Bishorn

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Bishorn

Photo of the Bishorn
Bishorn (left) and the Turtmann Glacier (right)

General
Elevation 4,153 m13,625.328 ft
2.581 miles
Prominence 120 m0.0746 miles
393.701 ft
Location Valais, Switzerland
Range Pennine Alps
Massif Weisshorn Group
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Coordinates
DMS Coor. 46°7´4"N, 7°42´53"E
Swiss Coor. 621359 / 107421
Links Topographic Detail

Coordinates Information

Nearby Features
Arpitettaz Hut, Brunegghorn, Bruneggjoch, Schalijoch Bivouac Hut, Schöllijoch, Tracuit Hut, Tête de Milon, Weisshorn, Weisshorn Group, Wisse Schijen
Alpinist's Info
Base(s) Anniviers, Gruben, Sankt Niklaus, Zinal
Hut(s) Topali Hut, Tracuit Hut, Turtmann Hut
Topo. Map SLK 1328: Randa
Easiest Route Rating F F
Map
Bishorn (Switzerland )
Bishorn
Bishorn
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Contents

[edit] General information

The Bishorn (4,153 m13,625.328 ft
2.581 miles
) is a mountain in the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais, Switzerland, just north of the Weisshorn.

There are several reasons for the popularity of this mountain:

  • The magical limit of 4000 m.
  • The short and unproblematic ascent on the glacier from the highly located Tracuit Hut.
  • The wonderful view, especially to the Weisshorn N-rigde.

The mountain has two distinct summits, separated by a 600-metre easy-angled snow ridge and further connected to the Weisshorn. From a long distanced viewed, the Bishorn seems to be more the end of this ridge than a summit on its own. The highest point is the W-summit with snow. The E-summit consists of rocks and is not very much lower. In spring, you can go with ski almost to the highest point. The Bishorn is mostly traversed by the mountaineers who climb the Weisshorn N-ridge. Not many people climb the Bishorn on other routes besides the NW-flank. Only a few people climb the NE-face or the E-ridge.

[edit] Climbing history

The first ascent, by the north-west flank, was on 18th of August 1884, done by G. S. Barnes, R. Chessyre-Walker, Joseph Imboden and J. M. Chanton.

On the 6th August of 1884, the female English mountaineer Elizabeth Fred Burnaby (later Mrs Le Blond) with the guides Joseph Imboden and Peter Sarbach climbed via the E-ridge for the first time the 4,135 m high secondary summit (now known as Pt. Burnaby) which lies 600 m northeastern of the main summit. It is not clear, whether they reached the main summit or not although Joseph Imboden was also member of the official first ascent group of the main summit. But anyway, this first ascent of a 4000m summit by a woman is one of the very first ascents of 4000m peaks, made by a women. Other examples are: Pointe Eveline (Aiguille du Jardin) and Pointe Croz (Grandes Jorasses). As very convinced advocate of women-alpinism, she founded the "Ladies Alpine Club" in London in 1907 and was president of this club. She wrote the first book about winter tourism: "The High Alps in Winter". Between 1882 and 1896, she climbed successfully 113 high alpine tours.

The north-east face was first climbed by E.-R. Blanchet with K. Mooser and R. Lochmatter on 21 Sept. 1924; the first winter ascent on this route was by M. Gamma, J. Henkel and G. Leutenegger on 23 Jan. 1969.

[edit] Routes

green: NW Flank from Tracuit Hut; red: E ridge; blue: NE face
red: E ridge; blue: NE face

[edit] North-West Flank (F)

NW flank (normal route) on the left, trail visible

One of the easiest routes to the summit of a 4,000 m peak and climbed by all and sundry.

[edit] From Tracuit Hut

Bishorn: North-West Flank from Tracuit Hut (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Bishorn (4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
)
Valley base(s) Anniviers, Zinal
Route Type Snow (2.5 - 3 h) Hut Tracuit Hut (3,256 m2.023 miles
10,682.415 ft
)
Difficulty Rating F F Difficulty W2
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 897 m0.557 miles
2,942.913 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1328: Randa, SLK 1327: Evolène (Maps)

From the Tracuit Hut walk 500m SE on to the Turtmann Glacier and cross this heading E to reach the snowy saddle WNW of Pt. 3,591 m. Take care to avoid crevasses which lie in the direction of travel. From the saddle climb straight up the glacier SE to the saddle between the two summits. Now follow the crest steeply to the summit (possible cornice). Climbing time is 2.5-3h. Descent time is 1.5h.

