Skiing the Schwarztor

30 Apr 2005 - by Seth Henson

My wife and I skied the Schwarztor in Zermatt last weekend. The route was in great condition and the snow above 3000m was fantastic. The Schwarztor is a classic route that is comparable to the Valle Blanche in Chamonix. It is a must do for anyone who has the chance to ski in Zermatt.

The route starts at the top of the Klein Matterhorn cable car (30CHF each). A short skin of about 3 kilometers across the glacier brings you to the Schrawztor col which is perched between the Breithorn massif and the Pollux. The glacier was is good condition with no open crevasses on the skin track to the col. The snow below the col above 3000m was in great condition with small patches of powder still to be found. Lower on the descent the snow turned to spring corn, but was still quite enjoyable. The views of the Matterhorn are spectacular all the way down the glacier. Crossing the serac band is relatively straight forward and presented no difficulties. Due to the warm conditions in Zermatt this month, the snow ran out just below the gorge. The gorge is easily to negotiate but requires taking off the skis. With current snow conditions, the hike out to the Furi cable car station is about 2 or 3 kilometers down a easily marked road. A note to people unfamiliar with the cable cars in Zermatt, the last ride down from Furi is at 1750. So ensure that you leave time for the hike out at the end of the day.

Overall, conditions in Zermatt right now are great for all ski touring. Enjoy!!

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