The start is worth seeing at least once in life. Days before the race, Zermatt teems with competitors training for the event, both women and men. The contest, organised every other year by the Swiss army, is regarded as the toughest of its kind in the world. Nevertheless, only a selection of teams that apply can take part as the number of places is limited. In 2014, however, the number of three-person teams permitted was raised from 400 to 1800.
The Patrouille des Glaciers leads from Zermatt via Arolla to Verbier through the spectacular high-altitude mountain regions of the Valais Alps. The event has its origins in border patrols during the Second World War. The PDG 2014 celebrated the 30th anniversary of the relaunch of the contest in 1984.
- Starts at the Bahnhofplatz in Zermatt, mostly late evening or very early morning
- Starts on various days at the end of April/beginning of May
- Bahnhofplatz/Bahnhofstrasse: entertainment for spectators around each category start
- Information brochure with starting times and details of entertainment available locally
- Civilian and military patrols from all over the world take part
- Teams of three: women, men and mixed teams
- Participants from Zermatt repeatedly achieve excellent results
Cheering supporters are a great boost for contestants and an important element of the event. Live reports on athletes’ progress on the Bahnhofplatz by the station. Entertainment activities and refreshments for spectators.
If you just want to experience this route without having to participate yourself, you can do it with the “Mammut 360° Project”.
The Patrouille des Glaciers route can also be done as a one- or two-day tour outside the competition. It is recommended to book a local mountain guide.
Rest StopHennu Stall
Please observe the registration deadlines and the Regulations for the Patrouille des Glaciers.
Important! Requirements include: sound alpine knowledge, active alpine touring skills and experience in mountaineering competitions, excellent skiing skills, experience in skiing while roped to others, and a very high level of training. Further information is available on the PDG website.
Tips and hints
Getting thereZermatt is car-free. Private vehicles are permitted only as far as Täsch (5 km before Zermatt). The Täsch–Zermatt road is closed to the public.
Onward travel to Zermatt is either by private taxi or shuttle train. Trains depart every 20 minutes; the journey takes about 12 minutes, and ends at the Bahnhofplatz in Zermatt.
ParkingTäsch has car parks with both covered and open-air parking – e.g. at the Matterhorn Terminal or privately operated facilities.
Onward travel: see “Getting there”.