Explore 360

The Matterhorn

  • Where?

    Switzerland

  • Altitude

    4,478m

  • Duration

    8 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P4

  • Technical

    T6

  • P4 - Sustained physical effort calls for a state of high conditioning. You should already have experience of tough challenges (P3) and be regularly training as part of your normal routine. Expect days of up to 8 hours and longer while carrying a pack up to 8-14kg in weight. Summit night could be easily in excess of 12 hours.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • T6 - Expect punchy sections of more technical rock climbing or prolonged Alpine climbing at Scottish Winter III or Alpine AD. Good skills on rock or ice are paramount.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQs

Overview

The Matterhorn, (4,478m) sometimes called ‘the mountain of mountains’, is one of the most instantly recognised and iconic peaks in the world. It roars out from the surrounding Alpine landscape and grabs the attention of everyone stepping off the train at Zermatt in Switzerland. Dramatic and awe-inspiring, it has for centuries been a major tick for mountaineers worldwide.

Make this ascent yourself with our superb 360 Mountain Guides who know, and need to know, this route backwards. You don’t have to be a brilliant climber to summit the Matterhorn, but you do have to be able to move over some extreme scrambling terrain quickly and efficiently and have some previous mountaineering experience under your belt. The Matterhorn is steep and serious on all sides, and combines technical rock ridges, graded at Alpine AD, with high altitude. We climb the Hornli Ridge  from Switzerland on a 1 to 1 guide to client ratio.

This itinerary is an outline, and the day-to-day running will depend on local conditions, and the fitness and dynamics of the team. It is designed to give you the very best chance of summiting. We’ll give you the best acclimatisation possible, the most thorough training, and fully qualified Mountain Guides. The rest is up to you.

Find out more
The Matterhorn The Matterhorn

Date & Prices

For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.
A monthly payment plan is possible, please contact the office to chat through the options.

For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.
A monthly payment plan is possible, please contact the office to chat through the options.

Departure & Return

Duration

Price (excl. flight)

Price (incl. flight UK-UK)

Start: 15 July 2023
End: 22 July 2023

Price without flights:  €2,500

Prices is based on a group of 2 pax.
Guiding fee only!

15 July 2023

22 July 2023

8 days

€2,500

N/A

Prices is based on a group of 2 pax.
Guiding fee only!

Start: 22 July 2023
End: 29 July 2023

Price without flights:  €2,500

Prices is based on a group of 2 pax.
Guiding fee only!

22 July 2023

29 July 2023

8 days

€2,500

N/A

Prices is based on a group of 2 pax.
Guiding fee only!

Included

  • Price based on even numbers
  • Transport to and from training venues
  • All guiding and guides expenses
  • 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor
  • Monthly payment plan, on request

Not Included

  • Lunches (allow €10 / day)
  • Chamonix accommodation
  • Hut accommodation (allow ~€450 for 3 nights)
  • Insurance
  • Flights
  • Personal equipment for each person: ice axe, crampons, helmet, harness, boots. (Equipment can be hired in situ for those that need it, at additional cost, paid locally.)
  • Airport transfers Geneva airport to Chamonix return
  • Mountain cable cars and trains in Chamonix and Zermatt. Total will vary depending on the number of lifts used, but €200 plus €20 each way for Zermatt taxis should suffice
  • Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early

Pics & Vids

Itinerary

DAY 1 : Chamonix

We will meet in a central hotel in Chamonix for an evening briefing on the night of your arrival. We will discuss the week ahead and answer any questions you may have before checking and/or issuing equipment that is needed.

We use Chamonix to warm up for the peak simply because it is less eye-wateringly expensive than being in Zermatt!

DAY 2 : Training & acclimatisation around Chamonix

Usually, we acclimatise and train from the Rifugio Torino on the border of Italy and France. This gives good access to numerous quality peaks such as the Aiguille d’Entreves and the Dent du Geant. The Refuge is easily reached via the new Skyway lift, so even if the weather is bad we can still acclimatise easily. There are also fixed ropes on the Aiguille Marbree so we can practise “Batman” skills before heading to the Dent du Geant.

 

DAY 3 : Training & acclimatisation around Chamonix

Another training and acclimatisation day above Chamonix. Likely objectives could be the traverse of the Entreves, or the Arete Cosmiques or Point Lachenal from the Aiguille du Midi. We may spend the night in a high mountain refuge to aid acclimatisation.

 

DAY 4 : Training & acclimatisation around Chamonix

We will have an early start from the refuge, likely climbing a peak like the Tour Ronde via the South East ridge. This is a mixture of snow and ice climbing, with some rock climbing thrown in too, and is ideal preparation for the Matterhorn.

Return to Chamonix.

DAY 5 : Matterhorn

We leave Chamonix early in the morning, and head to Zermatt. Once there, we take the Klein Matterhorn lift to Schwarzsee, and then make the 90 minute ascent to the Hornli Hutte.

