Climb The Matterhorn

A long, tough and brilliant day’s alpine mountaineering on the world’s most iconic mountain.

This is…The Matterhorn

There can be few alpine climbers (or even armchair climbers!) who have not dreamed of scaling this strikingly beautiful peak. The classic route starts from the picture postcard Swiss alpine village of Zermatt and ascends the long and sustained (but not as steep as it looks!) ‘Hornli Ridge’. We spend 3 days preparing for the ascent in the equally famous alpine resort of Chamonix before moving east to Switzerland for the climb itself.  We hope you can get in touch with plenty of time to plan, train and prepare for a safe & stylish ascent with us…

2019 Dates & Prices

Matterhorn FAQ’s

Matterhorn Equipment List

Latest Matterhorn Conditions

Our six day Matterhorn course begins in Chamonix which is easily reached from Geneva airport via a simple one hour transfer.

Climb the Matterhorn Aims

  • Climb the Matterhorn, the worlds most iconic mountain
  • Complete 3 high quality alpine training climbs based in the Chamonnix Valley. These will include rock, snow and mixed terrain to best prepare you for the styles of climbing on the Matterhorn
  • Complete another classic alpine climb over Zermatt or Chamonix if weather and energy levels allow.
  • Spend an enjoyable week in the high Alps and a sociable time during the 3 nights spent in mountain huts / hotel.
The Matterhorn East & North Faces, with the Hornli Ridge in-between, above the climbers left hand. Taken from the summit of the nearby Rifflehorn, a fun short training climb above Zermatt.

Climb The Matterhorn Facts & Figures

  • Elevation: 4478m
  • Position: Lat/Long Reference, 45.97980°N / 7.66020°E, Swiss – Italian Alpine Border
  • First Ascent: E. Whympher, F. Douglas, DR Hadow, C Hudson, M Croz, P Taugwalder (Father & Son), 14 July 1865
  • Hornli Ridge: Vertical height gain of 1220m from the Hornli Hut (3260m)
  • Italian Ridge: Vertical Height Gain of 650m from Carrel Hut (3835m), and another 1000m from the Abruzzi Hut (2802m)
  • Classic ‘High season’: Early July – early September
  • The worlds 2nd most famous mountain!?

When To Climb the Matterhorn

The main season for climbing the Matterhorn is high summer (late June / early June to early mid September). This is when the summit ridges clear of snow and allow easier and swifter progress.

Rory enjoying the fine dry late summer conditions at the Shoulder on The Hornli Ridge. Dent Blanche South Ridge on Left and Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn & Weisshorn on the Right.

6 Day Matterhorn Itinerary

This is a suggested itinerary based on good weather. It may be necessary to change the programme to make best use of local mountain conditions.

Pre-Course fitness training and, if you have the time, training and acclimatisation training in the hills above Chamonix for a few days before the course starts. We can offer advice on how to get the most out of these pre-course elements as well as discussing appropriate equipment for the trip.

Days 1-3: Three quality training and acclimatisation days around the Mont Blanc Range & based in the Chamonix Valley. The exact climbs will be decided close to the time according to weather & conditions and based on your experience and aspirations. These climbs will include steep rock, ice and snow in ascent & descent to prepare for the terrain on the Matterhorn. Examples are the Aiguille du Peigne (3009m) in the Chamonix Aiguilles, Traverse of Les Perrons above Vallorcine, Traverse of the Petite Charmoz, Left Edge Route on Mont Blanc du Tacul, The Dent du Geant and many other Chamonix classics. Check our Chamonix Mountaineering Gallery for more information.

We usually spend the second night of this 3 day training period in a mountain hut to facilitate your acclimatisation for climbing high on the Matterhorn. This will give you a sleeping height of around 3000m+ in preparation for the night at 3260m in the Hörnli Hut.

The Spectacular Traverse Of ‘Les Perrons’ At The Eastern End Of The Mont Blanc Massif. A brilliant rocky AD traverse and great Matterhorn Training

Day 4-6: The Ascent of the Matterhorn. A deliberately leisurely day allows you to relax and let the training and acclimatisation soak in. After driving to Tasch we take the train to Zermatt, lift to Schwarzsee and an easy 2 hour walk to the hut. The Guide will often go and do an afternoon recce on the first part of the climb which is done in the dark next morning. Here you can relax and enjoy the magnificent position of the hut at the base of the Hornli Ridge. Breakfast is taken at 0400 and then a long but brilliant day of constant scrambling begins. We aim to climb and descend the mountain and are normally back to the Hornli Hut for lunch – Rösti is traditional!

