Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

Nordwand Trail

This trail leads practically under the north face of the Matterhorn. The rock wall, dark and mighty, dominates the landscape. The feeling of wading over the snow under the iconic peak is unlike any other.

The trail leads from Schwarzsee, at the foot of the north face of the Matterhorn, through the gorgeous landscape around Stafelalp. It’s hard to believe that mountaineers have scaled the north face of the Matterhorn in winter: such as Walter Bonatti in 1965, climbing alone. The cold at the north face is almost tangible. Choose time of day carefully, because the sun disappears very early here in winter Palpable cold descends after sunset Pink markers approx. every 100 m along the route Caution: check details of current avalanche risk at lift station Guided tours bookable through Alpin Center

Turn-by-turn directions

Schwarzsee - Stafelalp

The last part of the walk follows the winter hiking trail back to Furi - snowshoes no longer required.

 (Hiking time in reverse direction: approx. 1h 30 - 2h)

Start: Schwarzsee (2,583 m) (2575 m)
Destination: Stafelalp (2,199 m) (2184 m)

Author's recommendation

Do not forget your camera, because getting a picture of the steep north wall of the Matterhorn is worth it in any case.

Additional information and recommendations are available from the guest information centre on Bahnhofplatz (by the railway station).

Technical information

  • Altitude

    2579 m 2184 m

  • Ascent

    3 m

  • Descent

    395 m

  • Technique

    Bewertung: 3.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Stamina

    Bewertung: 3.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Experience

    Bewertung: 4 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Landscape

    Bewertung: 6.0 von 5.0 Punkten

Public transport

By train to the Matterhorn village: 3½ hours from Zürich airport or 4 hours from Geneva airport. Change at Visp onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (Matterhorn Gotthard Railway). From Visp, the railway leads through the Mattertal valley past idyllic small villages to Zermatt.

Zermatt is also the start and finish point for the world-famous Glacier Express panoramic train journey (Zermatt to St. Moritz or Davos).

Approach

Zermatt is car-free. Private vehicles are permitted only as far as Täsch (5 km before Zermatt). The Täsch–Zermatt road is closed to the public.

Onward travel to Zermatt is either by private taxi or shuttle train. Trains depart every 20 minutes; the journey takes about 12 minutes, and ends at the Bahnhofplatz in Zermatt.

Parking

Täsch has car parks with both covered and open-air parking – e.g. at the Matterhorn Terminal or privately operated facilities.

Onward travel: see “Getting there”.

Equipment

We recommend:

  • Good, waterproof footwear
  • Snowshoes
  • Hiking poles
  • Warm winter clothing appropriate for the weather

Safety information

  • Plan every mountain tour carefully and adapt to participants’ fitness level as well as the weather and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.
  • Inform others of planned route, and whenever possible avoid going alone.
  • Do not leave the marked routes.
  • It is forbidden to walk on the ski pistes.
  • Please be considerate to other walkers and to plants and animals.

The snowshoe trails can be tackled without a mountain guide. Beware: they are not prepared in any way and are not controlled daily; nor are they secured from natural hazards such as avalanches or rockfalls. For safety, check the weather forecast and current avalanche bulletin.

All snowshoeing is at one’s own risk.