The Matterhorn is the world’s most iconic peak and needs little introduction. The summit stands at 4,478m and its perfect shape dominates the skyline. Climbing the Matterhorn is on the 'must do' list of both aspiring and experienced mountaineers alike. To stand on top of the Matterhorn is a worthy goal and a life-defining experience! At Mountain Tracks we have 20 years of experience on the mountain and a fantastic record of summit success. We offer a tried and tested six-day program which includes all the preparation and acclimatisation necessary for an attempt on this challenging summit.
Nestled on the border between Switzerland and Italy, this huge, roughly hewn rock pyramid serves as a defining landmark. The well documented first ascent is an important milestone in the history of climbing, so for most, the ascent is more than physical challenge it is also a journey of discovery.
Climbing the Matterhorn is committing, this means it is essential you have previous alpine mountaineering experience. Specifically, you are comfortable scrambling on steep rock, have good rope skills and familiarity with using crampons on steep snow and ice, both in ascent and descent. Climbing the Matterhorn is more technical than Mont Blanc, but is an achievable objective for fit climbers with a structured plan of training and acclimatisation.
The route we take is via the Hornli Ridge (AD) from Zermatt. The ascent is only moderately technical but it is a very long rock climb with some steep snow at altitude and plenty of exposure. Climbers must be very sure-footed on steep terrain and have lots of endurance. Our standard programme for climbing the Matterhorn is 6 days with 4 days of acclimatization and preparation - at a maximum guide ratio of 1:2, and 2 days for the Matterhorn ascent, which is guided on a 1:1 ratio only.
The summit day itself is long, with tricky scrambling (up to 4,500m in elevation) and requires commitment and concentration for 8+ hours. The climbing on the Matterhorn is delicate and sustained rather than difficult, so it is essential that the correct preparation has been put in place.
This itinerary is based on spending the first 4 days in the Chamonix area, which in our view offers the best terrain for preparation and acclimatisation. The itinerary is very dependent on the local weather and conditions and your guides may need to alter the programme accordingly.
AM I READY TO CLIMB THE MATTERHORN?
The Hornli Ridge is graded AD and has a vertical ascent of 1300m. Most of the climbing is done with boot soles on dry rock, but crampons are usually worn for the final section to the summit. All climbers attempting the peak need to be comfortable with the environment and well prepared. We advise that climbers should have previously completed a minimum of one week of alpine mountaineering, this experience could have been gained on Mont Blanc or on our Alpine Introduction course. A structured aerobic fitness program before the course starts is highly recommended, this can include hill walking, scrambling, cycling or running. Please see our preparation page for more details.
WHAT IS THE STANDARD OF ACCOMMODATION IN THE HUTS?
The huts are run by full-time staff that looks after us on a half-board basis, the cooking is hearty homemade food. Water, beer, wine and a picnic lunch is available at extra cost. The sleeping quarters are communal.