Our preferred course plan then is descend to Schwarzsee for a night in the famous Hotel there.  This offers a superb post climb ambiance and takes the time pressure of the descent as the last lift back to Zermatt is not required.  This also gives us a potential spare summit day, for very fit guests, to climb on the last day of the course.  There is also the option to climb the Breithorn or Pollux on the last day of the course although most of our guests are happy to have a relaxing evening and morning after the ascent of the Matterhorn!

If folk prefer, it is also easily possible to make the summit climb and descent to Zermatt that day and return to Chamonix.  This is a slightly cheaper option generally as it does not require a mountain hotel night for guest & guide to be paid for.

Enjoyable rocky scrambling on the Hornli Ridge in mid summer conditions

Helen Harris, Matterhorn Summit Climb, August 2017

With thanks to  ‘High Mountain Guides’ I have achieved my dream and climbed the Matterhorn! The Snowdonia training weekend proved so useful and I was pointed in the right direction with regard to my training programme.  The summit day was definitely tough, just under 9 hours in total and certainly requires great stamina and endurance but it was a fantastic feeling when we arrived back at the Hornli hut for a celebratory drink!  Thanks again!

FAQ’s about climbing The Matterhorn

How hard is the climbing (what grade is it?)

The technical grade for the Hornli Ridge (Normal route from Zermatt) is UIAA III which equates roughly to British V.Diff or U.S. 5.4. There would be a few sections harder than this without the considerable aid from the fixed ropes put in place by the Zermatt Guides. This grade is based on perfect conditions of dry, ice free rock on the steep sections. For those not familiar with these numbers the Hornli Ridge includes very sustained scrambling and a few short (less than 25m) pitches (rope lengths) of the lowest grades of rock climbing. These may feel fairly straightforward on a warm day with sticky rock climbing shoes but can feel a lot harder in the cold / dark / with bigger alpine boots and a rucksack on.

The more relevant grade is the overall Alpine Grade of Assez Difficile (AD).  The technical difficulties of the Hornli Ridge are not great. The real challenge lies in the the length and commitment of this magnificent sustained major alpine route. All the hallmarks of a big ‘mixed’ alpine day will be encountered in abundance. A pre-dawn start; intricate route finding; sustained scrambling; short rock pitches; using fixed ropes; loose rock; snow and ice; descending, traversing, abseiling / lowering in descent. A long day on the hill.

The Matterhorn North Face seen from the Arben Bivi Hut. The Hornli Ridge is visible on the left hand skyline and the overall angle looks a lot less intimidating than when viewed from Zermatt or below!

What training & acclimatisation should I do?

LOTS! Unless you are an experienced mountaineer you will need to prepare for the physical and mental challenges of the Matterhorn well in advance. Rock climbing, scrambling and big days hill walking will all contribute to this in terms of your fitness, agility, sure footedness, ‘head for heights’ and ability to know and manage your own kit efficiently. Training in the gym or in other cardio sports is better than nothing as supplement but in no sense as an alternative to mountaineering based training.

The hills and crags of Snowdonia in North Wales and the North West Scottish Highlands provide superb opportunities for sustained days scrambling which will be excellent initial preperation once combined with some alpine and higher altitude training in the week or 2 prior to the ascent. There are many alpine areas which give excellent mountaineering training suitable for preparing for the mountain. The most obvious two in terms of the volume, quality and accessibility of high altitude rocky alpine routes are the Swiss Valais and the Chamonix Valley.

Acclimatisation (and preparation) to try a technical four and a half thousand metre peak should be taken over at least a 5-6 day period, ideally with at least one other high 3000m or 4000m peak climbed and a night spent sleeping at around 3000m.

This is where the training really starts to pay off! The Solvay Hut at 4000m is visible just above these lower Mosely Slabs, one of the crux rock pitches of the Hornli Ridge. Good technical & physical training is required to be ready for these climbing specific challenges.

How long does it take?

With a 0400 breakfast at the Hornli Hut and allowing for good conditions, a well prepared party and an average amount of time waiting for other parties the ascent will take 4-6 hours and the descent 5-6 hours. Longer than this and the team risk getting stuck high on the mountain, moving slowly in bad weather or just running out of steam descending in the heat of the afternoon.

The Hornli Hut Rules – Take Note!

What equipment will I need?

Go light! Please check our Summer Alpine Mountaineering Kit list for more information. Brief summary given here:
Quality pair of summer alpine mountaineering boots (e.g Scarpa Freney XT GTX, Sportiva Trango Extreme,) crampons, mountaineering ice-axe (c.50cm), harness with Screw gate karabiner and 8ft sling, helmet, rucksack (30-45L), head torch with fresh batteries, warm and windproof top and bottom layers, waterproof top and bottom layers, warm hat, thin gloves, medium gloves, 1-2.5 Litres of liquid, variety of snacks, sun glasses, very small tube sun cream, Insurance details, Cash (Swiss francs) for hut, Mobile phone…ear plugs for the hut!

