The Matterhorn is one of the world's most iconic mountains. From the mountain village of Zermatt, its profile is unmistakable as your gaze is drawn towards the foreboding north face and striking north east ridge of the Hörnligrat. On the tick list of every aspiring Alpinist, the mountain is also famous for its difficulty in less than perfect conditions. Thesedays the loose north face is rarely climbed outside of the autumn and winter months when it is frozen and there is less risk from stonefall, and the two easiest routes; the Hörnli ridge and Lion ridge need to be clear of snow to be attempted at anything like the guidebook grade. Even when the east face is visibly free of snow and the Hörnligrat is dry, climbers need to be competent at rock and mixed climbing in crampons, as crampons are typically required above the 'Shoulder'.
The aim of the week is to attempt the Hörnli ridge from Zermatt (though there may be circumstances where the Guides' prefer to climb the Lion ridge from Cervinia, on the Italian side). Both are a similar grade, though the Lion ridge has more fixed ropes on it. You will start in Chamonix, where the focus will be on preparing for the Matterhorn, with ascents on rock and mixed terrain. You will also need to get acclimatised by spending at least one night in a mountain hut. On Wednesday morning you'll transfer to Zermatt and have three days set aside to attempt the mountain.
The Matterhorn Summit week is suitable for Alpinists with previous experience climbing Alpine routes of AD and above. The ascent from the Hörnli hut typically takes 4 - 5 hours, with a similar time required to descend. Please contact us with your Alpine climbing CV and a reference from a Mountain Guide if you have not climbed with Jagged Globe previously, before booking this course.
Please note that any progress onto the Matterhorn is dependent on the weather forecast, the route being in condition (free of snow) and on the Guides' approval of your climbing ability. In short, if the mountain is out of condition, you will climb something else and if the Guide or Course Director doesn't think you are ready of the Matterhorn, you will have the option of climbing something else in the Zermatt valley. A flexible approach is also necessary to make the best use of the weather during the week.
Please note this programme is flexible, depending on the conditions in the mountains, weather forecast and the performance of the course participants.
Course participants meet in Chamonix at 7pm. Briefing on the week's activities in the evening. Overnight hotel.
Climbing in the Chamonix Valley. Overnight hotel.
Climbing in the Chamonix Valley. Overnight mountain hut.
Climbing in the Chamonix Valley. Overnight hotel.
Drive to Zermatt in Guide's car. In the afternoon you will ascend to Hörnli Hut (3,260m). Overnight hut.
Ascent of the Matterhorn via the Hörnli Ridge. Overnight either Hörnli Hut/Schwarzsee hotel/valley hotel, depending on what time you descend. If you descend to the valley after the climb, you may choose to travel home that evening.
Descend to the valley (or attempt Matterhorn if not climbed on Thursday). Overnight hotel.
Depart Zermatt. Breakfast will be provided on the last morning before you leave the course.
- 3 nights hotel accommodation in Chamonix on a twin-sharing, half-board basis
- 1 nights mountain hut accommodation in Chamonix on a shared dormitory bunk, half-board basis
- 2 nights mountain hotel or mountain hut accommodation in Zermatt in a shared dormitory bunk, half-board basis
- 1 nights hotel accommodation in Zermatt on a twin-sharing, half-board basis
- 6 days guiding with a qualified IFMGA Mountain Guide. Ratio 3 days at 1:2, 3 days at 1:1 maximum
- Transport (by public means, private hire vehicle, minibus or guides' cars) to fulfil the course programme
- Group mountaineering equipment such as ropes and other technical equipment
- Ice axes, crampons, harnesses & helmets, when booked in advance
- Travel to Chamonix and return from Zermatt
- Cable cars, mountain railways and mechanical uplift (estimated cost £100 - £140)*
- Any additional accommodation costs if the programme is changed and hotels in Zermatt are not used**
- Personal climbing equipment and clothing (including boots, which can be hired locally)
- Mountaineering and travel insurance
*Please note that the costs for mechanical up-lift are not included in the overall course cost because these can vary, depending on the weather and routes selected. This means that we are not restricted by a budget. Also, if we spend less on up-lift than expected, you make the saving rather than us.
**Hotels in Zermatt are booked and paid for in advance. In the event that bad weather means you do not use the hotel, you will need to meet the cost of any additional nights spent elsewhere. For example, if you decide to remain in Chamonix for Wednesday - Friday night, as the Matterhorn is not in condition, you will need to pay for Friday night there at the time.