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Dufourspitze 4634m summit 2024
Switzerland's highest peak | Tallest mountain in Monte Rosa massif
Course overview
Climb the highest summit of Monte Rosa; Dufourspitze 4634m. It's the highest mountain in Switzerland, and the second highest in all of the Alps after Mont Blanc. We offer a week long programme to attempt this peak, as your acclimatisation and flexibility for selecting a weather window are crucial.
To keep the itinerary flexibilty, the guiding ratio is 1:2 for four days, after the initial glacier training day, so you can take advantage of the best days for the summit weather window. The climb itself takes three days, so there are two spare days for training and acclimatisation routes before the ascent.
This week would appeal to those who have previously done Mont Blanc, or who seek a quieter alternative to it. Whilst the Swiss route is 'only' graded as a PD+ (Peu Difficile) on the Alpine grading system, it is a tough physical effort and the summit ridge is fairly exposed and more technical than the grade suggests. If approaching from the Italian side, the technical grade is AD (Assez Difficile).
Dufourspitze was named after Swiss army General Henri Dufour, who was the co-founder of the Red Cross, and it was first climbed by british climbers with their guides. The summit ridge is the most challenging part of the whole climb, and ropes are fixed in places during the summer months.
If you seek a course in this region, that focuses on climbing more summits, you should consider the trip in the south of the Monte Rosa massif, on the Swiss-Italian border. The itinerary is called the Spaghetti Tour, and you could climb up to six 4000m peaks. For this itinerary, click here.
Dates: these are listed in the column on the right, and they show the live availability from our secure online booking system. When you book online, you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine Information Booklet, course specific kit list and invoice.

Brief Course Itinerary
Sun Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00 check-in followed by and course safety and itinerary briefings. There is time for kit checks or rental of equipment. Briefings are over by 19:00 and the Chamonix hosts accompany the group to pre-dinner drinks to answer any queries. Night in Chamonix.
Mon Day to practice using crampons and ice axes on the Mer de Glace / Argentiere glacier. You also climb vertical ice, create anchors, and learn glacier travel skills. One of your most important days of the course in terms of skills development as it is essential to have good footwork on Dufourspitze. Guiding ratio 1:6 (max). Evening theory session / meeting with course hosts: click for info. Night in Chamonix.
Tue Your final training day before setting off for Dufourspitze. Set off for a training route, designed to help you acclimatise and develop technical skills. There are many options to choose from, depending on your previous climbing experience, but popular objectives include; Mont Blanc du Tacul, Aiguille du Toule, Cosmiques Arete, or Pointe Lachenal. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night in Chamonix.
  Dufourspitze - Swiss (normal) route
Dufourspitze - Italian route
Wed Drive over to the Zermatt region from Chamonix, and catch the Gornergrat train up to Riffelberg. Here you start the three hour ascent to the Monte Rosa hut, which is accessed via the Grenz glacier. This day is a bit of a rest day, as the main ascent the next day involves 1900m of climbing, so it's a good idea to rest the legs today! Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night spent in mountain hut. Drive through the Mont Blanc road tunnel to Italy, and to the Alagna or Gressoney region, where you catch the cable car to Indren, then walk the glacier trail for the short approach to the Gnifetti hut. Another option is to continue to the Margherita hut, which is the highest mountain hut in the Alps. Stay for the night in one of the huts. Guiding ratio 1:1 (max). Night spent in mountain hut.
Thu A very early Alpine start to head upwards towards Silbersattel. This lower section is non technical, but ascended at a steady pace, until you pass 4000m, where you veer right to reach the foot of the Dufourspitze summit ridge. The incline soon steepens over snow and ice slopes to 40 degrees, which terminates at a rock step which leads to the summit. The rock ridge is graded III, and after reaching the top, you return by the same route to the hut. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night spent in mountain hut. A very early Alpine start from Gnifetti to head upwards over Signalkuppe, on which the Margherita hut is situated, or start from this hut if you spent the previous night there. Descend to the exposed col below Dufourspitze, and ascend the mixed terrain upwards to the summit. This route is technically not too difficult, but is relenting and very exposed. Return from the summit via the same route, to normally stay the night in the Margherita (or Gnifetti) hut on the way down. Guiding ratio 1:1 (max). Night spent in mountain hut.
Fri The day is spent descending from the hut to Zermatt, and returning to Chamonix. For very fit groups, this day can allow another contingency weather window, for an ascent and complete descent of the mountain, if the summit was not possible on the previous day. In the evening there are optional drinks and a celebratory meal. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night in Chamonix. Day spent descending from the hut to Indren, and from either hut, there is the opportunity to take in some other 4000m peaks e.g. Pyramide Vincent on the descent, before returning to Chamonix. For fit groups, this day can allow another weather window, for an ascent and descent of the mountain. In the evening there are optional drinks and a meal. Guiding ratio 1:1 (max). Night in Chamonix.
Sat Breakfast then the accommodation check out is by 10:00. Most arrange their airport transfers to leave around this time, to catch a flight from Geneva about midday. Depart for home.
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionally we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt.
Summit celebrations
Course Prices
Standard course
5 days guiding, 7 days holiday in total £1899
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain Guide for five days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Self-catered accommodation in Chamonix (inc. beddings & towels), 4) Up to two nights half board in mountain hut (inc. costs for guides), 5) Pre course information booklet, 6) Equipment discount voucher for UK shop, 7) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet, 8) Road transport in Chamonix valley including road transport to / from the Monte Rosa region, 10) Evening technical instruction on nights in Chamonix.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Equipment hire, 3) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, evening meals in valley, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 4) Cable cars and uplift for you and your guide (approx £100), 5) Sunday pre-dinner drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 6) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Notes: This course assumes 1:2 guiding on Dufourspitze. If you wish to ascend the Italian Cresta Rey option, note that the guiding ratio is 1:1 for this route, so you must upgrade to a 1:1 week if you wish to ascend this route, rather than the normal route which is 1:2.
Course upgrade options
Many clients on this trip consider upgrading with one or more of the following course additions...
Big 5 Alpine
kit rental
  Upgrade to single from
£300-£500 in addition to
standard course price,
depending on week.
Extend by 2 days after
to ascend one of the
Big 5 Alpine peaks as
an extra summit.
Rent all technical kit
for a week. Full Alpine
Bundle costs you just
£100 for the week.
Saturday night spent in
Chamonix, with choice
of self-guided or guided
on Sunday. From £70.
  Click for details Click for details Click for details Click for details
Standard course accommodation - normally clients are based in self-catered flats (details), so take a look, and decide if it's for you. For more luxury, contact us for quotes in higher standard apartments, or hotels of any standard required. If you have / source your own course accommodation, or we cannot provide an upgrade, the standard course price has a £100pp reduction applied on your invoice.
Current course availability