Mountaineering equipment for The Matterhorn needs to be fit for purpose because the demands on the equipment from eg icy mixed climbing are high. This is not the place for very lightweight ski touring crampons! However, overall you and your equipment should be light and able to move efficiently over the course of a physically demanding summit day with 1200m of technical ascent.

What hazards are there?

Route finding is one of the major challenges of the Hornli Ridge as the actual crest is rarely followed , especially in the lower half. Getting off route means the rock is not well travelled and will be of poor quality (re-trace your steps back to where it was solid and try again). There is a narrow ‘strip’ which is the normal route and where the rock is well used, slightly paler, scratched by crampons and generally more solid than the rest of the mountain! Sticking to this can be difficult in anything other than perfect conditions. Snow / ice / dark / cloud / rain can all add to the difficulty of finding the right line. Other parties off-route present a considerable stone fall hazard to other teams on the mountain.

Due to the length and sustained nature of the route and despite it’s popularity the Hornli Ridge is a committing undertaking requiring both good conditions and good weather. With too much snow and ice on the lower sections the climbing will be much more time consuming and only very fast parties could successfully complete the climb in a day. To be caught out high on the mountain in an afternoon thunderstorm would be an ‘adventurous’ experience at best. Terrain that can be swiftly negotiated when dry can become painstakingly slow and difficult in a storm. The Matterhorn is no place to be caught out in bad weather. With this in mind parties attempting the ridge should be fit and acclimatised, practised at moving on similar rocky, mixed and icy terrain in ascent and descent and should wait for good conditions and good weather. These are most often found in the traditional alpine ‘high summer’ , July, August and the start of September.

Complex terrain on the lower section of the Hornli Ridge. Note the actual route is invariably on the East face rather than the crest in this lower section. On-sighting the correct line in the dark is difficult and anything off the main route is generally well loose!

What are the other expenses apart from hiring a Guide?

Welcome, to Zermatt, an amazing place, but get your wallet ready!  Here is a brief summary of some expenses relevant to a short ‘summit’ visit to Zermatt to climb the Matterhorn.  We usually park in Tasch and take the train to the village before taking the lift to Schwarzee and spending nights at Hornli Hut and Schwarzee Hotel, so these expenses are detailed below, 2017 prices…

  • Tasch – Zermatt Train fare C. 33 CHF return.
  • Parking in Tasch, C. 15 CHF / day
  • Zermatt – Schwarzsee return lift costs: Adults: 33 Chf  Plus the cost of your Guide at approx half price. Discounts for holders of SwissRail Pass (25% off) and Half Fare cards (50% off)
  • Overnight stay at the Hörnli Hut: sFr.150. Small discounts for members of national alpine associations e.g. Alpine Club, BMC A.A.C, C.A.F. Plus the cost of your Guide at the same price. Prices for half-board (overnight accommodation, dinner and breakfast) are c. 150 CHF and 450 CHF for a double room. Check out the huts reservation page via the link here:  http://www.hoernlihuette.ch/reservation_46.html
  • Accommodation at Schwarzee can be checked out on their Schwarzee Hotel booking.com page.

You can pay with Euros in all the Swiss huts used.  Some, not all, also accept credit cards and REKA cheques but cash is generally best.  If you need to spend a night in Zermatt we can book good quality and value accomodation to suit a variety of budgets. We often use the Bahnoff Hotel which has a mixture of rooms including dormitory style accomodation from 40 CHF.  Again you will need to cover the cost of your Guides overnight stay in Zermatt.

Post Matterhorn ascent beer in Zermatt, with the mountain just behind. A magnificent base camp for the climb…but not a cheap one!
Matt Evans, Matterhorn Summit August 2017
What can I say…I’m still in shock.  1 that I made it up and 2 that plan a came good after such a strange weather week.  I can’t thank your enough.  Mike has been amazing and the adaptability has really impressed. A wonderful week with great people.  Here’s to more adventures.

Matterhorn Summit Strategy & Booking The Mountain Huts

Summer 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the infamous first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 by Edward Whymper and his summit companions, of which 4 died in a fall on the descent. After the mountain had first been climbed, more people came to visit, wonder at the iconic mountain view and, for a few, plan their own summit attempts. The Swiss Alpine Club thus provided the Hornli Lodge with 17 beds which served as Base Camp for visiting climbers or sightseers / walkers. Over the years this has had many rebuilds and in the summer of 2015, the latest version was completed.

