Mönch

Featured photo of Mönch

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 meters. 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.

Elevation (feet): 13,474
Elevation (meters): 4,107
Continent: Europe
Country: Switzerland
Range/Region: Berner Oberland
Latitude: 46.55832
Longitude: 7.997205
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

Thanks to Terrill Thompson for contributing to these details. (View history)

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 38 trip reports for Mönch.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #22225 - by Christine Theodorovics on Aug 15, 2011
    Traverse over the SE ridge and down the normal route to the Mönchsjochhütte. Very nice climb and god weather.
  • Log #21014 - by Tim Saunders on Sep 07, 2007
    Probably not the best choice for a beginners climb if you have the slightest problem with vertigo, and/or a healthy respect for knife edge ice ridges - they are seriously sharp! However, there are no...
  • Log #20911 - by Christine Theodorovics on July 31, 2007
    Very bad weather. Took the standard route and summited in about 2hrs. No view on top - whiteout. Stayed overnight in Mönchshütte.
  • Log #20808 - by Hallbjorn Staurset on June 05, 2007
    Wonderful climb along the ridge from monchjoch, very exposed with great view.
  • Log #5724 - by Steve Pardoe on Sep 12, 2004
    Failed attempt from the Jungfraujoch. Far too much snow this early in the season, abandoned after meeting Swiss Army mountain Guide also giving up. Seemed like good company to be in so we went down....
  • Log #5723 - by Fred Spicker on Sep 11, 2004
    Uneventful and fun - just the way we like it.
  • Log #5722 - by Fred Spicker on Sep 10, 2004
    A father / daughter climb. Tanya's first high alpine climb with ice ax, crampons, etc. Much snow this season. Only two very short steep pitches on rock.
  • Log #5688 - by Morten Johansen on Sep 07, 2004
    Very nice climbing but a bit short, only 1hr 40 min. oo quiet on the summit, NO wind at all...
  • Log #5689 - by Nedih Limani on July 24, 2004
    It was a mountain with a great wiew to concordia and to aletch gletcher.It's wery easy to climb on it,for no more than 2h.
  • Log #5690 - by Alastair McCrirrick on Sep 21, 2003
    Fantastic first experience of climbing. Not too difficult or scary but really exciting and exhillerating. Beautiful weather and great view from the summit. We're hooked! Pete and Al.
  • Log #5691 - by Larry Campbell on June 29, 2003
    This was my first summit of any real altitude, and also my first time climbing on rock with crampons (only my second crampon experience to boot). The physical aspects of the climb were manageable,...
  • Log #5692 - by tim yao on Apr 20, 2003
    was working in Interlaken in 1999, started mountaineering. Moench was my first mountain above 4000meters. Did it by myself: took the train to Jungfraujoch, hiked 15minutes to the foot and followed...
  • Log #5693 - by David Szuts on Mar 07, 2003
    I've just noticed that we climbed the Monch on Friday 13th! We climbed it after a week-long hike crisscrossing the glaciers of the Berner Alps. The climb itself is quite easy, we went through much...
  • Log #5694 - by Martin Sperka on Aug 30, 2002
    I was with my friend from the Sillicon Valley, good rock climber, but it was his second or maybe first tour with crampons. During the descent, after we overcame the narow ridge I relaxed and enjoied...
  • Log #5695 - by Gary Scott on Aug 11, 2002
    Led by my younger brother Neill, my father and I reached the summit of the Monch amid heavy traffic. very busy on the south west ridge due to bad weather for days before.great climb for our first...
  • Log #5696 - by Louisa Maskell on Dec 25, 2001
    Although we didn't climb this mountain in the conventional sense, we walked up the ski slope as at the time, we weren't skiiers! I have never experienced anything like it and still think of the climb...
  • Log #5697 - by Atte Kaleva on Dec 23, 2001
    A very nice climb, beautiful views from the top.
  • Log #5698 - by David Birkby on Oct 05, 2001
    Blue skies & sunshine. A perfect day for a great climb!!
  • Log #5699 - by Ben Clowes on Oct 01, 2001
