Switzerland is home to the most 4000ers in the Alps. Saas is a great venue for interesting and spectacular, yet not too technical, 4000m peaks. It’s a great introduction to Alpinism or follow up for those just wanting to enjoy climbing in the high mountains. We will be in alpine glaciated terrain for most of the week, spending 4 nights in mountain huts – with a welcome night in a valley hotel in the middle. Expect fabulous summits, new skills and a real mountain experience.
This week is a great opportunity to climb three or four or even five 4000m peaks and learn or refresh your essential mountaineering skills.
The mountains around Saas Grund are a great challenge and yet not quite as crowded as the more famous peaks such as the Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. It is well worth visiting the area.
Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. here you check the dates and availability.
- Mountain huts at half board
- Hotels in Saas Grund bed and breakfast
- Guides expenses
- Guiding fees
What's not included
- Transport to/from Saas
- Equipment rental
- Travel insurance
- Evening meals when in Saas Grund
- Snacks, Bottled water, beers, drinks in huts
- Uplifts according to itinerary
Who is this for?
There is a good variety of climbing with glaciers, snow slopes, easy rocky scrambling and ridges…and stunning views.
There will be predawn starts on the climbing days, but this is balanced with relaxing in the sunny afternoons after the climb…
Accommodation and huts
We stay in the hotel Roby 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 in the mountain huts.
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 courses in the evening, hot drink and bread/jam/cereal for breakfast). Often there is no running water and 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 or duvets. No sleeping bags are needed, rather a ‘sheet sleeping bag’ should be brought. The huts provide slippers for wearing around the hut. On this course we ask the hut guardians to provide a packed lunch for the team each day.
You can expect a good atmosphere and a stunning view!
Arrival day: We meet in the hotel in the evening to go through the weather/conditions and plan for the week.
Day 1: Final kit check/hire and any shopping. Walk up to the Brittania hut (3hrs) and crampon/ice axe training on the glacier below.
Day 2: Climb the Allalinhorn (4027m) and return to the Brittania hut (6-7hrs). A predominantly snow/easy ice climb – a great start to the week.
Day 3: 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!
Day 4: Walk up to the Almagella hut (4hrs). A very pleasant walk through alpine meadows and up steep mountain trails. Not too strenuous today.
Day 5: 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.
Day 6: Today we climb the Jagihorn by its Via Ferrata – a stunning scramble up rock and exposed ladders and rope-bridges, 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.
Day 7: Depart
To maximise your chance of success during this course it is important to get as fit as you possibly can. So we have partnered with Uphill Athlete, specialists in strength and conditioning for peak mountain performance.
Mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Balance is important too as you will spend many hours walking in crampons. For this a good chore strength is important.
Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.
We highly recommend this 8 Week Basic Mountaineering Plan to get you in shape for the trip.
The Effects of Altitude
As one climbs higher the air gets thinner and so there is less oxygen in each breath we take. The higher we go the less oxygen there is. This makes exercising much harder work than at sea level and so we have to slow down to help compensate. Because we have slowed down, we may feel colder.
Because there is less oxygen in the air as we get higher, this can lead to ‘altitude sickness’ or Acute Mountain Sickness which is like the worst hangover you have ever had (headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness) and can develop into a very serious and even fatal (in extreme cases) problem.
To avoid these problems, enjoy the climbing and increase our chances of summiting we need to acclimatise by spending several days and nights at progressively higher altitudes, so our bodies can adapt. This is a very important part of our preparation.
Pre-Book with Adventure Base:
Black Diamond Saber-tooth crampon rental 6 days €45.00
Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe rental 6 days €35.00
Black Diamond climbing harness rental 6 days €30.00
Black Diamond Half Dome helmet rental 6 days €25.00
Select which extras you would like to pre-book at check-out. Please note we have limited stock so pre-booking is advised.
1. Ice axe – for general mountaineering (between 50 and 70cm depending on your height)
2. Standard steel mountaineering Crampons
3. Helmet – standard hard plastic climbing helmet.
4. Trekking Poles – Foldable
5. Mountaineering B2 or B3 Boots and Gaiters
6. Rucksack – Mountaineering specific 30-40L
7. Water bottles up to 2L
8. Harness (adjustable so that it is comfortable over all your layers), with 2 screw gate carabiners.
9. Sun protection including: sunglasses (category 4), goggles, sun hat, Factor 30-50 High Mountain sunscreen, lip salve/block.
10. 3 sets of socks and thermal tops.
11. Lightweight (GORE-TEX® or similar) hardshell hooded top and bottoms
12. Warm hat and 2 pairs of gloves. One pair should be warm, thick mountaineering gloves. The second pair should be a thinner pair suitable for mid mountain conditions.
13. Insulating layers. We suggest a thin lightweight fleece and a synthetic or down jacket.
14. Mountaineering trousers
15. Personal first aid – blister kit, aspirin, or Paracetamol.
16. Head torch and spare batteries.
18. Sleeping bag silk liner (you don’t need a sleeping bag itself as blankets/duvets are provided in the huts)
19. Cash for extra drinks / snacks in huts as well as any costs not included in the course price
21. Shorts, hiking shoes or trainers Nice to have to wear around town and on approaches to climbing days.
Please note this is a guide and you may be required to rent or purchase last minute equipment on arrival dependent on the weather and changes in itinerary.
To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +44 (0)845 527 58 12.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
A 30% deposit is required to secure your place on one this course, with the remaining balance to be paid latest 10 weeks before your course start date.
Getting to Saas Grund
The best airports for Saas Grund are Zurich or Geneva. British Airways, Swiss Air and EasyJet have regular flights from many UK airports. Getting to Saas Grund is easy by rail and bus as well as by car. There is a direct rail service from Geneva airport to Visp (the nearest mainline railway station), and buses from Visp to Saas Grun run every 50 minutes. From Zurich, you can take the train to Brig, then a connecting bus to Saas Grund. See www.sbb.ch for train and bus timetables and booking.