The modern hut promises various significant upgrades regarding environmental standards and quality of stay. This should not be too difficult to achieve as the old hut was pretty grim! As part of the programme the Swiss Alpine Club Monte Rosa section has handed over the running of the new “Hörnlihütte” to the community of Zermatt who will now manage the hut.

These upgrades & shift in management have, unsurprisingly, resulted in a significant rise in hut fees! The hut was expensive before and now is well up there vying for the dubious accolade of being ‘most expensive high mountain hut in the Alps’!

The New Hornli Hut is a big improvement on the old hut and still has its magnificent perched position at the base of the Hornli Ridge with expansive views of the incredible Zermatt skyline

As per the normal strategy – our courses make the approach to the hut on day 4 of the classic 6 day course and day 1 of the 3 day summit period. This means an early breakfast can be taken on day 5 followed by the summit attempt. Most teams climb the mountain on this day and return to the hut early afternoon for a drink & rest before the walk back down to Schwarzee and the lifts to Zermatt.

Folk wanting to take the ascent at a steadier pace, if the weather allows, sometimes opt to spend the night at the lower Hotel Schwarzee. This indeed takes some time pressure off the descent to reach the lift to Zermatt before it closes. A second night at the Hornli Hut itself achieves a similar aim with a shorter day and both of these do offer the possibility of a 2nd summit attempt on the final day (although this would be a long, tough & fast day from Schwarzee).

These 3 different options can thus be summarised as per below with the days referring to the 3 day summit period. They can all of course be disrupted at the time due to the prevailing weather & conditions on the mountain – but we choose a Plan A to run with in advance.

  1. Recommended – Climb to Hörnlihütte on day 1, summit climb & descent toSchwarzsee on day 2. Day 3 return to Chamonix or spare poor weather day or additional climb.
  2. Climb to Hörnlihütte on day 1, summit & descent to Zermatt then Chamonix on day 2.  Spare poor weather summit day or additional climb in Chamonix on day 3.
  3. Climb to Hörnlihütte on day 1, summit & descent back to Hörnlihütte on day 2.  Descend to Zermatt then Chamonix on day 3 or spare poor weather summit day.  This latter option is sometimes arranged but rarely used as we find most folk fast enough to make the summit in good time are back at the hut around lunch time and thus generally don’t want to spend a 2nd night at the hut.  If you think you will be slower than this, you may not be fast enough, or, if you know you have good stamina but less speed, a 2nd night at Hornlihutte may be a good option.

Bookings can be made on the Hornli Hut Reservations Page. Each booking carries a 50CHF non refundable deposit (e.g. no refund for poor weather or any other reason) and a bed in a shared dormitory is 150CHF including dinner and breakfast.

Bookings can also be made for Hotel Schwarzee on their website. This is more of a hotel than a hut so reservations for the rooms should be honoured even in the event of poor weather etc whereas they are somewhat more flexible regarding their dortoir rooms.

Post Climb Rosti At the Hornli Hut. A great experience, great food in a superb position to be able to enjoy the climb just completed….or just about to be attempted!

Matterhorn Climber Experience & Fitness Pre-Requirements

An ascent of the Matterhorn by any route will be a long and tough day and you should be prepared for up to 11 hours of sustained mountaineering. High levels of fitness and stamina are required as well as head for heights and decent movement skills on scrambling and easy climbing ground. Basic but sound cramponing skills are also required. Folk preparing for this ascent should aim to spend lots of time in advance scrambling and easy rock climbing with a rucksack and mountain boots. We would be delighted to offer some guidance on suitable training peaks and routes and indeed have a suggested progression for UK based & alpine Matterhorn preparation courses.

Lots of training is required but the good news is that this involves a great journey with plenty of mountain days scrambling and climbing….

Training for the fixed ropes on the Matterhorn – Matt’s dedicated approach to Matterhorn training paid off with a stylish ascent in early August 2017

Matterhorn Training Weekends In The UK

For UK based climbers we offer a series of Alpine training weekends based in either the Scottish Highlands or Snowdonia. These culminate in June with a quality Matterhorn training weekend where you can develop your scrambling and easy rock climbing skills and cover lots of terrain similar to the Hornli Ridge on the Matterhorn. This is an ideal way to hone your skills at the start of the summer when you are planning to make a summit attempt later in the season.

Scrambling on the Idwal Buttress above Llyn Idwal and the Ogwen Valley. A brilliant area for Matterhorn training!

