2.5 kilometers. It is not a single peak, but it is made up of five peaks connected by a thin and long ridge that makes up the Western end of the more massive frontier crest stretching from Monte Rosa. The Breithorn (4164 m), with its many summits, is a strong, glaciered mountain crest. The Western Breithorn is the tallest of these summits and the one that is the one we refer to when people introduce the height of Breithorn.
This mountain is quite popular both as a training climb for the Matterhorn and an easy climb for beginners. One of the reasons for this popularity is the many gorgeous views. From the summit and the approach, there are spectacular views of the Matterhorn, Rhone Valley, and Monte Rosa massifs, among many others.
Elevation Of Breithorn
The Breithorn is a five-peak, mostly glaciated mountain ridge, with the ridge running from west to east. The highest and easiest peak is the west summit; it is also the main summit, Breithorn Occidentale (4164 m a.s.l.). Further to the east are the middle summit, Breithorn Centrale (4159 m a.s.l.), and the Breithorn twins. The Breithorn ridge ends in the east with the Schwarzfluh (4075 m a.s.l.). Between the Klein Matterhorn and the Breithorn is the Breithorn pass (3814 m a.s.l.) and the Breithorn plateau (3795 m a.s.l.), which run over the highest ski slope in Europe towards Gobba di Rollin (3899 m a.s.l.).
There are two sides from which to climb the Breithorn: the Italian side at Cervinia and the Swiss side at Zermatt. Both sides take you a fair way up the mountain and leave you with the option of climbing three different routes once you have left the lift. From Cervinia, you take a ski lift to the Plateau Rosa, located at 3.480 masl. From Zermatt, you generally meet your guide at the Matterhorn Express and take it until the Klein Matterhorn cable car delivers you to the Breithorn Plateau, located at 3.800 masl.
If it were not for the Klein Matterhorn cable car, which whisks climbers and skiers up to over 3800 meters, the Breithorn would be a long climb by any route. The Breithorn chain offers a complete range of all types of ascents and difficulties.
- The 'Normal Route' of the Breithorn (or south-south-west face) is considered one of the easiest routes for climbing a four-thousand-meter mountain that can be climbed in summer and winter. It is also combined with a ski run over the Schwarzer in winter.
- The Half Traverse is the other day-trip route. It is rated at AD- III and involves climbing over glaciers and steep mountain ridges. Generally, it is in condition from late June onwards.
- The Triftjigrat is the overnight route. It is the toughest of the three and should only be undertaken by advanced mountaineers. Rated at D-, you will need to camp on one of the plateaus and wake up at around 2 am to get up and back down in time. This route involves climbing steep, multi-pitch glacier faces; good snow conditions are essential here. It is recommended in mid to late June.
The Breithorn is not a very technically challenging climb. Each of the three climbing routes to the top requires a different level of technical skill. However, a high fitness level is required for the climb as you will be dealing with high altitude and a fairly steep but consistent ascent. The best time of year to climb Breithorn is from May to October, with the peak time being July and August. These are the warmest months.