Wallis August 2000

Part 3: Dent d'Hérens

Dent d'Hérens from Rifugio Aosta (normal route)

Trip report
August 14-15, 2000

Monday, August 14, 2000: Ascent to Rifugio Aosta
We spent Sunday in the swimming-baths in Visp, and in the evening we crossed the Grand-St-Bernard to Valpelline. From Lac de Place Moulin we use the bicycles for the first 6 kilometers where hardly and height is gained. From the Alp of Prayarer the hut access to Rifugio Aosta takes another three hours.
Lac de Place Moulin
Lac de Place Moulin.
Impressive mountains along our way
Impressive mountains along our way.
The bicycle allows a good progress along the lake
The bicycle allows a good progress along the lake.
View upwards the valley from 2200 m
View upwards the valley from 2200 m, the hut is located approximately in the center of the image.
At Rifugio Aosta
At Rifugio Aosta, a small portion of Dent d'Hérens is visible..
A strange circular glacier depression
A strange circular glacier depression.
Tuesday, August 15, 2000: Dent d'Hèrens, and descent to the valley
The places under the roof where a little restricted in height, but the comfort to the side was not comparable to Mischabel or even Domhütte. Considering our wake-up time of 3 a.m., we could talk about having slept really reasonably.
Early morning at 3400 m.
Early morning at 3400 m.
At the ridge
At the ridge; the terrain is steeper than it seems at first glance.
The view is broadening
The view is broadening: Grand Combin, and behind it, Mont Blanc.
The last pitch
The last pitch is exposed but easy.
We leave at half past three, reach 3700 m in the snow flank around seven. Another hour later, we reach the border ridge, and after another hour we are standing on the top. A magnificient view to Matterhorn expects us, the view around is quite impressive. Especially impressive is the icy north wall (Welzenbach), which we had already followed during the ascent, and the bold east crest of Dent d'Hérens.
An unusual view of Matterhorn
An unusual view of Matterhorn.
The same again, this time with successful climber
The same again, this time with successful climber (unfortunately obscuring the beautiful crest ;-).
Dent Blanche
Dent Blanche, Weisshorn and many other old friends.
Far view to all directions
Far view to all directions: westward (Tête de Valpelline)
Deep below us
Deep below us: Lac de Place Moulin.
Astonishingly - and very unusual for us - today we are really the first people on the summit. This is a certain advantage for the descent, no stones are thrown onto us in the scree flank.
The cloud in the lee of the summit crest
The cloud in the lee of the summit crest creates a unique atmosphere.
The summit seen from 3300 m
The summit seen from 3300 m.
Back to reality: Climbing down the scree flank
Back to reality: Climbing down the scree flank.
Far away again
Far away again, our last view back.
Around noon we are back at the hut. The way to Prarayer takes 1 3/4 hours, and it's interesting to note that terrain of the uppermost part of the hut ascent would be more difficult than the summit ascent. Good that this part is well secured with fixed ropes and metal steps.
From Prarayer once again we profit from having taken our bikes with us, the 6 km are done within half an hour.

Practical hints

Rifugio Aosta CAI (2788 m)
Tel. +39-0165-730006 (Attention: the first "0" must now also be dialed)
From Prarayer about 3 hours. The uppermost part of the way is partly exposed acrobatics at chains.
Dent d'Hérens normal route (PD)
From Rif. Aosta one first descends a little, then follows an obvious path up the moraine to the glacier, about 3100 m. Keeping left, one ascends through easy terrain, further crossing the glacier step at 3300 m (several crevasses) and, passing underneath Tiefmattenjoch, through a wide basin, then over another steep step to the base of the ridge that stretched south from Dent d'Hérens (P.3772).
From here leftward, keeping under the bergschrund until it can be easily crossed. Straight up about 30 meters, then to the left into rather easy, but loose terrain. Now the acsent follows a more or less distinct trace (some small steps II) in order to reach the Swiss-Italian border ridge at about 3960 m.
Further a little on the Swiss side, first scree and snow, later more rock with some pitches II (slabs, here a chain is fixed for abseil, at the left side). Soon the main crest is reached, and on the crest one surprisingly easily (I) reaches the summit.
Our times
14.08. 08:35 Lac de Place Moulin 1968 km 0.00
09:15 Prayayer 2040 m km 6.00
09:20 Prarayer 2040 km 0.00
10:30 10:40 before the step to Tsa de Tsan 2300 m km 3.50
12:15 Rifugio Aosta CAI 2788 m km 6.00

15.08. 03:35 Rif. Aosta 2788 km 0.00
04:20 04:30 at the glacier 3100 m km 1.20
05:30 05:35 P.3337 3337 m km 2.20
06:55 07:05 below the steep face 3720 m km 3.80
08:05 at W ridge 3960 m km 4.20
09:10 09:15 Dent d'Hérens ^ 4171 m km 4.60
11:00 below the steep face 3720 m km 5.40
11:45 11:50 at the glacier 3100 m km 8.00
12:15 12:45 Rif. Aosta 2788 m km 9.20
14:30 Prarayer 2040 m km 15.20
14:35 Prarayer 2040 km 0.00
15:10 Lac de Place Moulin 1968 m km 6.00
Distances made by bicycle are indicated by dark green shading.
Maps and guides
Guidebooks (in German): Maps: (the relevant part of LKS 293 is also given in black and white on the back of 283S)
© 2000 Hartmut Bielefeldt

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Last updated August 09, 2002 by Hartmut Bielefeldt