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The Matterhorn Testimonials

I can’t say enough positive things about my experience. We did not get to summit (weather conditions prevented us from attempting it) but I consider the trip a great success.
Most important to my feeling the trip was a success is Jonathon Spitzer. He has the right blend of leadership, knowledge, encouragement, and a sense of humor that made the trip a learning experience and alot of fun. Jonathon is obviously an accomplished mountaineer but, in addition, he knows so much about the mountaineering culture in Zermatt that I felt very much at ease traveling around those areas with him and the other guides. The hut culture is also something I had no awareness of, and Jonathon, with his unique blend of seriousness and humor, taught us about this.

The other two guides, Eric and Dylan, were also top notch. And I felt a genuine camaraderie among the three of them which made the trip all that much more enjoyable. All of us on the trip had many questions and any of the guides would be able to give us very thoughtful answers; and if their opinions deviated, they would explain why. From gear, to food, to weather reports, to particulars with Zermatt guides….any question. Plus, they are all very encouraging and offer suggestions to problems and provide distractions when the going gets tough. They are all great conversationalists — there is, after all, a lot of time spent together hiking and talking. It was a true pleasure to climb with any three of them.

I had no misgivings about doing what any three of the guides told me to do. They are not arrogant or preachy. Just very sincere in sharing their deep knowledge of the mountain and the culture around the mountain. It is very evident that all of the guides are really pulling for us to summit. The fact that weather shut down our attempts seemed to be a disappointment for them, not just us. But safety first! None of us ever doubted any of the guides’ decisions.

The prep in advance of attempting the Matterhorn was rigorous but made sense and built confidence. There is no way to know what the Matterhorn will be like but our various climbs and especially the Weissmies summit simulated it as much as possible. The scenery was spectacular, too, and we got to sample a bit of what is available in the Alps. We ended the trip with the Gorner Gorge via ferrata which was amazing and a great way to do something fun and easy off of the Matterhorn.

I have written a lot about the climb but prior to the climb, I have to praise Jonathon for being so on-the-ball and responsive. Really remarkable how quickly he answers on email and how thorough his responses are.

Which leads me to comment on the logistics of the trip…all very well handled and carefully thought through. From early check-ins, to showers before heading to the airport, to having time to buy snacks before the climb….all handled exceptionally. And Jonathon was very flexible to make changes in plans if needed. The huts are terrific. The hotel in Zermatt was good — the rooms are a bit small with the big duffel bags I had but very clean and serviceable and the staff were friendly and accommodating. The guides are 100% spot on regarding gear and clothing and snacks. Do not deviate from the recommended packing list! And if Jonathon says 10 snacks, get 10 snacks. Seriously.

On the topic of gear and clothing, Matt Miller was extremely helpful in picking out gear and telling me what features were important and why. Matt answered all of my questions thoroughly and quickly, and he was really great about swapping out a pair of gloves right before I left for the Matterhorn. It is very helpful to have the gear department know exactly what the guides require and why.

My final comment will hopefully illustrate how highly I thought of Jonathon and the rest of the guiding team and of Matt Miller and of Alpine Ascents in general (shout out to Chris Thalman). From my experience on the Matterhorn trip, I think Alpine Ascents is represented by serious professionals who know what they’re doing, take no risks, and have fun all at the same time. I can’t imagine climbing a mountain with any other professional guiding company. In fact, I am returning to Matterhorn in July 2018 on a private guided trip this time. Hopefully to summit but I know it will be fulfilling regardless.
Highly highly recommend!!!!

2017 Climber

Jonathon is an excellent organizer, guide and teacher. The entire trip went smoothly. Even though we didn’t summit on our first try, the guides took us up almost a quarter of the way up the Matterhorn so we could get some practice. The guides were encouraging and fun. I found that short climb to be very helpful for summit day.

I liked leaving the Zermatt area to go to Saas Valley. I really enjoyed the climb up the Weissmies. I was fortunate as the other climbers were fun and easy to be with. I have climbed with other expedition companies but I always return to Alpine Ascents. I like the guides and the inclusive aspect of the trips. I like spending a few days before the objective practicing and gaining confidence. Even if I don’t summit the trips are great. I have climbed with Jonathon before and I feel confident when he is in charge.

