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The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn

As the most recognized mountain on the European continent, the roughly chiseled rock pyramid of the Matterhorn serves as a defining geographical landmark. With a near perfect pyramid, its absolute symmetry demarcates the exquisite nature of this beautiful mountain. Nestled in the Swiss Alps, birthplace of climbing, an ascent of the Matterhorn hearkens back to the purist traditions of climbing. The Matterhorn, which stands over the town of Zermatt, is nearly steeple-like in both structure and magnetism. The region nearby is comprised of lush meadows and pristine landscapes. The combination of scenic beauty, superb lodging and the ability to challenge oneself by day and live in luxury by night, makes climbing in Switzerland a rather comfortable alpine experience.

In preparation for the ascent of the Matterhorn we do four days of prior climbing to help review skills, and acclimate. Climbing both the Polux and Breithorn and excellent challenging 4000m peaks that tower above Zermatt. The two days of rock climbing help climbers gain the last minute skills and knowledge before climbing the Matterhorn.

This unique opportunity to climb in one of the most famous climbing regions in the world is unrivaled in excellence and quality. Climbs in previous years have enjoyed 100% summit success. 2015 had great success with 9 out of 11 climbers reaching the summit.

Highlights

  • World-renowned iconic peak
  • We provide an all-inclusive trip (hotels, trams, lifts, etc.), making our prices highly competitive
  • Includes four nights in Swiss/Italian huts with breakfast and dinner
  • Includes Eight tram/lifts, and local train fees in Switzerland
  • Pre-climb training on two peaks over 4,000m and two days of rock climbing training.
  • Fully certified IFMGA mountain guides
  • All hotels included during the trip (five nights of lodging in downtown Zermatt)
  • 1:1 climber-to-guide ratio on Matterhorn portion
  • Ten-day program
  • Alpine Ascents logo item

We wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our second Matterhorn trip. The reason we returned to the Alps with AAI was because we think so highly of Jonathon Spitzer, Lee Lazzara and the rest of the team. We know Jonathon works hard behind the scenes to ensure that the trips are executed flawlessly. We want to make sure he knows that his attention to detail doesn’t go unnoticed. Even when things didn’t go as planned last year because of weather, Jonathon showed grace under fire. Jonathon and Lee lived up to their reputations again this year. As always, they were safe, professional, knowledgeable and patient. Because of these qualities, we will continue to book trips through AAI with this team of guides. We plan on signing up for another trip as soon as your 2016 schedule opens. Jonathan and Lee are wonderful assets to your organization.

The Matterhorn is a technical alpine rock and snow/ice climb. This climb requires climbers to have previous experience rock climbing (5.7 grade) in boots and being comfortable climbing on steep firm snow and ice. Along with the technical level, summit day on the Matterhorn is an extremely physical day requiring climbers to be in excellent physical condition. Prior climbs like, Rainier, Denali, and the Ecuador Volcanoes are good experience for the snow and ice portions. Climbers will also need to have Alpine Rock experience to be accepted to this program. We offer a Matterhorn Prep Rock Course.

History

Lodged in the Pennine Alps along the Swiss-Italian border, the Matterhorn’s history dates back to the Whymper team ascent in 1865. The climbing accomplishments continue into modern day with such achievements as Swiss Guides Arnold and Graven completing two complete traverses, covering all four ridges in 19½ hours. In 1995, B. Brunod set the record for the fastest ascent reaching the summit in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 29 seconds from the village of Cervinia. Other notable ascents include the first woman, Lucy Walker (British) in 1871, first ascent of the North Face in by F. and T. Schmid in 1931 and W. Bonatti’s a solo winter ascent on a new direct route of the North Face in 1965.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.

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 hotel

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 alps@alpineascents.com 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?

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.

Environmental Responsibility

Alpine Ascents is deeply committed to maintaining ecosystems at home and around the world. With each expedition, trek and course, we not only attempt to leave the environment as we found it, but strive to assist the local population in protecting the land and people indigenous to that region. Alpine Ascents reaches for the highest ethical business practices at home and abroad. Each staff member is dedicated to environmentally sound alpine ascents.

At Alpine Ascents environmental stewardship remains one of our core values and we take Leave No Trace ethics and practices very seriously. The mountains are our home and we are unwilling to sacrifice their preservation for human objectives. On every one of our courses and climbs we teach and follow the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices.

Over the years, with the assistance of our Sherpa teams, we have stepped up efforts to clean Mt. Everest. Our Wag Bag® program made a pioneering step in human waste management for the National Park System and Forest Service in the North Cascades. On Aconcagua, we pioneered a waste removal system on our climbs, utilizing the WAG Bag® system. And we continue our on-going maintenance and minimal impact plans wherever we guide. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally conscious mountaineers.

We wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our second Matterhorn trip. The reason we returned to the Alps with AAI was because we think so highly of Jonathon Spitzer, Lee Lazzara and the rest of the team. We know Jonathon works hard behind the scenes to ensure that the trips are executed flawlessly. We want to make sure he knows that his attention to detail doesn’t go unnoticed.

Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
Copyright © 2016 Alpine Ascents International. All rights reserved.