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. Both the Polux and Breithorn are excellent, challenging, 4,000 m peaks that tower above Zermatt. Two days of advance rock climbing helps climbers gain 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 a great success rate, with 9 out of 11 climbers reaching the summit.
- 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 trams/lifts and local train fees in Switzerland
- Pre-climb training on two peaks over 4,000 m 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, snow, and 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 extremely physical, 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.
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’s completion of two complete traverses, covering all four ridges in 19.5 hours. In 1995, B. Brunod set the record for the fastest ascent, reaching the summit in two hours, 12 minutes, and 29 seconds from the village of Cervinia. Other notable ascents include the first woman, Lucy Walker (British) in 1871, the first ascent of the north face by F. and T. Schmid in 1931, and W. Bonatti’s solo winter ascent on a new direct route of the north face in 1965.
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
This climb is for advances climbers and requires prior climbing experience on alpine rock terrain. Climbers should be able to climb up to 5.7 in boots. We strongly recommend a Matterhorn Prep program or some sort of training that helps climbers prepare for this summit climb. Some combination of the two may suffice so please contact the office with questions.
Excellent physical condition. It is a very demanding summit day and the pre-climbs are also demanding.
Along with the required crampon skills and previous mountaineering experience, we strongly encourage climbers to have previous alpine rock climbs. Routes such as Fischer Chimneys on Mt. Shuskan, Forbidden Peak, and alpine rock routes in Washington Pass are great training climbs. In addition, practicing rock climbing at a rock gym will greatly help out climbers.
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.
July and August are the best times to climb the Matterhorn.
Generally, our maximum for this climb is seven climbers, plus guides.
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.
On summit day, climbers carry approximately 15–20 lbs., but we suggest you train with more.
Please review the Gear List.
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.
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 handpicked 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.
We purchase bottled water prior to camps on the mountain. Once on the mountain we will boil water prior to drinking, when necessary.
Dinners are typically composed of soup, cheese, bread, a meat dish served with a grain, and dessert. The huts can accommodate vegetarians. A typical French breakfast of bread and jam is served in the morning with coffee and tea.
You may bring power bars, Gu, or similar high-energy foods. All meals will be provided on this climb.
No requirements at this time.
There are many routes through Europe to Zurich.
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.
The hotel is located less than one block from the train station in Zermatt. Your guide will meet you at 7 a.m. on the morning of Day 3.
We are happy to make arrangements such as personalized tours, extra hotels rooms, airport pickups, and private rooms. Please indicate that you would like a private room on your application and we will contact you with information on single-room supplemental costs (for hotels only).
No visas are required for US citizens.
Cell phone service works in Zermatt and around some of the mountain huts.
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 website.
You can always call our offices and one of the guides will contact you, generally about one month before your trip departure. Thirty days prior to departure, we mail a list of other team members to you. You can email Jonathon Spitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to contact him directly.
About $500 should easily cover any extra expenses and tips. Most climbers prefer to bring about $1,000 and have credit cards.
We suggest $150 total for tipping 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.
You may call our offices with a credit card or mail/fax an application with a check or credit card number.
Each climber should submit an application and flight information.
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.
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 nonrefundable 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.
- Refunds of 50% 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.
We can arrange early departure if need be.
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.
I enjoyed it immensely. I came back equal parts exhausted and elated, which is pretty much a perfect result for an adventure of this sort. Everybody in the group summited on the same day. Our team’s interpersonal chemistry was especially warm and supportive, even though we had not climbed together before