DAY 6 : Matterhorn Summit Day

The climb from the Hornli Hutte is over 1,200m of ascent. Almost immediately after leaving the Hornli Hut we begin climbing. Most of the terrain is steep scrambling, but there are sections of fixed rope, higher on the route, where you will have to climb “batman style” upwards. Just over half way up we will reach the Solvay Bivouac, where we will stop for a break and assess our progress. If we are not keeping to good time then this is a logical point to descend from. We usually put crampons on 2/3 of the way up where the ground becomes snowy. From there to the summit the terrain is more serious, with fixed ropes on all steep sections. The ability to use your crampons effectively is essential. Summit day on the Matterhorn is usually 9 – 12 hours return journey to the hut. Then an easy walk down the path to the lift for 1 hour .

DAY 7 : Matterhorn Summit Contingency Day

In case of bad weather we allow a spare day. This significantly increases your chance of summiting. If we don’t need the spare day we will complete another day of alpinism or rock climbing. After the peak we will return to Chamonix.

DAY 8 : Return to UK

Today we depart – we would recommend booking your departure flight after midday to avoid too early a transfer.

These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the expedition and what you will experience.

Kit List

Bags & Packs

Daysack

30-40L maximum. Mammut “Granite 30/40”, and Osprey “Mutant” and Talon 33 recommended

Sleeping Gear

Sleeping bag liner

A liner is mandatory for hygiene reasons. The huts do provide blankets

Headwear

Sunglasses

Worth spending money on good UV filters. For glacier work category 4 with side and nose protectors.  Julbo is our preferred supplier

Wide brimmed hat

Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck

Warm headgear

This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head

Goggles

Low light lenses recommended as goggles most likely used in poor weather

Sunblock

SPF >30

Lip salve

Sun cream will not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burn without proper protection

Upper Body

Thermal shirt/T shirt

Merino wool (e.g. Icebreaker) recommended as they don’t smell

Thin gloves

Must be leather palmed for rope climbing

Light insulated jacket

A lighter jacket such as a Primaloft or lightweight down which can be worn at lower to mid altitudes is a great addition to your kit offering greater flexibility with layering

Mid layer

A slightly heavier weight for greater warmth that can be worn over a base layer. Fleece for merino wool are ideal

Waterproof jacket

Gore Tex. Arc’Teryx Beta AR recommended

Duvet jacket (available to hire in Chamonix)

Synthetic jackets recommended as they stay warm if wet. Arc’teryx recommended. Please see FAQ’s for kit hire

Warm gloves

Consider liners or a light polartec pair for lower altitudes and evenings, and a thicker waterproof pair like ski gloves for higher altitudes

Mitts

Dachstein wool mitts recommended, or fleece with Gore Tex shell

Lower Body

Mountain trousers

Mammut “Base Jump” (Schoeller fabric) or similar recommended

Waterproof trousers

Gore Tex. Arc’Teryx Beta AR recommended

Feet

Thick socks

Smartwool or Teko recommended

Crampon compatible boots (available to hire in Chamonix)

Scarpa Freney, Triolet, Sportiva Trango etc are all ideal i.e. ankle height boots. Please see FAQ’s for kit hire

Gaiters

In case of snowy conditions

Technical Equipment

Harness (available to hire in Chamonix)

We recommend Petzl harnesses and the Black Diamond “Alpine Bod”

Please see FAQ’s for kit hire

Helmet (available to hire in Chamonix)

Petzl “Ecrin Roc” and Black Diamond “Half Dome” recommended. Please see FAQ’s for kit hire

Ice axe (available to hire in Chamonix)

Grivel “Air Tech” recommended. The bottom of your axe should reach your shin when held in your hand standing upright. Please see FAQ’s for kit hire

Crampons (available to hire in Chamonix)

Petzl Vasak and Grivel G12 highly recommended. Please see FAQ’s for kit hire

Trekking poles

These can be handy when crossing glaciers, and on paths for reducing shock on your knees. Leki and Komperdell recommended. Snow baskets essential

Hydration

Water bottles / bladder

2L capacity either in a combination of bladder and Nalgene bottle or just Nalgene bottles

Toiletries

Wash kit

Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!

Alcohol gel

Most huts do not have running water to wash with

Medications

Personal first aid kit

Painkillers (Paracetamol or Ibuprofen), blister plasters (Compeed recommended)

Personal medication

Keep this in your daysack

Miscellaneous

Head torch

Bring spare batteries

Ear plugs

For protection against the inevitable snorers!

Camera

Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards

Documentation

Passport

Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity.  With your passport expiry date at least six months after the final day of travel.

Copy of passport

Just in case

Travel insurance

Copy of own travel insurance details.  And relevant contact numbers.

We have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

EH1C (formerly E111)

While you do have travel insurance, this can save you paperwork and reduce upfront costs should you have a minor ailment or need to see a local GP if you already have one

FAQs

General

What does a guiding fee only itinerary include?

