1

I'm trying to find out which is the highest summit in Western Europe that can be reached by a fit hiker without the need for real climbing gear. (Crampons and/or a safety rope to cross ice/snow fields are ok, but not needing ice-axes, rock-anchors, etc.)

EDIT: Via Ferrata are also out of the question.
To further clarify: I have a medical condition affecting my hands that doesn't affect hiking at all, but prevents me from doing activities that are strenuous on the hands. Like actual climbing or serious rope-work.
end EDIT.

A multi-day hike to get from civilization to the summit is fine.

If there is an easier way to the top than hiking (e.g. a gondola-lift to close under the summit and just walk the last bit) that would be fine. (I'm not set on hiking. It's just that I don't want climbing.)
But I would like to exclude being dropped on the top by a helicopter. That feels too much like cheating.

I'm OK with summits that can only be visited with a guide or require permits for ascend.

I, for the purpose of this question, define Western Europe as Europe, but not including Turkey, Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine. Iceland and the Norwegian islands in the Arctic Sea can be considered as Europa too, but I'm NOT including the Spanish and Portuguese islands in the Atlantic (like the Canary Islands and the Azores). If I did, I'm fairly certain the Teide volcano on Tenerife (3718 meter) would be a prime contender.

So, how high can I get and were do I need to go for that?

11
  • I interpret right: you want a summit, also if an other "accessible" place would be higher? Feb 23, 2023 at 16:07
  • 1
    @TomasBy If you go to Jungfraujoch or the Sphinx Observatory by rail and elevator, there are other locations in that area at higher altitudes which can relatively easy be reached on foot from there. The walk to Mönchsjochhütte, about 4km from and at an elevation 100m higher than the Sphinx Observatory, should even be easy enough for untrained people. But even there, you are still a few hundred meters short of the gondola at Klein Matterhorn, which takes you up to an elevation of 3820m without hiking at all. Feb 23, 2023 at 16:32
  • 5
    Does this answer your question? Where should I travel in Europe if I want to climb a high mountain without equipment?
    – CMaster
    Feb 23, 2023 at 16:35
  • 1
    In German: alpen-guide.de/artikel/leichte-viertausender-berge-alpen They recommend Breithorn, Allalinhorn, Lagginhorn and Strahlhorn + a few others. All higher than 4000 meters.
    – 8192K
    Feb 23, 2023 at 16:42
  • 1
    @Relaxed I have not been there either, but you can hike (across a glacier, but without actually climbing) to the Breithorn summit at an elevation of 4164m. It is suggested that you join a guided tour, hiking on a glacier can be risky, but apart from that the 3.5 hour tour is categorized as "easy". It is considered one of the easiest 4000+ summits to ascend in Western Europe. Feb 23, 2023 at 17:37

2 Answers 2

4

At 3645 m, the (reportedly) highest European mountain accessible by regular hiking (no glacier gear) is Monte Vioz (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Vioz) in Trentino, Italy. The climbing season streches from June to September.

enter image description here

Another similar mountain, though not the highest one available, is Hochfeiler / Gran Pilastro, 3510 m, in South Tyrol, Italy, on the border with Austria, but accessible only from the Italian side. Unlike Monte Vioz, I've already climbed Hochfeiler and it was a spectacular adventure, highly recommended.

1
  • Ah, you win, and I have another hike on my to-do list! I even passed less than 20 km away in August 2022… FWIW, openstreetmap categorises (at least the last bit of) the trail as T4, so it might be a bit harder than Rocciamelone, although to be honest, the risks due to weather alone might warrant a T4-classification at such heights, even if the trail is easy.
    – gerrit
    Feb 24, 2023 at 10:19
4

If you consider regular hiking only (without glacier crossings), one contender would be Rocciamelone at 3,538 m.

Warning: although the hike itself is not particularly dangerous, weather can be deadly any time of year at this height, in particular if you do not bring proper clothing. Don't go here in poor weather and bring warm clothes no matter how nice the weather looks.

Unlike higher options, you do not need to cross any glaciers. It's a regular hike and it's not even particularly difficult, mostly T2 with at worst some sections of T3. It's just a long way up and you might notice the reduced oxygen levels up there, so take your time. There are cabins on the way up where you can sleep and there's a small primitive shelter at the summit as well, so you can be safe on the summit if the weather turns bad (or even sleep there if you bring some sleeping and cooking gear, but I'm not sure if it's normally allowed to plan to sleep there; it wasn't when I was there, but I don't know if that was regular or due to corona). You can also drive a bit of the way up, but it remains a long hike even from the highest point one can drive (and I think parking is limited). There are no cable-cars and there is no summit restaurant, so crowds remain reasonable.

I think highest including "easy mountaineering" is hard to define, because easy is subjective, but Rocciamelone might be one of the highest without any mountaineering.

It would be an understatement to say that the sunrise is most definitely worth it. Just can just-about-but-not-quite see the summit of the Mont Blanc:

Rocciamelone sunrise 1
Rocciamelone sunrise. With Les Bans, Mont Pelvoux, Pic Coolidge, Barre des Écrins, Grande Ruine, La Meije with Pic Gaspard and Doigt de Dieu, 2021-09-17.

Rocciamelone sunrise 2
Rocciamelone sunrise with frozen Maria, 2021-09-17.

Rocciamelone sunrise 3
Rocciamelone sunrise with Massif du Mont Blanc and Grandes Jorasses, Grand Combin, Gran Paradiso, Weisshorn, Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, 2021-09-17.

Rocciamelone sunrise 4
Rocciamelone view of Glacier de Rochemelon, with La Grande Casse, Grand Motte, Mont Pourri, Massif du Mont Blanc (behind Pointe de Charbonnel), Grande Jorasses, Mont Dolent, l'Albaron, 2021-09-17.

With some luck, you might see a Brocken Spectre and glories at night:

Brocken Spectre at Rocciamelone
Brocken Spectre at Rocciamelone, 2021-09-16.

2
  • Beautiful photo's.
    – Tonny
    Feb 23, 2023 at 22:53
  • My tip is even higher :-P Feb 24, 2023 at 9:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .