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Patrouille des Glaciers

Skitouring · Zermatt
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Zermatt Tourismus Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Climb to the Rosablanche
    / Climb to the Rosablanche
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Patrouille des Glaciers
  • / Preparations along the course
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Patrouille des Glaciers
  • / Various performances by military bands in Zermatt
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Patrouille des Glaciers
  • / The start at the station in Zermatt
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Patrouille des Glaciers
  • / Arrival of the teams in Verbier
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Patrouille des Glaciers
  • / Profile of the route
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Patrouille des Glaciers
  • / Patrouille des Glaciers - Promotions Film
    Video: Zermatt Tourismus
m 4500 4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 50 40 30 20 10 km Weiler Furi Stafelalp 2200m Furri Gitz-Gädi
The Patrouille des Glaciers (PDG) is one of the cult events in the ski mountaineering calendar. The course leads from Zermatt via Arolla to Verbier, and represents a sporting tour de force for participating teams. The race takes place every other year (e.g. 2022) with participants competing in teams of three.
difficult
55.5 km
18:00 h
4,228 m
4,094 m

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

Author’s recommendation

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.

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Author
Zermatt Tourismus
Updated: February 05, 2021
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
3,643 m
Lowest point
1,472 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Exposition / cardinal direction
NESW

Rest Stop

Hennu Stall
Blatten
Farmerhaus
Furri
Gitz-Gädi
Stafelalp 2200m
Aroleid Kollektiv

Safety information

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, hints and links

Offical website of the Patrouille des Glaciers

Experience the PdG in 360° by Mammut

Mountain guide agency

Start

Zermatt (1,620 m) (1,471 m)
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'583'287E 1'105'144N
DD
46.097597, 7.222536
DMS
46°05'51.3"N 7°13'21.1"E
UTM
32T 362609 5106427
w3w 
///receive.heavy.perfected

Destination

Verbier (1,520 m)

Turn-by-turn directions

Zermatt (train station) – Furi – Ober Stafel – Schönbiel - Stockji - Tête Blanche - Col de Bertol - Plan Bertol - Arolla - Col de Riedmatten - Pas du Chat - La Barma - Rosablanche – Col de Momin – Col de la Chaux - Les Ruinettes - Verbier

Distance: 57.5 km
D+ 4386 m und D- 4'519 m
Distance covered: over 100 km

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

By train to the Matterhorn village: 3½ hours from Zürich airport or 4 hours from Geneva airport. Change at Visp onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (Matterhorn Gotthard Railway). From Visp, the railway leads through the Mattertal valley past idyllic small villages to Zermatt.

Zermatt is also the start and finish point for the world-famous Glacier Express panoramic train journey (Zermatt to St. Moritz or Davos).

Getting there

Zermatt 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.

Parking

Täsch 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”.

Coordinates

SwissGrid
2'583'287E 1'105'144N
DD
46.097597, 7.222536
DMS
46°05'51.3"N 7°13'21.1"E
UTM
32T 362609 5106427
w3w 
///receive.heavy.perfected
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

Please observe the equipment requirements in the Regulations of the Patrouille des Glaciers (Point 3.6 and Annex 5).


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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
55.5 km
Duration
18:00h
Ascent
4,228 m
Descent
4,094 m
Scenic High-altitude ski tour Clear area

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