Our 2023 price (which is based on even numbers) includes all guiding and guides expenses. It does not include:

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers Geneva airport to Chamonix return
  • Chamonix accommodation (for 3 or 4 nights)
  • Hut accommodation (allow ~€450 for 3 nights)
  • Lunches (allow €10 / day)
  • Mountain lifts (allow €150)
  • Insurance
  • Personal equipment for each person: ice axe, crampons, helmet, harness, boots. (Equipment can be hired in situ for those that need it, at additional cost, paid locally.)
  • Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early

For 2024 we will be changing our pricing to align more with the rest of our expeditions and trips, which is one that includes almost everything!

If you have any questions about how this works please contact us on 0207 1834 360.

Travel

How do I get from Geneva Airport to Chamonix? How much does it cost?

Please contact the 360 office for full advice on transfers, as there are many options available. However, the main company we use is Mountain Dropoffs as they are able to drop you directly to your hotel in Chamonix on arrival. On booking we will send you a discount code for use with them.

With Mountain Dropoffs, you have the option of a flexi fare, currently €50 (€5 with discount) each way, which gives you options to cancel and change times and dates of your transfer. They also have a super-save fare, currently €40 (€35 with discount), but this doesn’t allow changes.

When should I be aiming to arrive and leave Chamonix?

Access to Chamonix accommodation can often not be guaranteed before 3pm so it’s best not to book a flight landing before 1pm and at the end of the trip you should try and arrange your return flight for early afternoon. This will allow you to have breakfast before you leave.

The Climb

How long are the days?

The length of days will vary when Alpine Climbing, but everyone taking part in a Matterhorn trip should expect to be moving for 8-12 hrs per day.

Is it really necessary to spend so long acclimatising?

Yes. Acclimatisation is absolutely vital for Matterhorn. Many people spend insufficient time up high before attempting the summit, and often fail as a result. Failure to acclimatise properly can lead to sickness and even death.

Health and Safety

What previous experience do I need to have ?

We suggest that you have a minimum of 12 days of Alpine Climbing on routes at AD grade.

Ideally, this is a week on Mont Blanc/Monte Rosa with another week of more technical climbing.

What can I do to get technically ready for such an expedition?

Even though you might have had lots of experience on expeditions such as Kilimanjaro, Mera and Stok Kangri .. these aren’t technical peaks and we would, therefore, advise you get some more technical training in before attempting the Matterhorn.

If you are keen and feel this is you then it might be worth attending an Alpine Development week.

Guided week: ratio 1:2. Details here: http://www.stuartmacdonald.org/home/Coursedetails/21. Pls quote 360 on booking/communicating.

What are the guide ratios?

Guides work on a ratio of 1:2 during your training and preparation days, and during the Matterhorn climb work on a ratio of 1:1.

Are the Mountain Guides certified?

All Guides operating in the European Alps must be Internationally Certified. Training and Assessment takes a minimum of three years and anyone caught operating without a license will be prosecuted. Occasionally we employ trainee guides (known as Aspirants). They are in the final stages of qualifying as Guides and are allowed to operate under the tutorage of an experienced Guide.

Accommodation

What accommodation do you recommend in Chamonix?

The Chalet Hotel Le Prieuré is a great choice and is only 6 minutes walk from the Aiguille du Midi cable car.

What are the mountain huts like?

Mountain huts are mostly owned by the Alpine Clubs. They are there to provide accommodation and food for mountaineers. They often cater for large numbers (>100), and hence can be quite busy. Meals are usually simple but plentiful, and anyone with special dietary requirements must let us know in advance so we can inform the hut guardian. Please note that while huts will usually try and accommodate vegetarians etc they do sometimes struggle with more specialised requirements such as gluten free. Showers and running water are not usually available. Meals, drinks, and snacks can be purchased for cash. As an indicative cost, a 1.5 litre bottle of mineral water typically costs 6-9 Euros and a bar of chocolate 2 Euros. The rooms are usually dormitory style, with large alpine bunks (up to 15 people in a row).

Kit

Can I hire equipment in Chamonix?

Anyone wishing to hire equipment in Chamonix rather than buy it can do so. We use a local shop for boot hire (allow €50 for the week), and other items are available as follows, payable in cash in situ:

  • Ice Axe €22
  • Harness €16
  • Helmet €16
  • Crampons €33
  • Duvet Jacket €28
  • Down mitts €11
  • Full Package: Duvet Jacket, Mitts, Axe, Harness, Crampons, Helmet – €99

The costs above are current at the time of writing, but they may change – please check with us for the current info!

Insurance

Do I need special travel insurance for the expedition?

You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the expedition. We cannot take you on the mountain without proof of insurance.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip. To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.

Will I need a Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) for this expedition?

The UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) replaces the old European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

It is worth having a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) as this “gives card holders the right to access state-provided healthcare on temporary stays in European Economic Area (EEA) countries or Switzerland. Treatment should be provided on the same basis as it would be to a resident of that country and is provided either at reduced cost or, in many cases, for free. The GHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until the card holder returns home. This includes treatment for pre-existing medical conditions.” If you don’t already have one, you can apply for one here and it is free. Many travel insurers won’t cover ‘medical costs in the unlikely event that you need medical treatment whilst you are away’ that could have been covered by a GHIC.

If you are planning a trek you won’t find a better team than 360, to fulfil your dreams with.

Dave Fowles
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