Alpine Matterhorn Preparation Courses

Here are some other relevant alpine courses. Also check out our UK Matterhorn Preparation Weekends.

Chamonix Mountaineer – A Chamonix based Matterhorn training week designed for folk who have climbed eg Mont Blanc or the Gran Paradiso and want to develop more technical skills on rock and mixed ground.

Enjoyable but exposed scrambling on the traverse of the Aiguille d’Entreves (AD-). A fine short but high altitude Matterhorn training climb.

Climb The Weissmies – 3 Day course in the Eastern Swiss Valais climbing 2 excellent 4000m peaks which offer a steady technical progression with some easy rocky scrambling at high altitude.

Rocky scrambling on the South Ridge of The Weissmies, a good route and good Matterhorn training.

Matterhorn Climb Reports

Check out Paul Antrobus’s entertaining Matterhorn blog of our ascent of the mountain in August 2015. Paul describes his experiences on the ascent and there are links to his fundraising page where he has raised over $220,000 for Cancer Research UK as part of a series of mountain climbing, skiing and running endurance challenges over a year.

Matterhorn Equipment List

Careful cramponing on the short final summit ridge on the Matterhorn. There is a long section of icy mixed ground and summit snow / ice field to reach this point so good accurate & steady cramponing in required. Great views of the Monte Rosa Massif beyond.

Marc Adam, Matterhorn Ascent August 2016

The whole week with Tomaz was really great; he was good company, fun and enthusiastic, and with a clear love of the mountains. He was also able to get the most out of me with his patient determination and calm encouragement.  Although I brought some challenging weather (again), necessitating a short acclimatising programme, the Matterhorn ascent was brilliant throughout, and the subsequent climbs in the aguille rouges and via ferrata made for a varied alpine adventure.  Time to put my thinking cap on to dream up the next challenge!  Thanks again.

2019 Course Dates & Prices

Our Matterhorn courses run between early July and mid September and usually include at least 6 climbing / guided days.

The maximum Guide to guest ratio is 1:2 for the training days 1-3 and 1:1 for the summit days 3-6.

Get in touch to discuss your own preferred dates and we can tailor make a programme with a rest day between the training & summit periods if preferred.

2019 Private Guiding & Open Course Fees

£2995 based on an individual booking with 1:1 guiding for days 1-6

£2295 per person, based on 2 guests booking together, sharing a guide for days 1-3 and 1:1 guiding for days 3-6

£2645 per person, based on 2 guests booking together, sharing a guide for days 1-3 and 1:1 guiding for days 3-6

All 3 options include a choice as to whether or not to have a day off between the warm up climbs and summit phase.

What’s included in the Price?

Our courses are priced on a ‘guiding only’ basis which means you pay the exact cost price for all other expenses like hotels, mountain huts and lift passes. These expenses amount to about 600 euros which includes 6 nights half board accommodation in a hotel & mountain huts & lift passes. You could reduce this figure if you wanted to stay in a gite or camp and increase it if you want to stay in a more luxury hotel.

  • 6 full days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
  • Course planning. A tailor made itinerary and management of the programme is weather / conditions dictate changing to plan B etc!
  • Car transport to climbing venues during the course

What’s not included?

  • Valley accommodation. This course is based in Chamonix and a variety of accommodation options are available. Please see our Chamonix Accommodation Notes with overnight rates starting at C. 25 euros per night for guest house style accommodation through to 5* Hotel options.
  • Mountain huts & lift passes, for you and the guides. Allow about 70-90 euros per night half board accommodation. The guides expenses are split between the group members and are discounted in huts, hotels and on lifts and trains.
  • Hornli Hut fees, 150 CHF for you and 140 CHF for the guide, thus 290 CHF in total for the guest to pay.
  • Return train fare for you and the guides from Tasch to Zermatt (around 60 CHF)
  • Parking in Tasch (around 30 CHF)
  • Lift from Zermatt to Schwarzee for you and the guide (around 80 CHF)
  • Your personal mountaineering equipment – see our alpine mountaineering kit list and options for mountain equipment hire.
  • Flights and transfer from the airport to Chamonix.
  • Lunches, extra drinks, snacks etc during the course
  • Insurance
Sture doing a fast ascent as he is up at the shoulder in the early morning light. Good training pays off! Magnificent Swiss Alpine skyline to the north with the Weisshorn as the main peak on the right

Latest Matterhorn Conditions

Please check the comments boxes below for any recent reports from the Matterhorn. If you have been on the Mountain yourself recently please send us a conditions report so we can add it here….