    Short but sweet climb in perfect weather conditions. Great warm up for the Jungfrau or the Eiger Mittelegi ridge. Guided two novices to the top.
  • Log #5700 - by Fred Spicker on Aug 23, 2001
    Ascent via the SE Ridge with Katrin Schild. A beautiful sunny day. My third time on this summit.
  • Log #5701 - by Jørn Unnerup on Aug 22, 2001
    Went up from Monchjochhutte in the morning. Weather was getting bad, but we just did it, before the snow came. On the way down we were blocked by a 'tourist' with two guides. The man was totally...
  • Log #5702 - by Leos Low on Nov 20, 2000
    My first 4000er. I climbed together with guide M.Burgener. We started at 6:00AM in Moenchsjoch. There were clouds on the top, but cleared on the way down.
  • Log #5703 - by Martin Kleinebrecht on Sep 07, 2000
    We reached the top after a short and easy climb from Jungfraujoch. Very nice views down to the Joch and to the rest of the mountains we were going to climb during this exciting week in the Aletsch...
  • Log #5704 - by Dániel Marosffy on Aug 22, 2000
    Just as exposed as we required. Being very short but exciting and varying all the way it was one of my most pleasent climbes. A fine 4000er.
  • Log #5705 - by Luke Green on Aug 20, 2000
    Good climb, some exposure up high on the southeast ridge, need belayed if unsure of ability. Excellent warm up for Jungfrau, which we did the following day.
  • Log #5706 - by Debby Richman on Aug 03, 2000
    Peak of choice during mid-July snowstorms this year.
  • Log #5707 - by john sickel on June 26, 2000
    we reached the summit at 1020 and were at our first 4000m peak a simple but still quite exposed ridge, especially towards the summit ridge. I loved every min oif it , as did Nigel Hoad, and Mark...
  • Log #5708 - by Otto Schapendonk on May 26, 2000
    Solo climbed the Nollen route.
  • Log #5709 - by Gabriella van Wasbeek on Dec 06, 1999
    We started at the Lotschenlucke and went to Jungfraujoch. The snow was that good that we decided to climb the Monch in the afternoon. We had a beautiful view and it was really great to be there!!
  • Log #5710 - by Michael McCartney on Dec 01, 1999
    SUCCESSFUL SOLO CLIMB AGED ONLY 17!! After my A-level exams, I stayed with relatives in Hunibach, near Thun. My main objective was to climb the Jungfrau, but heavy snowfall the night before forced...
  • Log #5711 - by Bernd Nebendahl on Nov 15, 1999
    East Southeastridge from Moenchsjochhut. Alot of snowm but overall no problem. Perfect wheather.
  • Log #5713 - by Nick Adlam on Oct 22, 1999
    Having surveyed the peak by climbing the normal route, the focus of our trip was the south face. At 5 o'clock to a clear sky we set off, having camped beneath the face. The initial climb over...
  • Log #5714 - by Roger Klees and Phillipp Guerber on Oct 15, 1999
    It was our secound attempt but without Gian because his leg wasn't allready in good condition. This time we had good weather and so we were faster. Even though it snowed 2 weeks before, the snow was...
  • Log #5715 - by Trevor Clarke on Sep 21, 1999
    Camped on the glacier below the Jaugfraujoch. Summited in 3 hours. Snow to poor condition - too warm. Topped out in cloud but cleared on the way down so good view afterall.
  • Log #5716 - by Phillipp Guerber , R . Klees Planta on Sep 10, 1999
    Failed to reach the peak due to bad weather contitions.There was a storm coming up and Gian was nod in his best performance due to his brocken leg.He was going with spreg wich he specially designed...
  • Log #5717 - by Brent Davis on July 29, 1999
    Climbed with Guide Freddy Grossniklaus. Cold wind and visibility variable, but the clouds parted while on the summit to we could look down on the Eiger's Mittileggi Ridge. Climb was mostly on snow...
  • Log #5719 - by Hans Wennerström on July 16, 1999
    From Jungfraujoch we this time went direct on to the south-west ridge in sunshine. There was good rock climbing the first part of the route and snow and ice from "Nollen" to the summit. We were...
  • Log #5720 - by Simon Hughes on July 07, 1999
    First 4000m. Lots of snow - but straightforward if tackled early enough in the day.