To climb the relatively easy 4000m peaks of the Alps you still need to be an accomplished mountaineer, or a good winter mountain walker climbing together with a mountain guide. However, some of these summits are accessible to mountaineers without much technical climbing skill via their normal routes. Once properly acclimatized several spectacular 4000m summits are achievable for most mountaineers with basic skills.
Going for your first 4000m peaks summertime, Chamonix is a great place to start to acclimatize by doing some lower and shorter classic climbs. It is just one hour from Geneva and also provides a good base from where you have easy access to the Mont Blanc, the Grand Paradiso and the Valais mountain ranges. From Chamonix you can continue to Zermatt and the Saas region. If you are flexible you can almost always find good weather somewhere in the Alps thanks to the different weather fronts affecting the different regions.
Going from Chamonix to the Aosta Valley you can climb Grand Paradiso (4061m) by staying one night in the Vittorio Emanuele or the Chabod refuge, both providing good Italian food and a friendly atmosphere. The terrain is varied with a long, dull approach, some steeper snowy sections and an aesthetic final rock scramble to the summit. This peak is commonly climbed and skied in the springtime.
From Zermatt you can make a two-day tour and climb the Breithorn (4159m) and the Pollux (4092m). Taking the lifts from Zermatt to Klein Matterhorn you can climb Breithorn on the way to the Ayas Hut (3394) and spend the night there. This mountain has a peak that is over 2 km broad, a south face of snowy slopes and a north face of vertical rock and ice. The west summit is reached easily after a short snow walk. Climbing the Pollux by the south-west ridge the next day, you get to climb some rock too. The rock scramble is facilitated by some fixed chains on the hardest section and finishes up a snow arete that brings you to the panoramic summit. These are two easy 4000m peaks in a beautiful area with great views onto the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa.
In the very eastern part of the 4000m range of the Valais Alps, the Weissmiess (4023m) is a popular peak for inexperienced mountaineers. Accessed either from the Almageller hut, by the rocky south-east ridge, or by taking the cable car from Saas Grund to Hohsaas, climbing the glaciated north-west face. Combining these two diagonal routes, traversing from the Almageller hut to the Weissmiess hut, makes a complete alpine adventure.
By spending a week in this alpine terrain, climbing some or all of these peaks, you can gain a lot of confidence as a mountaineer. These peaks are also often climbed during introduction to intermediate mountaineering courses by UIAGM certified mountain guides, aiming to teach you all the basic mountaineering skills needed to continue climbing on your own. A weeklong introduction course is a great way to become an accomplished mountaineer.
Eva Eskilsson is a skier and climber, writing for Mountain Spirit Guides, a small guiding company based in Chamonix. They offer guided mountaineering in the Alps and intro to advanced mountaineering courses.
Article Source: Easy 4000m Peaks in the Alps