The Matterhorn

Switzerland (14,687ft/4,478m)

Matterhorn Frequently Asked Questions

What is the skill level of this climb?
This climb is for advance climbers and need prior climbing experience on alpine rock terrain. Climbers should be able to climb up to 5.7 in boots. We strong recommend a Matterhorn Prep program or some sort of training that helps climbers specializes in preparing them for this summit climb. Some combination of the two may suffice so please contact the office with questions.

What is the physical conditioning level needed for this climb?
Excellent physical condition. It is a very demanding summit day and the pre-climbs are also demanding.

Any tips on how a climber can maximize their chances of success?
Along with the required crampon skills and previous mountaineering experience, we strong encourage climbers to have previous alpine rock climbs. Routes, like Fischer Chimney on Mt Shuskan, Forbidden Peak, and alpine rock routes in WA Pass are great training climbs. In addition practicing rock climbing ability at a rock gym and greatly help out climbers.

Who is the guiding team composed of (How many guides? Climber to guide ratio?)
Jonathon Spitzer is our lead guide and alps program director. He and his team of guides will work with you on the summit. The Matterhorn summit climb is guided at a 1:1 ratio, the previous four days of training is guided at a 2:1 ratio.

What is the best season to climb / which dates will have the most chance for success?
July and August are the best times to climb The Matterhorn.

How many climbers are on this expedition?
Generally, our maximum for this climb is 7 climbers plus guides.

Will I be sharing a tent or lodging with other climbers?
Lodging for this expedition is in hotels, lodges or hut structures while on the mountain. You will share rooms on this expedition but you may pay a higher fee for single rooms while in the cities.

How much will my pack weigh?
On summit climbers carry approximately 15-20 pounds but we suggest you train with more

What gear will I need?
Please review the gear list.

How does your gear rental system work?
Those requesting rental gear must submit an expedition rental form with payment by fax or mail. All rental gear will be mailed to the climber prior to the climb. Climbers are expected to clean all rental gear and return it to us by mail following the expedition.

Any further advice on gear and using your gear list?
While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions). The gear lists are created by the guides to assist in having climbers be prepared to summit in any conditions.

While it is impossible for us to list all brands for certain gear, we do offer a wide variety of equipment in our Gear Shop, that has been hand-picked by our staff of mountaineering experts. Please feel free to call our offices with any gear questions or substitutes. Plastic boots are required for this climb.

How is drinking water treated?
We purchase bottled water prior to camps on the mountain. Once on the mountain drinking water is boiled when necessary.

What will the meals on the expedition be like?
Dinners are typically comprised of soup, cheese, bread, a meat dish served with a grain and dessert. The huts can accommodate vegetarians. A typical French breakfast of bread & jam is served in the morning with coffee and tea.

Can I bring some food from home?
You may bring power bars, Gu, or similar high energy foods. All meals will be provided on this climb.

Are there any innoculation requirements?
No requirements at this time

What is the best air route to my destination?
There are many routes through Europe to Zurich

When should I book my flight? Do I need to use your Travel Agent?
Fares are generally less expensive when booked early. You may use our Travel Agent (Charles Mulvehill 1-800-727-2157) or book flights yourself. Please note that flights booked online are often difficult to change. Please send us a copy of your flight schedule as early as possible as this allows us to book pick ups and hotels.

What time should I arrive and leave and where do I meet the guides?
The Hotel is located less than 1 block from the train station in Zermatt. Your guide will meet you at 7am on the morning of Day 3.

What if I arrive early or depart late? Can you arrange extra night lodging? Is there a single room option for this expedition?

We are happy to make arrangements such as personalized tours, extra hotels rooms, airport pick ups and arrange for private rooms. Please indicate that you would like a private room on your application and we will contact you with information on single room supplement costs (for hotels only).

Are there any entry or Visa requirements?
No visas are required for US citizens

Is there any communication while we are on the mountain?
Cell phone service works in Zermatt and around some of the mountain huts.

Where can I get more information on history, books, and additional activities in the region?
Switzerland has an amazing history and is vast. There are a few books on The Matterhorn and the region. Check the reading list page of the web site.

Can I contact the others on the climb? How about the guide?
You can always call our offices and one of the guides will contact you, generally about 1 month before your trip departure. 30 days prior to departure, we mail a list of other team members to you. You can email Jonathon Spitzer at if you wish to contact him directly

How much should I budget for this expedition? How much cash should I plan to bring?
$500 should easily cover any extra expenses and tips. Most climbers prefer to bring about $1000 and have credit cards.

How much should I tip my guide and staff?
$150 total is the suggested tips for all Swiss guides and you may have some perfunctory tips at hotels and at time of transport. Tipping is not required but a common practice.

How do I register for this expedition?
You may call our offices with a credit card or mail/fax an application with a check or credit card number.

What paperwork do I need to send in?
Each climber should submit an application and flight information.

When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you except?
We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, personal checks and Alpine Ascents gift certificates. To reserve a space the deposit is $700.00 and balances are due 120 days prior to departure. Unpaid balances can result in forfeiture of trip.

What is your cancellation policy? What is your refund policy?
Matterhorn Cancellation/Refund Policy
Note: Alpine Ascents International highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions. Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Alpine Ascents International must adhere to a stringent refund policy.

• Each deposit, regardless of amount, includes a $200.00 non-refundable registration fee.
• All balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified.
• Full refunds, less registration fee, will be provided 120 days or more prior to the expedition date.
• 50% refunds will be provided 90-119 days prior to expedition date.
• No refunds will be provided 89-days prior to the expedition date.
All refund requests must be made in writing and be received in our office within the deadlines stated above.
• Participants whose balances are not received by the 120th day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their place on the expedition.

Note: Alpine Ascents reserves the right to waive any fees. As we offer personalized service, we will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible.

What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?
We can arrange early departure if need be.

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