Breithorn (Zermatt), Westgipfel / Hauptgipfel 4164 m Alpinism
The the great bulk of the Zermatt Breithorn includes the following summits and points: Breithorn West (main summit, 4164 m), Breithorn Mittelgipfel (4156 m), Selle (a saddle) - the lowest point of the ridge: 4020 m), the Breithornzwillinge: Breithorn Ost (4138 m) and the Gendarm (4106 m); and Roccia Nera / Schwarzfluh (4073 m).
There are a lot of Breithorns in the Swiss Alps. It spans a full four kilometres between the Klein Matterhorngletscher and the Schwarztor. It presents itself as a huge glaciated wall with several peaks bearing individual names. Breithorn Ost and Gendarm are also known as "Breithornzwillinge" (twins). The Breithorn dominates the (optical) end of the Mattertal and forms the border between Switzerland and Italy; between Valais and the Aosta Valley. Several extraordinarily powerful glaciers flow down from the heights both south- and northwards. The south side of the Breithorn is still heavily glaciated (Breithorn Plateau, Grande Ghiacciaio di Verra).
Today, the glacier surfaces become exposed relatively early in the season, with numerous crevasses opening up, most, disturbingly in the direction of travel. Perfect roped guidance is required, as well as knowledge of crevasse rescue techiches. The Breithorn is considered the easiest four-thousander in the Alps and is therefore often climbed. However, this mountain is often the scene of serious accidents, which are usually caused by overconfidence. "Easy" means "easy for experienced alpinists". If the weather deteriorates on the Breithorn plateau, only alpinists with good orientation skill will find their way back. If the S-flank is icy of course crampons are required. In addition to ascents of the individual summits, the traverse of the long ridge offers a special and rare mountain challenge. For the expert, the Breithorn has more technical routes on the north side.