On the first day of the climb we were practicing climbing in our boots. One of the climbs seemed especially challenging to me but Jonathon encouraged me to try it and offered suggestions on how to do the moves. I actually made it to the top! I climbed with Pat on the Dri Hornli ridge. There were two moves that looked hard to me and Pat demonstrated them and I was able to do them as he did. That inspired a lot of confidence in me. I also know that Jonathon and Pat have years and years of experience so I trust what they say. When the Matterhorn was too icy and snowy for us to climb I didn’t even question it, I knew they had the experience to make the appropriate call.

I had a great trip. Even if I hadn’t been able to summit I would sign up again in a minute. I am now considering the Eiger.
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 felt very safe on the mountain and the entire summit day was wonderful! Thank you again Jonathon.

Kristy

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.

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 felt very safe on the mountain and the entire summit day was wonderful! Thank you again Jonathon.

Our climb, lodging and food, in-country training, Beni and other Swiss guides, Zermatt and Switzerland exceeded expectations.

Ben H.

While I loved each and every expedition with Alpine Ascents, the Matterhorn expedition was superb. Our guide was a true leader and gifted climber. He went out of his way to increase our skill, confidence and sense of achievement.

Jim B.

The expedition to the Matterhorn was my second trip with Alpine Ascents, and it more than lived up to my expectations. The guides were excellent, the climbing was fantastic. This was an excellent trip that only served to further Alpine Ascents standards.

Adam P.

This is a very strong program. The food was excellent. On the climbing side, the guides were excellent. Everything was well organized. Equipment, transportation, etc. were never a problem. I can’t think of any weakness or criticisms.

Robert S.

This is a note to let you know what my experience was in Zermatt and with Johnathon and Hans. I would like to say that I have done climbing numerous peaks over the last 25 years. I have used guides a number of times and have never experienced the quality of the guides Johnathon, Hans, and Cece. They are all personable, and make the experience a lot of fun. They are all also a wealth of knowledge and are willing to evaluate and teach you to improve your weaknesses. –

Here is my evaluation. I can’t say enough good things about this trip and the guides. Just when I think climbing with Alpine Ascents can’t get better, it does. This was the trip of a lifetime. Words cannot describe the quality of this trip. It far exceeded any expectations I could have even put on it. It was the most amazing experience of my life. The quality of the trip was due 100% to the guides who led it and I could never say enough about them or thank them enough for all the effort they put into it. Alpine is lucky to have these amazing guides working for them and I was lucky to get a chance to climb with them. I can’t say enough positive things about the leadership skills of the guides on this trip. The trip was well thought out and organized with options in case of weather and extra summit days. When the question of safety came up on the first summit day the guides were very careful in their thought process and collaborated to make the right decision to wait the day out and summit the following day. Their leadership skills are among the best I have ever seen in my lifetime (not just in guiding mountains). Both Jonathan and Dylan were extremely good at passing all their experience and knowledge on in all the situations that arose. You could approach them one on one and ask specific questions on gear, physical stamina, concerns, and questions. They also always offered their assistance which made you feel comfortable to approach them when you needed to. They also always offered different ways to tackle problems to cater to individuals strengths during the climbs without us even having to ask a question. I also wanted to make a note of my summit guide, Eric Larson. He was amazing at guiding me up the mountain to the standard I wanted to be guided and made me feel safe and comfortable in all the situations that arose during the ascent and descent, offering me guidance when needed.

The guides on this trip have been my favorite that I have climbed with and plan on climbing with them in the future. I would climb anything with any of the guides. They are exactly the type of people I would want to guide me and also the type of people I would want to be friends with. And after the trip I consider them my friends. Both Dylan and Jonathan (also Lee and Eric) immediately make you feel comfortable and you trust them and their decisions right away. Their personalities are unmatchable and it made the trip unforgettable with laughing, nicknames, and games along with the climbing. I honestly have to say there are no weaknesses in this program. I was so impressed with the logistics, guides, and alternatives. Jonathan, Dylan, Lee and Eric are absolutely amazing guides and people. As we spent most of the trip with Jonathan and Dylan I wanted to reiterate how great these 2 were. They worked extremely well together and made you feel safe and comfortable. World class doesn’t even begin to do justice in describing them. I thank them for making the trip so memorable and can’t wait to climb with them again.

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