Here are the top 5 questions our guides get asked, and their answers. Submission by our Alps Director, Jonathon Spitzer.
How challenging is the Matterhorn to climb?
The Matterhorn is a technical alpine climbing objective that requires previous technical climbing experience. Climbers need to be comfortable climbing up to 5.7 in mountain boots and 50 degree snow/ice. Additionally, climbers need to be able to move comfortably and efficiently over 4th and low 5th class terrain. Summit day is over 4,000ft of technical climbing! The Matterhorn is extremely physically demanding and climbers need to be in excellent physical fitness.
When is the best time of year to climb the Matterhorn?
The climbing season on the Matterhorn is typically July 1st – September 20 with peak season being mid July to the end of August.
What is the best way to train for the Matterhorn?
To prepare for the Matterhorn we recommend following a sport specific training program that is tailored to the aerobic demands required to ascend the Matterhorn. We recommend the programs and coaching at Uphill Athlete. Before attempting the Matterhorn, we recommend taking an alpine rock climbing course followed by an ascent of a technical alpine objective such as Mount Shuksan via the Fisher Chimneys or the West Ridge of Forbidden Peak. Prior climbing experience moving over 4th and low 5th class terrain in mountain boots will also set you up for success. We also recommend practicing climbing at a rock gym to work on muscle movement and technique.
What kind of footwear should I use on the Matterhorn?
On the Matterhorn we use a ¾ shank boot or also known as technical alpine boot. These styles of boots are crampon compatible and have a flexible forefront to allow for climbing on technical rock. The semi-flexible sole allows for more precise footwork on rock, snow and ice. They’re more comfortable for approaches, and lighter weight in general. Here is a blog post that outlines all the different types of mountaineering boots.
How much will my pack weigh?
On summit day, climbers can leave any unnecessary items at the Hornli Hutte. Typically a climber’s pack will weight around 15-20lbs if they follow our gear list. We do suggest climbers train with more weight prior to the Matterhorn.