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The Matterhorn

  • Where?

    Switzerland

  • Altitude

    4,478m

  • Duration

    8 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P4

  • Technical

    T4

  • 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.

  • T4 - A good grounding in Alpine climbing is ideal. Knowledge of basic knots and ropework with a background in Scottish Winter II or Alpine PD.  Competence use of crampons and self arrest techniques is preferable.  All still will be re-taught and practiced in situ.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQ's

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 moutaineering 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 guide to 1 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 summitting. We’ll give you luxurious down time lodging and meals, 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

We currently have no scheduled dates for this expedition, however if you give the office a call on 0207 1834 360 it would be easy for us to get this up and running.

Included

  • Price based on Even numbers
  • Half board accommodation in a chalet in Les Bossons
  • Chalet accommodation is usually sharing in twin rooms. Single rooms can sometimes be arranged (with €150 supplement payable at the chalet)
  • Half Board accommodation in mountain refuges
  • Transport to and from training venues
  • All guiding and guides expenses
  • Celebratory reception on return to the chalet

Not Included

  • Lunches – allow €10 / day
  • Insurance
  • Flights
  • Personal equipment for each person: ice axe, crampons, helmet, harness, boots. (Equipment hire can be provided 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

Meet in Chamonix to discuss the week ahead, check equipment, and answer last minute questions. 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

Likely objectives could be the Arete Cosmiques or Point Lachenal from the Aiguille du Midi.

DAY 3 : Training & acclimatisation around Chamonix

Another training and acclimatisation day above Chamonix. Likely itinerary would be the traverse of the Entreves. We will probably 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 possible 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 possible Summit Day

In case of bad weather we allow a spare day. This significantly increases your chance of summitting. 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 fly back home.

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)

Black Diamond “Alpine Bod” and Beal “Aero Team III” recommended. 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

Misceallaneous

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

FAQ's

Food and Water

How much water should I carry each day?

Do not carry too much water – it is very heavy. As a general rule 1-2 litres is the right amount. Avoid using Camelbak style systems with drinking straws. They leak, the tubes freeze, and they will always let you down when you need them most. Nalgene style plastic bottles are the best.

What type of food should I carry?

Everyone is different, however it is essential to eat well in the mountains. Sandwiches are hard to beat, supplemented by fruit and chocolate bars. Don’t carry too much food, and remember that some foods will freeze solid unless kept in jacket pockets.

Where can I get a packed lunch for each day?

You can buy a good packed lunch directly from the chalet. Please let them know the day before.

Accommodation

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).

If there is no water in the huts for washing, what should we do?

Take some wet wipes to give yourself a clean in the evening. A toothbrush, some wet wipes, and a small tube of toothpaste (shared between several people) is plenty. Some alcohol hand gel is also handy.

Laundry Service

An overnight laundry service is available in the chalet for essential items required for the summit phase (thermals and socks etc). Please note a small charge is levied for this service.

Do we have to move out of our rooms when we are on the mountain?

No. Your room in the chalet is yours for the week and is your home away from home.

How easy is it to get out and about?

Guest cards will be issued upon arrival which means the local buses and trains are free of charge if you fancy trying out the public transport. The chalet is also licensed to provide a private in-resort taxi service at a cost of €25 per journey in the valley.

Health and Safety

What sun cream do you recommend?

Any brand will be fine. The most important thing is the SPF – Do not bother with anything under SPF 30. Creams with UVA and UVB protection are best. And don’t forget lip salve.

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.

Kit

What kit should I bring?

Bring kit as outlined in the kit list.

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:

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

The Climb

How long are the days?

The length of days will vary when Alpine climbing. Training days will usually start between 06:00 and 08:00, and last for 6-8 hours. Mont Blanc summit day will usually start very early (around 03:00), and can easily last 12 hours.

How does every company claim to use the best mountain guides?

360 always use the very best mountain guides possible. But then every company says that don’t they? To ensure we genuinely do use the best guides, we pay our guides more than any other guiding company operating on Mont Blanc. That way we always have the pick of the very best.

Are all 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 a fully qualified Guide.

What if we summit early?

If you summit early you may have a spare day in Chamonix. If so, there are numerous options for rock climbing, via ferrata, or alpine climbing for the day. The group would not all have to do the same activity as we would still have 1 guide per every 2 team members. There are also plenty of less physically demanding options in or near the Chamonix Valley.

What if the conditions are too bad to attempt the summit?

If conditions are really bad we will find an alternative plan. This would usually involve climbing in either Italy or Switzerland. If possible we would still try and climb a major peak >4,000m high.

Travel

How do I get from Geneva Airport to Chamonix?

Please contact the 360 office for advice on transfers. There are many options available.

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 an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for this expedition?

It is worth having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) 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 EHIC 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 your medical costs in the unlikely event that you need medical treatment whilst you are away which could have been covered by an EHIC.

Electronics

What camera should I take?

Avoid carrying bulky SLR style cameras. They are too heavy, and slow to use. Compact cameras that fit into a pocket are best. Cameras in rucksacks never take photographs! Digital cameras must be kept warm in a pocket or they will freeze and cease to function.

There is not enough positive feedback I could give 360 for the trip! Everything seemed to be perfect! The local crew, the support we had from you and Rolfe, the hotels were top notch.

Aaron Moffat, General, 2013
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