Riffelberg to Rottenboden (Gornergrat)


The walk from Riffelberg to Rottenboden has to be one of the most spectacular winter walks in Switzerland that can be undertaken by ordinary walkers. It's also one of the most expensive as you need to use the Gornergrat Railway from Zermatt to Riffelberg. In 2013 the return fare to Gornergrat summit was 74 Swiss francs (half price if you have a Swiss Pass). It's slightly cheaper to Rottenboden but teh extra is probably worth it to get to the summit. Trains run about every 20 minutes.

The walk from Riffelberg to Rottenboden took about and hour and a half. but this will depend on snow conditions and wind. The day we did the walk there was a lot of drifting snow which made the path quite difficult to walk on in many places.

What must be stressed is that this walk can be very exposed as far as weather is concerned and you are at over 9235 feet (2815m) at Rottenboden. This can be a dangerous walk in bad conditions. The path is groomed every day but windblown snow can  quickly obscure it.

Berg Restaurant Riffelberg with an injured skier on a stretcher...

The path isn't marked at the restaurant but if you head straight for the Matterhorn and the chapel in front of it the prepared path is obvious.

Near the chapel the path became obscured by snow drifts but we soon found it again.

The views were to start with superb - this is looking north along the Mattertal towards the Rhone valley. Zermatt is down to the bototm left.

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Click on the panorama to see a full sized image. The Matterhorn is on the left and Dent Blanche, Arbenhorn and the Gabelhorn in the centre.

Heading uphill the path was fairly clear but often covered with drifted snow. The pink poles every 50 metres or so act as a clear guide.

Ahead is the pointed summit of the Kleine Matterhorn - the ski lift and cable car were closed because of wind on this day.

Ahead is the Breithorn

The wind began to have a significant effect at this point with spindrift on the shoulder of the mountain.

Liskamm, Castor and Pollux

The summit of the Gornergrat

Ahead is Monte Rosa

The Gornergrat hotel is visible more clearly. Somewhere about here is the Riffelsee buried under the snow.

The railway at Rottenboden comes into view - the snow in this area was knee deep.

Looking back towards the Matterhorn.

Summer cross roads.

Walk's end -Rottenboden

Time to join the skiers' train to Gornergrat.

Gornergrat station

Out there in the frozen world is Monte Rosa and the Gornergletscher.