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Hornli Ridge – Matterhorn - Zermatt
The Matterhorn is one of the world's most recognisable mountains, standing tall and alone above the town of Zermatt in Switzerland. It’s an intimidating peak, with steep faces and ridge lines with no easy route to the summit.
First climbed in 1865, the Matterhorn is steeped in legend and history. The epic story of the first ascent along with the north face are well worth a read. The Hornli ridge is the standard route up the mountain, and is essentially a sustained scramble with occasional harder sections. It is a very long route, and the descent often takes longer than the climb. Good fitness, foot work and excellent scrambling skills are essential. It is normal to start the ascent in the dark using head torches and to arrive at the more technical pitches below the emergency Solvay hut as it is getting light. These are rates II+/III in difficulty and are often abseiled in descent. Above the shoulder it can get snowy and icy, and it is here that the fixed metal gear and the ropes are very useful, although at over 4000m it is still very physical.
After the fixed ropes, the summit snow slopes lead to the final narrow ridge from where you will find an uninterrupted vista of 4000m peaks, from Mont Blanc to the nearby Monta Rosa maasif.
Required experience/skill level:
Intermediate – Advanced. Good general mountaineering skills.
Length (in metres):
1220m ascent from Hornli Hutte
2 days (including hut approach)
4 - 5 hours in ascent, 4 – 6 hours descent.
Hornli Hut, accessed from Zermatt using lift system and two hour approach walk.
Maximum guide ratio:
Normally Mid July to Mid September, but conditions vary every season.
Snow on the route makes it much harder. Look for dry conditions, and stable weather.
Links/ featured courses:
The Matterhorn's altitude means that being acclimatized is very important. Our standard six day trip gives you time to adjust to the thin air as well as practicing the skills required for a successful and safe ascent.