[edit] From Turtmann Hut

It is possible to climb this route from the Turtmann Hut by the route to the Bruneggjoch: follow a path SE to a rock barrier split by a narrow couloir (Gassi). Climb the couloir then continue on the path along the moraine on the R bank of the Brunegg Glacier. Leave the moraine and move R to pass below Pt. 3,071.9 m and follow the E side of the glacier to reach the col.


Bishorn: North-West Flank from Turtmann Hut (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Bishorn (4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
)
Valley base(s) Gruben (1,810 m1.125 miles
5,938.32 ft
)
Route Type Snow (5 - 6 h) Hut Turtmann Hut (2,519 m1.565 miles
8,264.436 ft
)
Difficulty Rating F F Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1634 m1.015 miles
5,360.892 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 709 m0.441 miles
2,326.115 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 2343 m1.456 miles
7,687.008 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1328: Randa, SLK 1308: St. Niklaus (Maps)


Shortly before reaching the Bruneggjoch cross the Brunegg Glacier to the foot of the rock rib E of Pt. 3,591 m. Climb this rib (marked at half-height by a vein of light coloured rock) to reach the Turtmann Glacier and join the route from the Tracuit Hut leading to the summit. The rib is quite unpleasant in descent (5-6h).

[edit] North-East Face (D)

Bishorn NE face in the morning

This is an attractive yet complex snow/ice face 700m high. Its detail has changed quite markedly over the years with the relative lack of winter snow. It is basically a fairly even angled face, steepening towards the top (50-55°) but distorted by a profusion of seracs, the principal band of which form a protective barrier across the foot of the face. The key to the route is in overcoming this serac band which can require the climbing of vertical ice. Parties wishing to climb the face must make their own judgement as to the best line.


Bishorn: North-East Face (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Bishorn (4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
)
Valley base(s) Gruben (1,810 m1.125 miles
5,938.32 ft
)
Route Type Mostly Snow, 90° (7 - 9 h) Hut Turtmann Hut (2,519 m1.565 miles
8,264.436 ft
)
Difficulty Rating D D Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1634 m1.015 miles
5,360.892 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 709 m0.441 miles
2,326.115 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 2343 m1.456 miles
7,687.008 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1328: Randa, SLK 1308: St. Niklaus (Maps)


From the Turtmann Hut follow a path SE to a rock barrier split by a narrow couloir (Gassi). Climb the couloir then continue on the path along the moraine on the R bank of the Brunegg Glacier. Leave the moraine and move R to pass below Pt. 3,071.9 m and follow the E side of the glacier to reach the col. Just before reaching this col slant across the Brunegg Glacier to the foot of the face (3h). Cross the serac band at the most convenient point and then climb the face above as direct as possible to the rocky E summit. (7-9h from the hut)

Two routes have been climbed, solo, on the rocky R side of the face and avoiding the seracs, in both cases when the rocks were quite snowy. C. Lukes, 4 June 1983, made an ascending traverse R on to the second rib R of the edge of the serac band. He climbed this until about level with the serac band and then made an ascending traverse back L to reach the NW ridge at 4,000 m. L. Pigeau, 14 Aug. 1987, took a more direct but exposed line following a couloir leading up towards the serac band which he turned by a straightforward snow slope.

[edit] East Ridge (AD)

View on Bisjoch (left) and E ridge to the Bishorn from the Brunegg Glacier; also visible are the NE face (front) and the NW flank (top) of the Bishorn

This fine ridge descends E from the rocky E summit as far as Pt. 3,939 m where it splits. The major branch from the split leads ENE to the Bisjoch. An ascent of the ridge is a very worthwhile objective although it receives relatively little traffic on account of its remoteness.

[edit] From Turtmann Hut

Bishorn: East Ridge from Turtmann Hut (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Bishorn (4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
)
Valley base(s) Gruben (1,810 m1.125 miles
5,938.32 ft
)
Route Type Mostly Snow (6.5 - 7.5 h) Hut Turtmann Hut (2,519 m1.565 miles
8,264.436 ft
)
Difficulty Rating AD AD Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1634 m1.015 miles
5,360.892 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 709 m0.441 miles
2,326.115 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 2343 m1.456 miles
7,687.008 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1328: Randa, SLK 1308: St. Niklaus (Maps)

From the Turtmann Hut follow a path SE to a rock barrier split by a narrow couloir (Gassi). Climb the couloir then continue on the path along the moraine on the R bank of the Brunegg Glacier. Leave the moraine and move R to pass below Pt. 3,071.9 m and follow the E side of the glacier to reach the col. From the col follow the snow slope between the NW ridge of the Brunegghorn and some rocks parallel to it just to the W then descend SW into the glacier bowl below the Bisjoch. Contour across the bowl and climb up a little glacier valley to the Bisjoch. (4h)

From this col, climb the ridge, which is part rock and part snow to Pt. 3,939 m. Above this point a fine snow crest leads to the foresummit at Pt. 4,135 m. Descend the crest on the other side to a snow saddle and continue on the steepening crest to the summit.

