If you’re looking to climb and ski the Breithorn in winter, there aren’t many better people to show you the way than freeride legend Sam Anthamatten. Being born and raised in the Zermatt valley, it’s fair to say that Sam has skied, climbed and explored pretty much every aspect of the mountain. So, when The North Face offered up Sam’s services to join us while testing their new Summit Series snow outerwear setup, we bit their hand off.
When talking about 4,000 metre peaks, the Breithorn is up there as one of the easiest to have a crack at, certainly if you’re looking to get yourself up (and back down) your first 4,000er. The south face of the Breithorn offers a safe passage to the summit, yet still gives an unrivalled view of some of the world’s most famous peaks including the Weisshorn, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.
The Breithorn, if you’re unaware, towers 4,106 metres into the sky; giving it the status of one of the 82 four-thousanders in the Alps. Even though it’s a four thousand metre peak, it still feels somewhat like the minnow of the Zermatt valley, which plays home to 38 4,000 metre peaks in its vicinity – many of which stretch up higher than the Breithorn.
Access to the Breithorn can be made easily by either Zermatt (Switzerland) or Cervinia (Italy) via the Klein Matterhorn telecabine – Europe’s highest cable car station. This means you can travel from valley level all the way up to 3,883 metres in a matter of minutes.
The straightforward nature of the Breithorn, shouldn’t mean it should be underestimated, however. With the somewhat lean summer season, and kick off to the 22/23 winter season, the glacial terrain that surrounds the mountains of the Alps is looking a little worse for wear right now. Large crevasses and bergschrunds remain open in the Alps – therefore diligent glacial travel experience (and a mountain guide) is required before stepping foot on a glacier.
On top of this, storms can easily be whipped up from the south before hitting the Breithorn, which is exactly what we were caught out with while touring on the mountain after a storm hit us up at 4,000 metres. To see how the new Summit Series kit held up in this storm and how Sam has got on with the kit after a few seasons in some pretty inhospitable environments (we’re talking filming La Liste 2 in Pakistan and Freerider in Alaska), be sure to give the video a watch now.