Summit Matterhorn via the Hörnligrat Route

Zermatt | Switzerland
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to train for and summit Matterhorn

  • Trip Highlight

    Acclimate, train and summit with a 1:1 climber-to-guide ratio

  • Trip Highlight

    No crevasse, seracs or avalanche hazards

  • Trip Highlight

    Technically the “easiest” route up the most difficult classic in the Alps

Perched above the Zermatt Valley, the imposing Matterhorn needs little introduction — at 4,478 m (14,692 feet), it is the most difficult classic in the Alps and probably the most easily recognised peak in the world. Lodged in the Pennine Alps on the border of Switzerland and Italy, this defining landmark is higher than the highest summit in the Lower 48. The summit is a life-defining experience and every aspiring alpinist’s life-long dream. Over 150 years of history have proved that the climb and descent over rocks and ice require maximum concentration from the first to the last step. Tactics, technical knowledge and outstanding fitness are a must-have to succeed, even on the technically “easiest” route via the Hörnligrat. Join Nino Guagliano and find out what it takes to navigate, climb and return victoriously from the mountain’s steep and unforgiving flanks.

Season

July through September

Nearest city

Chamonix, France is just over 2 hours away 

Duration

3 or 6 days

Skill level

High-advanced alpine climber

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your days

Acclimatization and Matterhorn Ascent with a Private Guide

3 days

During these 3 days, you will acclimate and summit Matterhon—an important milestone in every alpine climber’s life. The Hörnligrat route might be the easiest way to reach the peak, but with a 13-hour ascent and descent, it’s far from easy. Go back to the purist traditions of climbing and navigate the ridge safely and confidently under the watchful eyes of an experienced certified mountain guide. With a 1:1 climber-to-guide ratio, you will get undivided attention and get a chance to succeed in the endeavor every alpine climber dreams of!

Training, Acclimatization and Matterhorn Ascent with a Private Guide

6 days

As the most recognized mountain on the European continent, this climb is more than a physical challenge—it is also a journey of discovery. Proper training ensures you really enjoy the journey and focus on using your skills. Depending on your experience and mountain condition, your guide will customize for days in Chamonix to work on your skills before you head to Zermatt for the ascent of the epic peak! Acclimate to the high elevation by practicing your alpine skills on near-by objectives, such as the Riffelhorn and Brighthorn, and head to Matterhorn sure-footed and confident.

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Optional Training days in Chamonix

Depending on your skills and local weather conditions, your guide will prepare a customized individual-approach itinerary to prepare you for the Matterhorn ascent. These days in Chamonix will be a great opportunity to acclimate yourself to the high altitude, as well as a chance for the guide to see how sure-footed and prepared you are for the following climb. You will gain last-minute skills and knowledge from your experienced guide that will help you not only for this climb but your future climbing ventures.

Climbers training for the ascent in Swiss Alps Source: Guide (Webinar)

Day 1: Acclimatization in Zermatt

Once you arrive in Zermatt, check into your hotel room, meet with your guide to go over the itinerary and check your gear for the ascent. This is also your last chance to train for the climb with your guide. 

Accommodation: Hotel in Zermatt

Zermatt Village Typical Traditional Swiss Alps Wooden Houses in the center of Zermatt Village with illuminated Swiss National Flag in the foreground. Famous Matterhorn Mountain Peak under blue summer sky in the background. Zermatt, Valais Canton, Switzerland, Europe

Day 2: Approach and arrival at the Hornli Hut

Today, you will follow a hiking trail to the Hörnli Hut at 3,260 m/ 10,695 ft. The hut was built in 1880 and renovated in 2015, limiting the number of beds to 130. The climb to the hut takes about two hours. After dinner, discuss the schedule plan for the next day and control your equipment once again. You’ll stay here for the night, so hit the sack as tomorrow will be a very strenuous day.

Accommodation: Hornli Hut
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Hornli Hut, 3260 m Source: Guide (Webinar)

Day 3: Summit Day

Wake up at 4 am, and after breakfast, put on the climbing harness, hiking boots and helmet and head to your technical 1,200 m/ 3,940 ft ascent and a 1,200 m/ 3,940 ft descent. It will be difficult to find the correct path in the dark so it is very important to walk carefully—every misstep could start a rockslide. Halfway up the ridge, you will pass a small shelter called the Solvay refuge. After a total of 5 hours, you should reach the isolated peak at a fascinating 4,478 m/ 14,690 ft. The experience at the summit is unforgettable with breathtaking panoramas in every direction. Descend along the same route and after another 5 hours, you should be back at the Hornli Hut. Continue your way down to Zermatt, celebrate the successful summit and rest before making plans for your next adventure!

