Photo by Reiko Oda
|Difficulty:||Basic Snow/Ice Climb|
|Best months for climbing:||Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep|
|Year first climbed:||1857|
|First successful climber(s):||Siegismund Porges, Ulrich Almer, Christian Almer, Christian Kaufmann|
|Nearest major airport:||Bern or Zurich, Switzerland|
|Convenient Center:||Grindelwald or Interlaken, Switzerland|
Monch (Mönch), whose name means "monk", is a monumental mountain, part of the great north wall of the Bernese Oberland. It is the central summit of the three famous mountains on this crest, with Jungfrau to its west and Eiger to its east. Though Monch is a serious mountain of snow and ice, it offers a relatively straightforward ascent compared to its steep neighbors. Today railways take tourists near the summits of these mountains, and the Jungfraujoch Hotel has been built into the col that separates Jungfrau and Mönch.
The Mönch lies on the border between the cantons of Valais and Bern, and is located west of Mönchsjoch (a 3,650 m high pass) and Mönchsjoch Hut and north of the Jungfraufirn and Ewigschneefäld, two affluents of the Great Aletsch Glacier. The north side of the Mönch forms a step wall above the Lauterbrunnen valley.
The Jungfrau railway tunnel runs right under the summit at a height of approximately 3,300 metres. There are three routes to climb the mountain:
1. The normal route from the Jungfraujoch, via the south east ridge: not difficult and short if you reach the Jungfraujoch with the train. It does include some very exposed ridge climbing both on snow and on rock. The summit is reached via a long walk on a thin corniche, watch out for wind induced snow accumulation and keep clear of the lee side.
2. The northern or Nollen Route, which is a technical ice climb on a very long and exposed north face, with over 60 degree inclination on average and some vertical passages. It requires overnight bivouacking.
3. The southwest ridge from Jungfraujoch. More difficult than the normal route via the south east ridge, but definitely not as radical as the Nollen route.
Overall a very nice mountain to climb. The normal route can be accomplished in four hours if you are fast. The view is spectacular, especially on the south flowing Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps.