Riffelhorn – the climbers’ paradise at 2,928m above sea level
The 2,928m high Riffelhorn is a mountain in the Valaisian Alps, situated between Zermatt and the Gornergrat. The bare rocks on the Riffelhorn are popular with climbers – a climbing paradise with amazing views over many 4,000-metre peaks, the Riffelsee lake, the Gorner Glacier, the Monte-Rosa Massif and of course the Matterhorn.
Riffelhorn in the evening with the backdrop of the Matterhorn
The Riffelhorn fixed-rope route
Although the normal climb over the eastern edge is considered easy, it nevertheless demands a certain amount of skill and a good head for heights. Novice climbers should therefore not attempt it without a guide. The climb is about one hour with an incredible view throughout the climb. There are various climbing routes that are often used as preparation for a high-alpine tour. The Riffelhorn is Zermatt’s fixed-rope route and is valued as good preparation for climbing the Matterhorn itself.
Equipment: Rope (45m), wedges and friends
Further detailed information about the rope route and tour descriptions:
The best view of the Riffelhorn is undoubtedly when hiking between Gornergrat and Rotenboden. Even from Rotenboden station the Riffelhorn - including the Monte-Rosa mountains with the Matterhorn in the background - are clearly visible. The hike from Gornergrat or from Rotenboden station to Riffelberg takes walkers right past the Riffelhorn and you also get to see the Riffelsee lake. A hike with a superb view of the Matterhorn, the Gorner Glacier and the impressive mountain panorama
Hike from Rotenboden to Riffelberg, passing the Riffelsee lake and the Riffelhorn
Riffelhorn – home to the bearded vulture
The bearded vulture in Zermatt – a sensation? Bearded vultures are the Alps’ largest birds with a wingspan of 2.6 to 2.9 metres. Bearded vultures have been living in Zermatt since 2012 and have made their eyrie on the Riffelhorn. With a bit of luck you could watch this huge bird of prey perfecting its flight manoeuvres. In 2016 the pair of bearded vultures nurtured their first fledging
Bearded vultures and their unusual eating habits
Bearded vultures feed on the bones of dead animals; in doing so they remove decomposing matter and ensure that animal cadavers quickly disappear. Should the bones be too large, they drop them from a great height, smashing them into smaller, edible pieces.
Apart from the bearded vultures you can occasionally see the somewhat smaller golden eagle circuiting the Riffelhorn.