Meals: Breakfast

A scenic view of the Swiss Alps behind the alpine climber in full gear Source: Guide (Webinar)
Download rock climbing gear checklist
Prepare for the trip.
Check your inbox
Things to know

Things to know

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced Internationally Certified Mountain Guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • 3 or 6 days of training and alpine climbing depending on the itinerary 
    • Accommodation for the Matterhorn ascent 
      • 1 night in a hotel in Zermatt 
      • 1 night at the Hornli hut with communal bedrooms
    • 1 Breakfast, 1 dinner and 1 bottled water during the Matterhorn ascent
    • Accommodation and meals in Chamonix for the training and acclimatization before the ascent
    • All lifts 

What’s not included:

    • Transportation to and from Zermatt
    • Technical equipment (can be rented from the guide)
    • Dinner or day 1 during the ascent
    • Lunches during the ascent
    • Snacks and drinks

How fit do I need to be?

All alpine climbs are physically demanding but ascent and descent days on Matterhorn are long and extremely physically strenuous as summit day includes over 1,200 m/ 3,940 ft of technical climbing while you carry approximately 15–20 lbs/ 6-9 kg on your back. With complicated and demanding route finding and a technical ascent and descent, the summit day is not to be taken lightly.

Having a high base level of fitness is a must for climbing the Matterhorn in a 9-11 hours timeframe.  You have down from the climb in the early afternoon before the weather begins to change, as it so often does on this mountain.

This mountain takes a high level of aerobic conditioning as the first 1-2 hours is an all out sprint to get as high on the mountain as possible while moving through broken 4th class terrain.  The lower mountain is less difficult than the upper mountain, so it is imperative to move fast through this terrain.  Once you reach the Solvay hut at 4003 m/ 13130 ft (in no later than 2.5 hours), you will slow things down and begin climbing the steeper upper sections of the mountain.

Which skills and previous experience do I need?

Having experience in climbing with mountain boots up to 5.4,  with and without crampons,  on low angle rock and snow is a must. You will also need to have alpine rock experience to be accepted to this program. It’s important you’re agile and secure when scrambling on rock, ice and snow. If you lack any of these skills, we encourage you to book the 6-day training program and master these skills with a private guide before the ascent.

You need to be able to sustain physical effort and be in control (particularly down climbing) for 8-12 hours on Grade 3 or 4 scrambling terrain. Experience of using crampons is essential as well as the top third is often covered in snow. 

You can cover much of this during the training days but it is important to assess your fitness and ability, and take the necessary steps to come as prepared as possible.

Prior climbs like Rainier, Denali, and the Ecuador Volcanoes are a good experience for the snow and ice portions. Training that helps climbers prepare for this summit climb is strongly recommended.

How should I prepare for this adventure?

You need to be prepared for 9 to 12 hours of Grade 2 or 3 scrambling terrain so recommended additional training includes hiking for three days per week at least 12 weeks prior to your trip.Try to climb as many Grade 3 scrambles as possible to get comfortable with the terrain. During your training, you will need to progressively ramp up your hike time, distance, and elevation gain. On summit day, climbers carry approximately 15–20 lbs/ 6-9 kg but we suggest you train with more. Strength training for your lower body and core as well as aerobic and anaerobic training are highly recommended. 

What about acclimatization?

The best way to reach proper altitude acclimatisation and the required level of physical fitness is intensive training in the Zermatt area during the training days. It is very important to understand that this week is a high-level building on previous skills, not an introduction.  

At least three days before your trip, consume sufficient amounts of sodium and fluids. Participants should arrive with a healthy desire for enduring mountain conditions. There is a very real risk of Acute Mountain Sickness so a period of acclimatization (four or five days, including sleeping at altitude) is a minimum. Several days of training is a good way to acclimate. 

Is Matterhorn a dangerous summit?

 Since the first ascent, more than 500 people have died while climbing or descending the Matterhorn (an average of three to four per year). However, about 3000 people summit the Matterhorn successfully every year. There are no crevasse, serac or avalanche hazards on the Hörnli ridge, but the complicated route-finding, exposed climbing sections with a risk of falling, altitude, rock fall and length make it a significant challenge. The Hörnligrat is primarily gneiss, which means that the danger of sliding and falling rocks is great. For this reason, it is important to join an experienced and knowledgeable mountain guide.

