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Matterhorn Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Geneva or Zurich. Use the phenomenal Swiss train system to travel to Zermatt. Plan on 4–4.5 hours from the airport to arrive in Zermatt. All climbers coming from Geneva or Zurich will need to change trains in Visp to get to Zermatt. Spend the night in hotel.

    Zermatt altitude: 1,608 m/5,275 ft.
    Travel time climbing: 4–4.5 hours from airport to Zermatt.

Day 2

Meet at 7:00 a.m. in the lobby of the hotel in Zermatt. We will spend this day reviewing and practicing our rock climbing skills in our mountain boots at an alpine rock-climbing cliff above Zermatt, near Fluhalpe, at 2,600 m. We will climb several routes and work on our movement skills during the day. We will also review and practice techniques for descending technical rock. Climbers should have practice climbing alpine rock in their boots. We will practice: climbing, down-climbing, lowering, belaying, and movement skills. We will spend the night in Zermatt.

    Zermatt altitude: 1,608 m/5,275 ft.
    Fluhalpe rock climbing area: 2,600 m/8,530 ft.
    Vertical gain during the day: 992 m/3,254 ft.
    Vertical gain climbing: 150 m/492 ft.
    Travel time climbing: 30 minutes to walk to the base of the cliff from the tram station. We will spend around six hours working on technical terrain, up to 5.7, in mountaineering boots.

Day 3

We will depart Zermatt early in the morning and head over to the Saas-Almageller Valley for the next two nights. Riding in a private taxi for 45 minutes, we will reach the trail head of the Almageller Valley. We will walk 3–3.5 hours up to the Almageller Hütte (2,900 m). After lunch at the hut we will continue on our technical climbing training on the Dri Hornli traverse. This is a technical alpine rock traverse above the hut that allows us to continue to work on our movement skills while acclimating. We will spend the night at the Almageller Hütte (3,420 m).

    Zermatt altitude: 1,608 m/5,275 ft.
    Almageller Trailhead: 1,900 m/6,233 ft.
    Summit Dri Hornli: 3,050 m/10,006 ft.
    Almageller Hut: 2,900 m/9,514 ft.
    Vertical gain during the day: 1,050 m/3,444 ft.
    Travel time climbing: 3–3.5 hours to reach the Almageller Hütte. 3–4 hours to climb Dri Hornli round trip back to hut.

Day 4

We will wake up early and leave the hut to climb the Weissmies (4,017 m). This summit climb will help prepare us for the Matterhorn. We will climb the southeast ridge of the Weissmies, which involves technical alpine rock climbing. The final summit ridge is on steep snow with amazing views of the Swiss Alps. We will then descend back the down the ridge, working on our down-climbing and descending skills.

    Summit of Weissmies: 4,017 m/13,179 ft.
    Almageller Hut: 2,900 m/9,514 ft.
    Vertical gain during the day: 1,1170 m/3,658 ft.
    Travel time climbing: 6.5–7.5 hours from the hut to the summit, round-trip.

Day 5

After having a great breakfast at the Almageller Hut, we will descend back to Sass Almageller Valley and take a taxi back to Zermatt. After lunch in town, we will sort out what equipment we need to take for the Matterhorn and then pack our climbing packs. We will spend the night at a hotel in Zermatt.

    Gandegghutte altitude: 2,900 m/9,514 ft.
    Zermatt: 1,608 m/5,275 ft.
    Travel time climbing (descending): 3 hours back to Saas Almageller Valley from the hut. We will be back in Zermatt around lunchtime.

Day 6

Approaching the base of the Hornligrate Ridge, we will ride the Schwarzee lift to 2,575 m. From the top of the lift we travel by foot on a main hiking path to the Hornli Hütte 3,260 m. We will enjoy dinner and go to bed early in preparation of our ascent. In the afternoon, climbers and guides can possibly preview the lower section of the route, if conditions and time permit.

    Zermatt altitude: 1,608 m/5,275 ft.
    Top of Schwarzee lift: 2,575 m/8,448 ft.
    Hornli Hütte: 3,260 m/10,695 ft.
    Vertical gain during the day: 1,652 m/5,419 ft.
    Vertical gain climbing: 685 m/2,247 ft.
    Travel time climbing: 2.5–3 hours walking on a trail to the Hornli Hütte.

Day 7

Climb the Matterhorn via Hornligrate Ridge, which is just over 1,200 m (4,000 ft.). This is a technical ridge climb requiring a high level of physical energy and technical ability. The lower two-thirds of the route involve a rock climb and rock scramble. We will take our first long break at the historic Solvay emergency shelter (4,003 m). Climbers should plan on reaching this hut in 2–2.5 hours. With only 475 m until we reach the summit from the Solvay, the route steepens as we ascend the upper Mossey Slabs. The final 200 m of the Matterhorn is on steep snow and ice before reaching the final summit ridge. Our goal is to reach the summit in 4.5–5.5 hours and then reverse our path and descent to the Hornligrate Hut. We will take a long break at the hut before walking down to the Schwarzee Lift. We will spend the night at the Schwarzee Hotel (2,575 m) and have a wonderful celebration of our successful climb. Climbers should plan on an 8–12-hour day of intense high cardio physical exercise.

    Hornli Hütte altitude: 3,260 m/10,695 ft.
    Solvay Emergency Shelter: 4,003 m/13,133 ft.
    Summit of Matterhorn: 4,478 m/14,691 ft.
    Vertical gain during the day: 1,224 m/4,015 ft.
    Vertical gain climbing: 1,224 m/4,015 ft.
    Travel time climbing: 4.5–5.5 hours to the summit and around 4.5–5.5 hours to descend to the Hornligrate Hütte. Total climbing time is typically between 9–11 hours, with 1–1.5 hours walking to the Schwarzee Hotel.

Day 8

Weather day or possible extra summit day on the Matterhorn. Overnight in Zermatt.

Day 9

Depart Zermatt via train to Geneva or Zurich. When booking flights, climbers should be aware the train ride is 4–4.5 hours. The first train departs around 5 a.m. Fly back to country of origin.

*Guides might change the Itinerary due to weather and climbing conditions on the Matterhorn.

I want to commend Jonathon for running a great program and hiring fun, knowledgeable and professional guides. Jonathon also went out of his way to guide me again on Monday. He had to change his schedule completely and I am in his debt. He didn’t have to do that and I am so grateful. I […]


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