Ibex Trail and ascent to the Mällig
Climb from the top of the Hannig gondola to the panoramic Mällig (2,700 m) and descent to Saas-Fee. Good chance of spotting the emblematic ibex wild goats with their magnificent curved horns.
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The ibex is the emblematic animal of the Alps: a wild goat famous for the magnificent long, curved horns carried by adult males. These superb climbers favour steep, rough terrain at high altitude. Hikers who keep their eyes open and tread carefully have good chances of spotting these animals along the first half of the hike, above the treeline – and even of taking photographs close up. Our hike begins with a ride by gondola from Saas-Fee to Hannig, followed by a steep, zig-zag climb up the slopes of the Mällig. This leads past old avalanche defences, an ancient glacier moraine and across rocky terrain to the mountain’s four mini-peaks. These reveal glorious views of the Saastal valley and the circus of 4,000-metre summits that frame Saas-Fee – including the glaciated Mischabel massif with the Dom (4,545 m), the highest peak located entirely within Switzerland. The trail continues climbing the ridge beyond to reach the highest point of the hike, just above 2,750 m. Here it turns north-east, initially following the high ridge of the Senggflüe before zig-zagging down through boulder-strewn slopes to the treeline and through the upper limits of the Alpine forest. Soon after, the path reaches a junction with the high trail along the western slopes of the Saastal valley from Grächen to Saas-Fee. Here, our route turns right, following the high trail southwards through pine forest. The contrast with the exposed, rocky slopes higher up is dramatic: now the trail leads through shady glades, where the pine-scented air is decorated with filigree threads of bird song. Eventually our path reaches the first chalets of Saas-Fee before leading into the resort’s historical heart. Highlights: Hike of two contrasting halves: stony, panoramic high-altitude terrain, then fragrant pine forest Scenic gondola ride to start of walk, panoramic restaurant Good wildlife-spotting opportunities: ibex and birds of prey higher up, forest life lower down