29 September 2018, Dry Autumn Conditions Continue & Teams Climbing Via Hornli Hut Winter Room

Very little late summer precipitation and plenty of early autumn sunshine has given dry conditions on the Matterhorn and good dry scrambling conditions on the Hornli Ridge, with various teams climbing from the winter room at the Hornli Hut.  Presumably the summit snow fields will be getting a bit icy by now, although there should be a decent track!

Dry & Sunny Early Autumn Conditions On The Hornli Ridge, Matterhorn.

14 September 2018, Warm & Dry Late Summer Conditiosn Continue + Ridges In A Day!?

Another good late season ascent from Alberto in the continuing warm and dry weather and they were surprised and impressed to be have a ‘fly-by’ from Andreas Steindl and Francois Cazzanelli engrossed in their 4 ridges in a day climb.  Starting from the Hornli at 0220, this was their programme:

02:20 in the Hörnlihut to climb first Hörnli ridge up and down, then the Furggen ridge up and Hörnli down, third was the Zmutt ridge up and the Italian Lion ridge down to climb it up again and finaly the third time the Hörnli ridge down to reach the Hörnlihut after 16h 04min and 4800 vertical meters.

Impressive!

9 September 2018, Good late summer conditions on the Hornli Ridge

Great late summer conditions for an enjoyable ascent of the Hornli Ridge with the warm weather and winds burning off recent snow and giving relatively dry conditions to the shoulder and then decent snow conditions up the fixed ropes and on to the summit snow field.  A nice stiff snow track along the summit crest with numerous teams arriving on the Italian summit also.

Matterhorn Hornli Ridge / East & North Face conditions, September 9th 2018

6 July 2018, Wet & Grey Today In Zermatt But Decent Conditions In General On The Matterhorn.

After a very snowy start to the season, the last 2 to nearly 3 weeks of warm and sunny weather has stripped the Hornli Ridge back to mainly normal summer rocky conditions up to the Shoulder, and teams have been climbing the route this week, although it was not busy!  It’s a wet and grey morning in Zermatt today but the forecast is for pretty good weather from this afternoon through to Monday.  So it will be interesting to see how much fresh snow has fallen and thus how quickly it clears.  There are plenty of teams circling to try an ascent on Sunday!

3 October 2017, Early Autumn Matterhorn Training – Based In Zermatt…

After a snowy September the Matterhorn is well plastered in snow and now well past normal summer conditions.  That is not to say people are not trying to climb it!  We made the ascent up to even Hornli Hut in snowy conditions, with crampons for the steeper section of zig-zagging path below the hut.  The lower Hornli Ridge was well snowy but a team could be seen at around 3700 with a track leading up the mountain and various teams, mainly Russian, established in the Hornli Hut winter room.  The hut was in good tidy condition with beds and blankets and a ladder providing access to its elevated winter position!  We made a good traverse of the Breithorn before spending another stormy day walking back to Zermatt after an enjoyable early autumn night at Schwarzsee.

8 September 2017, 8 Out Of 12 To The Summit On Possibly The Last Day Of Season

Well done to team ‘QlueanAir’ who have been training for the last year, including doing 3 of our UK Matterhorn Training Courses and a Chamonix Matterhorn training programme as well.  It paid off this week as they climbed the Dent du Geant as part of the training and then 4 out of our 6 guests climbed the Hornli today.  The other 2 also did well in climbing both Pollux and the Breithorn half traverse.

Conditions are quite snowy at the moment with crampons on well below the Solvay Hut, however there were plenty of teams on the mountain and a good packed down track had formed which was stiff and frozen on the way up and stayed relatively firm for the descent.  It looks like big storms arriving tomorrow with fairly cool temperatures which could plaster the mountain in snow and effectively bring an end to the classic summer season.

24 August 2017, 4 More To The Summit Today

Ben & Sarah and Albi and Helen all summited today.  Sarah and Ben climbed from the Schwarzee Hotel adding another steady approach march to the already tough summit day, good job they are both fit as butchers dogs!  Decent conditions prevail albeit with more snow now on the section of the Hornli Ridge above the Solvay Hut (at 4000m) thus somewhat harder going than the classic high summer conditions of ‘crampons at the shoulder’.

4 August 2017, Good Summit Conditions On The Hornli Ridge

After some snowy weather high on the mountain in July, the upper snow field conditions have improved and the lower ridge remains in pleasant rocky condition.  Good swift ascent by Matt & Mike yesterday before descending for a relaxing night at Schwarzee Hotel to soak up the ambiance of the mountain, having just climbed it!

