Weisshorn

Weisshorn
Alps.jpg
North-east view of the Weisshorn
Highest point
Elevation 4,506 m (14,783 ft)
Prominence 1235 m ↓ Furggjoch  [1]
Isolation 11.0 km →  Dom [2]
Parent peak Monte Rosa
Coordinates 46°06′06″N 7°42′58″E / 46°06′06″N 7°42′58″E / 46.10167; 7.71611
Naming
Translation white peak/mountain
Geography
Weisshorn is located in Switzerland
Weisshorn
Weisshorn
Location in Switzerland
Location Valais, Switzerland
Parent range Pennine Alps
Topo map Swisstopo 1328 Randa
Climbing
First ascent 19 August 1861 by John Tyndall with guides J.J. Bennen and Ulrich Wenger
Easiest route rock/snow/ice climb

The Weisshorn ( German, lit. white peak/mountain) is a major peak of the Swiss Alps, [3] culminating at 4,506 metres (14,783 feet) above sea level. It is part of the Pennine Alps and is located between the valleys of Anniviers and Zermatt in the canton of Valais. In the latter valley, the Weisshorn is one of the many 4000ers surrounding Zermatt, with Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn.

The Weisshorn was first climbed in 1861 from Randa by the Irish physicist John Tyndall, accompanied by the guides J.J. Bennen and Ulrich Wenger. Nowadays, the Weisshorn Hut is used on the normal route. The Weisshorn is considered by many mountaineers to be the most beautiful mountain in the Alps and Switzerland for its pyramidal shape and pure white slopes. [4] [5] [6] [7]

In April and May 1991, two consecutive rockslides took place from a cliff above the town of Randa on the east side of the massif, below the Bis Glacier.

Geography

The Weisshorn is situated in the southern canton of Valais, about 25 km southwards from the Rhone between Sierre and Visp. It is the culminating point on the north-south orientated chain separating the Val d'Anniviers to the west and the Mattertal to the east and enclosing the Turtmanntal to the north, the tripoint between these valleys being located just north of its main summit. The Weisshorn faces the slightly higher Dom across the Mattertal, with the village of Randa 3100 metres below these two summits. After the Dom, the Weisshorn is the second-highest Alpine summit situated completely out the main chain and fully within Switzerland. On both sides of the Weisshorn range, the water end up in the Rhone, through the Navissence (west) and the Vispa (east). The Weisshorn and the Dom are only two of the many 4000-metre peaks surrounding the region of Zermatt, along with the Zinalrothorn, the Dent Blanche, the Dent d'Hérens, the Matterhorn and, second highest in the Alps, Monte Rosa.

Close-up view from the Barrhorn with the north face of the Bishorn in foreground

The Weisshorn has a pyramidal shape and its faces are separated by three ridges descending steeply from the summit. Two of these are nearly in a straight line, one running approximately north and the other south. The third ridge is nearly at right angles to these two, running almost due east. In the compartment between the northern and eastern spurs lies the Bis Glacier (Bisgletscher). It is connected with the summit by long and extremely steep slopes of snow. In the compartment between the eastern and southern spurs lies the Schali Glacier (Schaligletscher). Ranges of steep rocks rise round the whole basin of this glacier, except in one or two places where they are interrupted by couloirs of snow. Finally, on the western side the mountain presents one gigantic face of rocky precipice. This face rises above the Weisshorn Glacier (Glacier du Weisshorn) and the Moming Glacier. The northern spur forks out at a considerable distance below the summit into two branches enclosing the Turtmann Glacier. The eastern branch connects the mountain with the Bishorn (4,153 m), across the Weisshornjoch. [8]

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