Total climbing time is 6.5-7.5h.

[edit] From Topali Hut

Bishorn: East Ridge from Topali Hut (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Bishorn (4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
)
Valley base(s) Sankt Niklaus (1,120 m0.696 miles
3,674.541 ft
)
Route Type Snow and Rock (6 - 7 h) Hut Topali Hut (2,674 m1.662 miles
8,772.966 ft
)
Difficulty Rating AD AD Difficulty W2
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1479 m0.919 miles
4,852.362 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 1554 m0.966 miles
5,098.425 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 3033 m1.885 miles
9,950.787 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1328: Randa, SLK 1308: St. Niklaus (Maps)


From the Topali Hut follow a path S then turn up the Chella combe (small cairns and snow patches) aiming for the saddle at Pt. 3,020 m which is marked by a large block straddling the ridge. Descend a little on to the névé of the lower part of the Schölli Glacier and contour round to the moraine E of Pt. 3,182 m. Now, keeping as high as possible, descend on to the edge of the Abberg Glacier. Follow the L bank to the foot of the ice-fall and then climb this, usually without difficulty on to the upper plateau of the glacier. Easy slopes lead to the Bruneggjoch. If the ice-fall is difficult (maybe late in the season), pass it via the broken rocks on the R side (there is a marked route). (2.5h)

An alternative route is to reach the Schölli Glacier and climb a steep snow slope to the Schöllijoch. Then contour the W side of the Schöllihorn to the Bruneggjoch. (2.5h)

From the Bruneggjoch follow the snow slope between the NW ridge of the Brunegghorn and some rocks parallel to it just to the W then descend SW into the glacier bowl below the Bisjoch. Contour across the bowl and climb up a little glacier valley to the Bisjoch. From this col, climb the ridge, which is part rock and part snow to Pt. 3,939 m. Above this point a fine snow crest leads to the foresummit at Pt. 4,135 m. Descend the crest on the other side to a snow saddle and continue on the steepening crest to the summit.

Total climbing time is 6-7h.

[edit] Overview

Route Name Hei. Dif. Dur. (h) Type Rock ° Valley Hut S. Gain Maps
Bishorn: North-West Flank from Tracuit Hut 4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
BF 2.5-3 Snow Anniviers, Zinal Tracuit Hut 897 m0.557 miles
2,942.913 ft
1328, 1327
Bishorn: North-West Flank from Turtmann Hut 4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
BF 5-6 Snow Gruben Turtmann Hut 1,634 m1.015 miles
5,360.892 ft
1328, 1308
Bishorn: North-East Face 4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
JD 7-9 Mostly Snow 90 Gruben Turtmann Hut 1,634 m1.015 miles
5,360.892 ft
1328, 1308
Bishorn: East Ridge from Turtmann Hut 4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
GAD 6.5-7.5 Mostly Snow Gruben Turtmann Hut 1,634 m1.015 miles
5,360.892 ft
1328, 1308
Bishorn: East Ridge from Topali Hut 4,153 m2.581 miles
13,625.328 ft
GAD 6-7 Snow and Rock Sankt Niklaus Topali Hut 1,479 m0.919 miles
4,852.362 ft
1328, 1308

Hei.:Height, Dif.: Difficulty, Dur.: Duration, S. Gain: Meters from hut to summit
Summit map is always listed first. If a map is used for 2 km and another map for 1 km, the 2 km map will be listed before the 1 km map. Overview of the Swiss maps & Italian maps.

[edit] Additional photos

[edit] Recommended books

      The Alpine 4000m Peaks by the Classic Routes by Richard Goedeke

      Valais Alps East: Selected Climbs (Alpine Club Guides) by Les Swindin

      Valais Alps West: Selected Climbs (Alpine Club Guides) by Lindsay Griffin

      Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert) by Cathy Cosley

      Valais West: Zinal - Arolla - Verbier - Rhone Valley (Rother Walking Guide) by Michael Waeber & Hans Steinbichler

  • You can click the images to get a bigger image of the front cover!
  • We offer you a direct deeplink to Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de to buy the book. Amazon is the biggest online store in the world and offers a safe environment to buy anything you want.


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