28 June 2017, Unusually Dry Start To The Season On The Hornli Ridge, Matterhon

A combination of a lean winter with low snowfall volume and now a warm late spring and hot start to summer have giving very dry early season conditions on the Hornli Ridge ascent.  Whilst dry is normally a good thing, the upper snow field has been left in poor condition with the stripped back snowfield revealing extensive loose rock.  Not a good place to be especially when busy.   Hopefully some summer snow storms will glue this upper section of the mountain back together whilst the lower rocky section will remain dry!

29th August 2016, Good Dry Conditions On The Hornli Ridge

The continued warm and sunny late summer weather has developed good high summer conditions on the Matterhorn and many teams are climbing via the Hornli Hut and Ridge. The ridge is pretty dry until the shoulder and crampons were required above that for some sections of hard ice above there, on the fixed ropes and upper snow / ice field. Warm sunny weather looks set to continue for a while yet with the odd afternoon thunderstorm.

12th August 2016, Snowy & Tough Conditions But Improving With Good Weather

The last 2 days have been characterised by cool & windy weather and snowy conditions on the Hornli Ridge. Many teams have turned around at the Solvay Hut in difficult and slow conditions with verglassed rock lower down and fresh snow remaining on the ledges higher up. Warm and sunny weather is forecast for the next few days which should help burn things off and bring the ridge back in to more normal summery conditions.

4th August 2016, Good Climbing Conditions On The Matterhorn

Delighted to hear that our 3rd team in 3 days has now also just summitted today – well done Alasdair and Mike, and Marc & Tomaz. Good conditions with both teams doing the aller retour up the Hornli Ridge and down before this evenings storms arrive. Tonight and tomorrow look stormy so the climb will be out of condition for a short while before the hot and sunny weather bring back good conditions by the look of it for later in the weekend and early next week.

Teams had also been climbing the Italian Ridge and reported good dry conditions on that – albeit very busy in the Carrel Bivi Hut. Again this will need a bit of good weather and sun to return the good conditions but it should not take long as we are in full gas mid summer sunshine conditions.

2nd August 2016, Hornli – Summit Aller Retour

After Alberto climbed the Italian Ridge a few days ago in very good dry conditions there has been some bad weather and some precipitation falling as snow high on the mountain. However today showed that the rocky sections were still in reasonable condition and crampons were not worn until near the shoulder.

28th June 2016, Snowy Early Summer Conditions Prevail – Hornli Hut to Open 1st July

30th September 2015, Too Snowy For The Hornli, Not Snowy Enough For The North Face Yet

Very fine autumnal weather meant this was a great time to be in the mountains above Zermatt. The Hornli Hut has been closed for nearly a couple of weeks now and the mountain is well snowy with plenty of snow below the hut. Both the North & East faces of the mountain look well plastered and few teams, if any were even attempting the mountain. Even more snow is forecast over the weekend and in to next week so this may help to build the icy mixed climbing conditions required for the North Face.

8 September 2015, Excellent Snowy Conditions On The Hornli Ridge

The trickier rock pitches around the Solvay were dry & sunny and thus not any harder than usual but various other dry looser sections worked well with the additional snow cover. The ascent up the easy and normally dry / loose / rocky slabs to the shoulder was a quick & simple snow track for example.

The hut is full tonight for what may prove to be the last summit day of the season tomorrow as more fresh snow arrives after that and could put the mountain in to tough & difficult snowy autumnal conditions although that will of course help to build & improve snow & ice conditions on the North Face!

1st September 2015, Snowy & Good Yesterday, Snowy & Poor Today!

A very busy day on the mountain yesterday with many teams sensing this may be one of the last fine summit days before the arrival of Autumn. Many teams made the ascent to the summit including some of our teams whilst others turned around at the Solvay Hut and Shoulder due to tiredness and a slower pace. Conditions & weather were fine although it’s quite snowy with patches around the Hornli Hut and crampons worn from well below the Solvay.

With the poor weather this morning there will be a lot more snow on the mountains and this will certainly take a while to clear with cooler and showery weather over the next few days. Looking warm & sunny in to early next week so there may still be some summit days before the hut closes around the 20th September. We used Schwarzee as a base camp instead of the Hornli Hut which made a nice change and is a great spot but climbers need to be even fitter to go from here with the extra 2 hours or so of walking to reach the Hornli Hut.

7th August 2015 – Good Dry Conditions On The Hornli Ridge

An 0420 departure from the Hornli Hut this morning gave a quick 0430 departure from the base of the fixed ropes. We did not want to quite hold the blistering pace of the front Zermatt Guides but made good steady progress nonetheless and enjoyed the view of sun rising over the Alphubel from the Solvay Hut at 4000m after 1hr 45mins of climbing. Crampons were worn from the base of the fixed rope for the odd snow patch on the north face and then a decent snowy / icy track on the upper fixed ropes and over the roof to the summit. The mountain remains in very dry conditions with only patches of snow on the summit ridge. However the snow last Saturday has coated much of the loose debris on the summit snow fields and thus improved the situation there with regard to loose rock & stone fall. A very enjoyable ascent topped off with a 10/10 Rosti on the terrace outside the flash new Hornli Hut!

