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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.
Acclimate, train and summit with a 1:1 climber-to-guide ratio
No crevasse, seracs or avalanche hazards
Technically the “easiest” route up the most difficult classic in the Alps
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!
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.
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
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
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!
What you get on this adventure:
What’s not included:
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.
Keep in mind that Matterhorn isn’t the only iconic peak of the Alps. If you’d like to summit the highest peak of this massif, which is undoubtedly less demanding than summiting Matterhorn, you can check what it’s like climbing Mont Blanc here!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
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 prices:
Min. age requirements:
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.
Most people fly into Zurich or Geneva and take the train directly from the airport to Zermatt or Chamonix. To get to Chamonix, most people fly into Geneva International Airport (GVA), one hour away. Once you arrive, there are several ways to reach your destination, including public transport. Looking to make the airport transfer hassle-free? Check out Mountain Drop-Offs—they provide door-to-door service in their comfy and spacious shuttles.
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.
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!