The Matterhorn


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The Matterhorn

4477.5 metres, 14,690 feet.
First ascended on 14th. July 1865, by M. Croz, F. Douglas, C. Hudson, P. Taugwalder & son, plus E. Whymper.
Probably the most famous peak in the world, and
one of the most sought after summits by the majority of Alpinists at some stage in their career.

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Kitlist for the Matterhorn here
Booking form for the Matterhorn here

Routes to the summit                                                                                                                            

The Hornli Ridge   Graded AD- . This is our 'normal route' - sometimes called the North - East ridge. Despite being relatively straightforward technically, it is a long & serious route that is often severely underestimated. 
The climb starts from the Hornli hut at about 4.30am, meaning that only an hour or so is spent finding the way in the dark. A break is taken at the Solvay hut at a height of 4000m, followed by another two hours or so onto the shoulder,
up the fixed ropes, and onto the final summit snowfield. It takes around six hours up, & five or six hours down. We are usually down at the hut by 2pm; a welcome tea or something stronger. From there, the Schwartzee cable-car lift is reached in an hour or so; very few people walk all the way from the hut down into the town!
Many folks express a concern about the number of people sharing the route; in fact, after the first hour or so parties
get well spread out, as differing levels of expertise in route finding, as well as in fitness, takes effect. The fixed ropes above 4300m can sometimes be stressful, when pairs - usually local Guides in a rush not to miss their lunch - are descending. A phlegmatic but firm approach is needed at this point!

The Italian Ridge  or South - West or 'Lion' ridge. Climbed three days after Whymper's ascent of the Hornli ridge in
July 1865. Slightly harder (AD+) than the Hornli ridge, but a superb ascent, suitable for those with some rock - climbing experience up to Very Difficult (VD). A later start from the Carrel hut 3828m is possible as the sun warms the rock. It is possible to combine this route with a descent of the Hornli ridge to give a magnificent day out.


What is the level of previous experience required?  You need to expect to be on your feet for at least 10 hours. Some experience of scrambling would be useful - but you do not need to be a rock - climber for the Hornli ridge.
The most important factor in a successful ascent is adequate acclimatisation - the mountain is approaching 4500m.
We would recommend ascending to at least 4000m a few days before.
To get acclimatised - to the type of terrain encountered on the Matterhorn, as well as  to the altitude - you might
think of another peak in the area with similar scrambling. Something like the traverse of the Breithorn 4164m, from the Ayas hut; or perhaps the Zinal Rothorn 4221m. 
See our course options
is usually one to one - although if we have good previous knowledge of climbers - from past Scottish or
Alpine courses - a ratio of two to one might be acceptable.

Thanks Craig

Our Courses                                                                                                                                            

Five day programme.  To gain the best chance of a successful ascent of the Matterhorn, it really is a good idea
to acclimatise not only to the altitude, but also to the style of climbing & scrambling on the Matterhorn. Five days allow
us to complete at least one 4000m + peak in the range, and to allow more leeway for the weather and conditions in planning the ascent of the Matterhorn. If the weather forecast is good for the latter part of the course, we stay up at a
high hut to gain more acclimatisation.

A sample five day programme
# Day one - ascend on the Klein Matterhorn cable-car lift from Zermatt to the Breithorn plateau. Walk across to the Grande Verra glacier terrace at the foot of the South - West rib of Pollux. Ascend the ridge, using some fixed ropes,
to the summit 4092m. Descend to the Ayas hut in the afternoon.
# Day two - across glacier to ascend to the saddle at 4022m on the Breithorn traverse. Climb the crest over a series of steps, with excellent scrambling in a superb position, to the summit of the Breithorn 4164m. Descend to valley.
# Day three - five, ascent of the Matterhorn.

Clive, Richard, John, Matt and Jim, tired but happy after a sucessfull ascent of the Matterhorn. 2012.Steve on the summit of the Matterhorn, 2012.

The cost                                                                                                                                                   

For 5 days of Guiding, including 6 nights accommodation, for the Hornli Ridge Matterhorn : 1850 per person.

  The cost includes all hut fees, as well as the use of any technical gear - crampons, ice-axe, helmet & harness - you might need.


B&B accommodation at the Hotel Schoenblick Saas Grund


The Matterhorn 'season' usually runs from middle June through to the middle of September. The Hornli & Italian ridges are very dependent on being snow free on their lower halves, to be in condition. 
We therefore do not usually start offering Matterhorn courses until the middle of June. Finishing usually during the second  week in September. 
If you need advice on conditions outside of these dates, we are able to give you a better assessment
nearer the time; conditions, like the weather, can change day by day!  
Call us with your date requirements, & we will either confirm or suggest alternative dates.

 The Zmutt face of the Matterhorn, with the Italian Ridge in profile on the right.


Webcams    Has cameras showing views all over Switzerland; look at the 'Gornergrat' for the Matterhorn  Views of the town & onto the Matterhorn    

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