30 July 2015 – Very Dry & Swift Matterhorn Conditions

10 July 2015, Matterhorn Conditions

In contrast to the difficulties of summer 2014 on the Matterhorn, this year has started well. Last summer we had considerable early season snow covering the rocks that never melted in the cool and very wet weather of July & August. This year we had quite a snowy start but the very hot sustained weather in late June and early July has cleared things well and the mountain is now getting climbed, in good conditions, from the flash new hut Hornli Hut on the Zermatt / Swiss side of the mountain. Good timing as there will be lots of ascents in the build up to the 150th anniversary of the 1st ascent on the 14th July (although the mountain is technically ‘closed’ on that date as a mark of respect to those killed during the first descent of the mountain).

Summer 2013 Climb the Matterhorn – Expenses Details

Here is a rough breakdown of costs for a 2 day climb the Matterhorn trip from Tasch / Zermatt:

All prices in CHF Swiss Francs

– 16, Return train trip from Tasch to Zermatt
– 28, Parking at Tasch train station for 2 days
– 24.50, Guides return lift from Zermatt to Schwarzee
– 32, Zermatt – Schwarzee
– 75, dinner, bed & breakfast per person at the Hornli Hut (no discount for Guides as this is a private hut – not CAS)

5th September 2013, Perfect Late Summer Conditions on the Matterhorn Hornli Ridge

Great conditions continue on the Matterhorn with dry rock for scrambling and a great snowy track on the summit snow slopes. The Hornli Hut had 80 people in it yesterday – full at the currently reduced capacity due to building works. However in the perfect conditions and fantastic weather the teams soon spread out with the very fast parties climbing the mountain in less than 6 hours.

Our return trip from the hut was just over 8 hours whilst many teams took a lot longer – fine as it turned out with no afternoon / evening thunderstorm.

Renovations at the Hornli Hut will now continue until July 2015 when the hut will fully reopen. In the meantime other strategies for climbing the Matterhorn including using the nice hotel at Schwarzee, camping near the hut, bivvying on the ridge itself or climbing from the Italian side via the Carrel Hut.

23rd August 2013, Continuing Excellent Conditions on the Matterhorn

Dry rock up to the shoulder and good snow conditions on the summit snow fields mean teams are still enjoying great conditions on the Matterhorn.

We did not make the summit today due to David’s tired legs on the sustained scrambling ground but there was still a great ambiance on the mountain with a very bright full moon and only 20 odd teams climbing.

It was great to see Jamie Andrew moving strongly and still smiling after 15 hours on the go on the Hornli Ridge yesterday.

Snow down to well below hut level this weekend will most likely put the mountain out of good condition for a few days.

19th September 2012, Matterhorn’s Hornli Ridge in Good Condition as the Hut Closes

Recent snow storms deposited less fresh snow in the Swiss Valais than in the Chamoix Valley. Subsequently the last few days of warm sunny weather have brought the mountain back in to good, normal summer, conditions and there were quite a few teams enjoying the last night of the season in the hut to make the most of them.

Conditions were good on the ridge, dry right up to the start of the main fixed ropes. The ice field had benefited from a recent top up and the decent conditions that have prevailed for most of the season continue. Conditions will remain good over the next day or so whilst the weather remains stable but only the winter room will be open at the hut. Check with the Zermatt Guides Bureau for more details.

Our Matterhorn courses are already filling up for summer 2013 so get in touch to arrange your tailor made programme soon, Rob.

21/08/12 Near Perfect Conditions on Both the Matterhorn’s Hornli & Italian Ridges

Despite warm, heavy showers the previous evening conditions on the Hornli Ridge this morning were near perfect. A small amount of verglass and graupel was encountered on the rocks just below the shoulder but by then it was time to put crampons on anyway and this had all disappeared with just a little warming from the sun for our descent. Plenty of teams climbed the mountain from both the Hornli and Carrel Huts and very good conditions were also reported on the Lion / Italian Ridge. The upper snow / ice field on the Hornli route currently has a good track in firm snow ice and with pleasant warm dry rock lower down conditions are good for a fast ascent. We climbed up in 4 hours and descended in 4 hours to make a satisfying round trip and make it back to the Hornli Hutte for lunch.