If the guide determines that the client doesn’t have the minimum fitness or skill level required to climb Matterhorn safely, the guide can change the objective of the adventure.

What about required equipment?

Each item on the list below is required unless specified to be optional to ensure your safety and well-being. Weather and conditions can change quickly in the mountains so it’s best to be prepared for everything.

For this adventure, you’ll need:

    • Lightweight climbing helmet
    • Headlamp
    • Trekking poles
    • Crampons
    • Hybrid mountaineering ice axe (50-59 cm)
    • Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
    • Personal anchoring system
    • Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Non-insulated, fully waterproof shell jacket with a hood
    • Non-insulated, fully waterproof shell pants
    • Breathable but wind-and-weather resistant softshell jacket
    • Non-insulated softshell pants
    • Lightweight insulated jacket
    • Lightweight trekking pants
    • Lightweight fleece layer
    • Long-sleeved base layer top
    • Long base layer pants
    • Quick-dry athletic shorts
    • Expedition-weight bottoms
    • Travel clothes
    • Liner socks, hiker socks and warm socks
    • Leg gaiters
    • Running shoes (off-mountain use)
    • Approach shoes
    • Technical mountain boots that work with crampons
    • Fleece or wool hat
    • Sun hat
    • Balaclava and a buff
    • Neck gaiter
    • Lightweight synthetic liner gloves
    • Midweight, lightly insulated gloves
    • Leather climbing gloves (broken in)
    • An internal frame backpack (30-35 L)
    • Duffel bag (for gear not required on the trek)
    • Sleeping bag liner
    • Chemical hand and toe warmers
    • Glacier glasses and/or goggles
    • Water bottle or hydration pack
    • Plastic bowl, spoon and coffee mug
    • Energy bars, gels and Shot Bloks you can eat on-the-go
    • Pocket knife
    • Toiletries (hand sanitizer, blister kit, toilet paper, pee bottle, etc.)
    • Small personal First-Aid kit
    • Sunscreen (30+ SPF)
    • Lip balm (30+ SPF)
    • Camera — optional
    • Power-bank — optional

For in-depth advice on gear and technical equipment, your guide is happy to speak with you via phone or email. Your guide can rent some of the equipment upon request for an additional fee.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • This tour is organized on a 1:1 climber-to-guide ratio basis. If you are a party of 2 or more, let us know and we can make arrangements by adding additional guides to the party.
    • Additional days can be organized for groups of up to 4 climbers.
    • All costs are per person.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once you have been vetted and the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

    • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to one hundred twenty (120)  calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. 
    • For cancellations ninety (90) to one hundred nineteen(119)  calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
    • For cancellations seventy five (75) to eighty nine (89)  calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
    • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.

Getting there and meeting location

Most people fly into Zurich or Geneva and take the train directly from the airport to Zermatt or CHamonix. It takes about 3 and a half hours from Zurich-Kloten and 4 hours from Geneva-Cointrin Airport. Car-free Zermatt can also be reached by taxi or helicopter. Chamonix is under 2 hours away from Geneva by car.

A trip to Zermatt by automobile ends 5 km/ 3 miles away in Täsch and continues by shuttle train or by taxi to the resort at the foot of the Matterhorn. The Tasch-Zermatt trains are frequent (about every 15 minutes during the day) and run both early in the morning and late at night. 

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

Covid measures in Zermatt and Chamonix

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Zermatt, Chamonix and Matterhorn please refer to the Zermatt COVID-19 Information and Switzerland Federal Office of Public Health

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

View FAQ

Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding
Trip inquiry for
Your next adventure
Where would you like to go and what would you like to to?

Choose an adventure

Choose location*

When would you like to go on a trip?

Choose a date

Group size*

How can we contact you?

Full Name*

E-mail*

Phone number

Anything else we should know?

What else should we know before connecting you with the guide? (optional)

57hours trip inquiry fail
Sorry, something went wrong!

Please try again, or contact us at support@57hours.com and we’ll resolve the problem.

57hours trip inquiry success
Your inquiry was successfully sent to the guides!
57hours trip inquiry email fail
Sorry, but your inquiry didn’t go through!

Please try again or contact us at support@57hours.com and we’ll resolve the problem.

Log in

Log in or sign up to save a trip to your bucket list

Saved to bucket list!
View list
Removed from bucket list
View list