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Matterhorn Ascent

Alpine climbing · Switzerland
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Zermatt Tourismus Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Stunning panorama from the peak
    / Stunning panorama from the peak
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Mammut - Baschi Bender
  • / Step by step along the Hörnligrat its going higher - partly in unconsolidated rock
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Mammut - Christoph Frutiger
  • / The peak is within our grasp
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Mammut - Christoph Frutiger
  • / It is done - standing on the peak
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Mammut - Christoph Frutiger
  • / Hörnli hut - starting point for the ascent
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Zermatt Tourismus
  • / Majestic the Matterhorn (4,478 m) with the setting sun
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Kurt Müller
m 4500 4000 3500 3000 3,5 3,0 2,5 2,0 1,5 1,0 0,5 km Matterhorn Hörnlihütte | Matterhorn Hörnlihütte | Matterhorn
At 4,478 m, the Matterhorn is the most difficult classic in the Alps. The climb and descent is done exclusively over rocks and ice, and it requires outstanding fitness and experience in rock climbing with and without crampons. The normal route is via the Hörnligrat and is only suitable for well-versed mountaineers accompanied by a mountain guide.
difficult
3.9 km
8:30 h
1,218 m
1,218 m

On the day before the climb, one takes the cable car from Zermatt (1,620 m) to Schwarzsee (2,583 m). From there, one follows the hiking trail to the Hörnli Hut Matterhorn (3,260 m). The climb to the hut takes about two hours. One should not arrive too early, since the hut is only ready for occupancy after 3 pm. After dinner, a discussion of the schedule plan for the next day takes place and the equipment is controlled. And then it is time to go to sleep. Because the hut warden wakes climbers at 4 am, and after breakfast, it is time to put on the climbing harness, hiking boots and helmet.

Climbers with mountain guides form a column and set off by foot first. In the dark, it is difficult to find the correct path; here, a mountain guide and a headlamp are necessary. It is very important to walk carefully on the loose gravel, because every misstep could start a rockslide for the following climbers.

The enjoyment of climbing on the Hörnligrat is a real pleasure for the mountain guides if one is fit enough to do so. The experience at the summit is unforgettable. Once one is at the top, there is a breath-taking panorama in every direction: Mont Blanc, the Grande Paradiso of the Bernese Alps and below the Liongrat towards Italy, the steep north face and the Mattertal.

  • Climbing difficulty 4
  • The overall difficulty of the tour is given as “ZS+”
  • The new Hörnli Hut Matterhorn opens after July 2015 as part of the 150 anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn
  • A mountain guide is strongly recommended
  • The route along the Hörnligrat is usually hard to find
  • In part, exposed climbing sections with a risk of falling
  • Absolutely sure footed and free from vertigo required


Hörnligrat
The climbers, who made the first ascent already used this route to conquer the Matterhorn in 1865. The Hörnligrat is primarily gneiss, which means that the danger of sliding and falling rocks is great. For this reason, it is important to engage a mountain guide for the climb. If one is just one metre off the route, one is already subject to falling rocks or can cause that. There are a few famous places that one passes on the way to the top: during the ascent past the protecting Madonna, at Grampiturm, yellow stripe, faules Eck (lazy corner), bite, lower and upper Moseley plate, Solvay Hut, shoulder, fixed rope, roof, Swiss summit (4,478 m), Italian summit (4,477 m) with metal peak cross. The Solvay Hut at 4,003 m) on the Hörnligrat was built in 1915, and is only a hut for shelter when climbers have an emergency.

Author’s recommendation

We recommend a guided tour with mountain guide who knows well the place. Further information and mountain guide agency: www.zermatters.ch

If you just want to experience what it is like to be on the Hörnligrat and then enjoy the view from the summit of the Matterhorn without having to climb the mountain yourself, you can do it with the “Mammut 360° Project”.

Crampons, climbing harnesses and helmets can be rented in different sport shops in the village.

Profile picture of Zermatt Tourismus
Author
Zermatt Tourismus
Updated: November 13, 2020
Difficulty
IV difficult
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Matterhorn, 4,478 m
Lowest point
Hörnlihütte, 3,260 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
First ascent
14. Juli 1865

Safety information

  • Plan every mountain tour carefully and adapt to participants’ fitness level as well as the weather and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.
  • Inform others of planned route, and whenever possible avoid going alone.
  • Do not leave the marked routes; do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • It is forbidden to walk on the ski pistes.
  • Please be considerate to other walkers and to plants and animals.
  • Take note of the warning signs drawing attention to the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs.

Tip: “Be searchable”. Equip yourself with an additional RECCO rescue reflector*. Whether summer or winter. Available in our Online-Shop or our information desk.
*The additional reflector does not replace an avalanche beacon.

Tips, hints and links

Further information & mountain guide agency

Hike up to the Hörnli hut

Mammut Project 360°

Start

Hörnli Hut Matterhorn (3,260 m) (3,261 m)
Coordinates:
DD
45.982079, 7.677009
DMS
45°58'55.5"N 7°40'37.2"E
UTM
32T 397524 5092907
w3w 
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Destination

Matterhorn (4,478 m)

Turn-by-turn directions

Ascent from the Hörnli Hut Matterhorn along the Hörnligrat up to the Matterhorn
(Descente the same way down, duration approx. 4 - 5 h)

We strongly recommend that even experienced mountaineers book a qualified mountain guide who knows the mountain very well.

 

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

By train to the Matterhorn village: 3½ hours from Zürich airport or 4 hours from Geneva airport. Change at Visp onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (Matterhorn Gotthard Railway). From Visp, the railway leads through the Mattertal valley past idyllic small villages to Zermatt.

Zermatt is also the start and finish point for the world-famous Glacier Express panoramic train journey (Zermatt to St. Moritz or Davos).

Getting there

Zermatt is car-free. Private vehicles are permitted only as far as Täsch (5 km before Zermatt). The Täsch–Zermatt road is closed to the public.

Onward travel to Zermatt is either by private taxi or shuttle train. Trains depart every 20 minutes; the journey takes about 12 minutes, and ends at the Bahnhofplatz in Zermatt.

Parking

Täsch has car parks with both covered and open-air parking – e.g. at the Matterhorn Terminal or privately operated facilities.

Onward travel: see “Getting there”.

Coordinates

DD
45.982079, 7.677009
DMS
45°58'55.5"N 7°40'37.2"E
UTM
32T 397524 5092907
w3w 
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Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

We recommend:

  • Climbing boots with a profiled rubber sole suitable for use with crampons
  • Climbing harness
  • Crampons
  • Helmet
  • Backpack (approx. 30 litre capacity)
  • Warm weatherproof clothing
  • Full-fingered gloves (poss. spare pair of gloves)
  • Headlamp
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Snacks (high energy foods)
  • Thermos flask (warm tea is available at the hut) or drinking bottle
  • Extra layers of clothes

Important! Requirements: 8 to 9 hour endurance performance. Having already a very good physical condition before the arrival in Zermatt. Experienced in rock climbing (grade IV) as well as in hiking and climbing with and without crampons, on both the ascent and descent.


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Photos from others


Difficulty
IV difficult
Distance
3.9 km
Duration
8:30h
Ascent
1,218 m
Descent
1,218 m
Out and back Scenic Geological highlights Summit route Wall Ridge traverse Descending on foot

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