TURTMANN HUT TO RANDA
18km 1376m+ / 2453m-
Bonus Peak: Üssers Barrhorn (3610m) 3km, 311m+/-
The Queen Stage of the Via Valais! You'll want an early start from the Turtmann Hut, and you'll want some day food to carry. It's a long, difficult day that has you as high as 3610 meters and without food availability. From the hut, you'll quickly find yourself in a barren, alpine landscape. The detour to the Barrhorn is well worth the 90-ish minutes and you'll be happy to know it's the highest official trail in the Alps.
From the Barrhorn, you reverse the route you came up on until you reach the Schöllijoch, which is the crux of the entire Via Valais tour. The descent from the pass is exposed, using ropes, cables, and ladders to reach the the glacier below. As of 2018, the glacier is not a concern to cross, the remnant is old ice, small, and has no crevasses. Read more about the Schöllijoch and consider alternative options if you are uncomfortable with the movement, exposure, or in case of bad weather.
Once you're over the Schöllijoch, a 2000-meter drop separates you from Randa. This downhill, has a surprising amount of uphill too, hang in there. The trail is fantastic and has some of the best views of the entire tour.
*This is Stage 4 of the 6 Stage Option and follows the full Via Valais route.
- There is no place to stop along the stage, unless you make a short detour to Topali Hut. Ending in Randa, there are plenty of restaurants and markets.
- The huts provide dinner and breakfast. You can also purchase a sack lunch and snacks from the hut.
Üssers Barrhorn (3610m) 3km, 311m+/-
The trail leading to the summit of the Üssers Barrhorn is the highest official trail in Europe, reaching 3610m. From the peak, you have incredible views of many of Valais's 4000-meter peaks, and a close up of the dominating Weisshorn. The way is steep and often icy. At this altitude the weather can change quickly, and the temperature is often very cold, even in summer months. Grade: T4
An early start from the Turtmann Hut takes you up to the Schöllijoch, or better yet, the Barrhorn, for sunrise.
Descending the Schöllijoch with the help of ladders, cables, and ropes.
The remnant of the glacier is free of crevasses and can be crossed without special gear.
Over the Schöllijoch, the 2000-meter descent has a surprising amount of uphill.
The only trail traffic we saw.
There are plenty of moments on the long traverse above the Mattertal that stop you in your tracks.
Directly beneath the Weisshorn, it's time to drop steeply to Randa.