Wasenhorn ⇑

Wasenhorn: Ideal for learning to summit scramble  

Quiet forest, big views, ridge running, and a 3200 meter summit on the Italian border

→ 17 km     

↑ 1400m

Δ 3246M 


⇑ Easy


“I’m not sure how many more runs I’ll find that are enough quality to be on the site.” Janine announced as we set off running alongside the road from the Simplon Pass.

Kim agreed, “Ya, we can’t dilute what we call a curated collection.”

I guess what was on all our minds as we did this odd start were the questions - When is enough, enough? And, are we starting to add runs just to add runs?

Then again, just days before we ran the Valsorey Vélan loop and felt it was one of the best runs we’d done in the Alps. We’re still finding nuggets, and these nuggets keep us motivated to see what we’ll find next.

We had no idea we were in store for a true find that day, even if it did start with a 3km approach, trampling a bit of overgrown trail along the highway.

The Wasenhorn, or Punta di Terrarossa, is a rocky peak perched above the Simplon Pass that really doesn’t catch anyone’s eye. Its neighbor, Monte Leone, is only slightly more interesting thanks to being both taller and home to a glacier.

But it’s the Wasenhorn that has what turns out to be a very good route, even runnable in many places, up and over its 3246-meter summit. To get there includes a singletrack variety pack: first through a larch forest, then grassy hillsides, and finally smooth curves through a barren, rocky landscape. The peak itself, while seemingly a pile of choss, turns out to have a very clean ridgeline that you can hop on and pretty much cruise to the top on solid rock. From the summit, a steep, crumbly trail plummets to the Monte Leone Hut for a refueling stop.

In descent from the hut, you’ll even run for a time on slickrock thanks to glaciers long gone. Then, after just one steep, technical rocky section, you’re back on fast flowing singletrack alongside the bisse and right back to the pass. 

I guess there’s a few more nuggets still to be found.

Learn more about the skills necessary to run Way Ups with ALPSinsight's Education pages for Mountain Running and Mountain Sport Fitness.

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GPX Track
Start:  46.249543, 8.031004
Town:  Simplon
Canton:  Valais
Country:  Switzerland

  • Stay on the ridge when there isn't obvious trail on the south side. (T5)

  • Be sure you can get down what you got up. Both routes are exposed and require careful movement.
  • Wear trail shoes you feel comfortable climbing in. Good grip is important for the scramble

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Larch forest and big views while on the approach to higher terrain


Grassy hillsides connect the forest trail with the rocky climb below the Wasenhorn


Zigging and zagging up through rocky terrain to the Wasenhorn's southwest ridge


Launching up the Wasenhorn


You did not run there. We ran there. And, so can you.


Small bits of scrambling on good rock that keep you on the ridge line


Dropping to the hut with Monte Leone's glacier to the left


Lots of fast running and distracting views on the way back to the Simplon Pass


Fun bisse trails lead back to the pass and a day well run

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