The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn is the dream of practically every budding alpinist. It is the most photographed mountain in the world. It’s ridge line is awesome. Catching sight of it from Zermatt strikes fear into the hearts of most folks even contemplating climbing to its summit.

The Hornli ridge to the summit of the Matterhorn is a wonderful route, so it’s no wonder it’s an objective for so many climbers. Picking the right time to climb it is the subject of much discussion. Ideally, the route will be snow free to the shoulder. Then it’s desirable to have snow above the fixed ropes to make the summit snow field easier to negotiate. And ideally, you will share the mountain with only a handful of other climbers. So when is this?

The Matterhorn often comes into condition by mid-June. Ideal conditions come and go with the added snow of afternoon thunder showers and full-on depressions lasting a day or more. If the temperatures are high after such a snowfall, the route can come quickly back into shape. In mid-summer, there are so many climbers on the route, it becomes quite circus-like. Jockying for position at the hut door at 3:45AM, roping up at the breakfast table, sprinting to keep one’s position on the mountain, are all realities in high season.

Obviously, one cannot have perfect condiotns unless one lives here in the Alps and is free to drop what they are doing to climb the peak. Most of you are coming from afar, and must be content with having favorable conditions, even if it means enduring the push of others on the mountain. That being said, one should allow at least a week to climb this fine peak. My preferred weeks are early July and the last week of August through the first week of October.

The price for the 6 day program is 3’285. We will spend the first days climbing and acclimatizing together in and around Zermatt. This also gives us a good window to pick the perfect conditions to hike to the Hornli Hut and climb the Matterhorn the next day. The climb takes 4-5 hours each way. Climbers must have previous rock and ice climbing experience and be in very good shape. They should be capable of comfortably climbing 5.7 on top rope.

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  1. Pingback: The Matterhorn | Hans Solmssen Alpine Guide

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