Course Dates
  • [ 2 ] 23 - 29 Jun 2024
  • [ 0 ] 7 - 13 Jul 2024
  • [ 1 ] 14 - 20 Jul 2024
  • [ 1 ] 21 - 27 Jul 2024
  • [ 2 ] 4 - 10 Aug 2024
  • [ 2 ] 18 - 24 Aug 2024
  • [ 2 ] 1 - 7 Sep 2024
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are two who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish

Scheduled courses
£1899 Book online

Bespoke course? If your ideal date is showing as full on the list above, get in contact, as we also offer private 1:2 and 1:1 trips on any date during the season, subject to availability. The 1:1 week price is £3149 for the Normal Route, or £3549 for 1:1 via the Cresta Rey.

Alternative courses
Mont Blanc Summit
Mont Blanc Autonomy

Winter Mount Toubkal

Client feedback

A really fun week, and thanks for all your efforts in changing the hut bookings, so we could take the best days for the weather. The view from the summit was worth all the effort. Thanks

Anthony T , Dufourspitze

A big thanks from Will and I for another top week in the Alps. See you soon for more adventures next year

Michelle M , Dufourspitze

Harder than Mont Blanc, but more fun and a bigger challenge for me

Sophie P , Dufourspitze
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Location data for this trip
The trips meet in the Chamonix valley in the French Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed via a 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ & CHF
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Preparing for the course
If you are worried about acclimatisation, we recommend that you book on an Acclimatisation Weekend before your course. to help you get acclimatised earlier, leaving you with more summiting weather windows for the peaks.
Upgrade to 3 nights huts
Some people booking together may prefer to adapt this itinerary to set off from Chamonix on Tuesday with the guide, and spend the next 3 nights in huts, via the Swiss or Italian routes. This option is available if pre-booked, and the course price supplement is £200pp (based on 2 clients opting for this).
Lori and Rod
Pro top tips - geeks corner!
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Why choose our trips?
See our Alpine blog, by clicking on the Word-press logo to the right.
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather windows on any day, to maximise your summit chances.
Our prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget accurately.
There is a choice of routes to opt for, depending on the weather, conditions, and your experience.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.

Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.

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