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From Felskinn to the Britannia hut and Plattjen

Hikes · Saas-Fee
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  • Plattjen path in direction to Saas-Fee
    / Plattjen path in direction to Saas-Fee
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Saastal Tourismus AG
  • / Plattjen hiking path
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Saastal Tourismus AG
  • / View to the village of Saas-Almagell
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Saastal Tourismus AG
  • / Cairns on the Plattjen hiking path
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Saastal Tourismus AG
  • / Plattjen
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Saastal Tourismus AG
m 3200 3100 3000 2900 2800 2700 2600 2500 2400 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 km Britanniahütte Felskinn Egginerjoch Plattjen
High-altitude hike through a wild glacial landscape between two cable car summit stations. Glorious views plus an ascent to a historical mountaineers’ hut.
difficult
Distance 7.5 km
2:45 h
231 m
655 m

Saas-Fee has a long history of mountain adventure, from Switzerland’s first recorded descent on skis (in 1849) to pioneering first ascents and construction of some of the first mountain hotels in the Alps. This route takes us to one of the best-loved of all Alpine mountaineers’ huts: the Britannia, built in 1912.

The trail begins at Felskinn, summit station for the Felskinn and Alpin Express cable cars (2,988 m). This is also the base station for the Metro Alpin – the world’s highest funicular as well as the world’s highest underground railway, which leads to the world’s highest revolving restaurant and highest glacier grotto.

Our hike, however, takes us from the Felskinn station on to an alpine trail across the snows of the Chessjen Glacier to reach the Egginerjoch pass (2,988 m). The views are sublime. The sparkling Fee Glacier adorns the flanks of the Mischabel massif, the third-highest in the Alps (after the Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa massifs). Its summit, the Dom, is the highest peak entirely within Switzerland at 4,545 m.

The trail drops into the glacial bowl beyond the pass before climbing across the glacier once again to the Britanniahütte (3,030 m), one of the most-visited mountain huts in the Swiss Alps. Originally built by the «Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club» as a thank-you for hospitality received in the Swiss mountains, the iconic refuge was renovated in 1997 and equipped with solar-powered lighting.

We retrace our steps back down into the glacial bowl before following a new trail northwards, high along the flank of the valley all the way to the summit station of the Plattjen gondola. The views of the Saas valley, the Mattmark reservoir and the surrounding peaks are mesmerising.

 

Highlights:

  • Dramatic route for experienced mountain hikers along high-altitude trails
  • Scenic ride up to start of hike by cable car, down from end of hike by gondola
  • Historical Britannia hut with restaurant and spectacular views of glacial landscapes

Author’s recommendation

Holders of the «Citizen’s Pass» enjoy free travel on all summer lifts in Saas-Fee (excluding Metro Alpin) and all postal buses in the Saastal valley, along with many discounts in resort.
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Glacier Chessjengletscher, 3,027 m
Lowest point
Plattjen, 2,567 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.

For all hikes:

  • Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on «Print» icon, top right of this page.
  • Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Close gates after passing through.
  • Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
  • Do not leave any waste in nature.

For mountain hikes:

  • Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
  • Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.

For high-altitude hikes:

  • Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
  • Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • Take note of the warning signs that point out the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs: water levels may rise rapidly without warning.

Tips and hints

More information about the destination: 

Start

Felskinn, cable car summit station (2,988 m)
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'636'905E 1'102'001N
DD
46.068527, 7.915601
DMS
46°04'06.7"N 7°54'56.2"E
UTM
32T 416136 5102233
w3w 
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Destination

Plattjen, cable car summit station

Turn-by-turn directions

The route initially leads from Felskinn across part of the Chessjen Glacier to the Egginerjoch pass. The trail then descends north-east into a former glacial bowl scattered with lakes, eventually reaching the trail linking the Britanniahütte and Plattjen. At the junction, turn right, zig-zag up the rocky slope and then climb across the snow of the glacier to reach the hut. Afterwards, follow the same trail back down, but at the junction, continue straight on, heading steadily downhill along the flank of the Saastal valley. After Heidefridhof, the trail crosses a boulder-strewn bowl before traversing a steeper, rocky slope, finally reaching the shallower shoulder above Plattjen, strewn with boulders.

At the stone cairn above the Brandgrabe ravine, hikers enjoy one of the best views of the whole valley: up to the Mattmark reservoir to the south, and northwards along the length of the Saastal with the Bietschhorn on the horizon.

At Plattjen, either take the gondola or just hike down to Saas-Fee.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Train to Visp; change on to postal bus to Saas-Fee. Walk from bus terminal through resort to cable car for Felskinn. Find full timetable information at sbb.ch.

Getting there

A9 motorway and main road up the Rhône valley to Visp. Turn south up the Vispertal valley, following signs for Saas-Fee.

 

Parking

Saas-Fee ist car free. Multi-storey car park at entrance to Saas-Fee.

Coordinates

SwissGrid
2'636'905E 1'102'001N
DD
46.068527, 7.915601
DMS
46°04'06.7"N 7°54'56.2"E
UTM
32T 416136 5102233
w3w 
///franchised.carpenter.conjugate
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Saas-Fee has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 2526 Saas-Fee

Equipment

We recommend: 

  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click «Print» icon, to download)  

For certain walks:

  • Swimwear

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Photos from others


Difficulty
difficult
Distance
7.5 km
Duration
2:45 h
Ascent
231 m
Descent
655 m
Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Cableway ascent/descent Linear route

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