Matterhorn Week

This course is designed in order to maximise your chances of summiting. The Matterhorn is 4477m high and acclimatisation and prior training are essential if you are to reach this serious and famous summit. Starting in Saastal (Switzerland), we will undertake several other demanding climbs prior to the Matterhorn in order to be ready. The best time to climb the Matterhorn is once most of the snow has melted off the Hornli ridge - usually mid July to early August gives optimal conditions.

Standard Itinerary:

Day 1 - Meet in Saas.
Days 2-4 - Training and Acclimatisation on technical climbs in the area. We usually focus on technical peaks 3000-4000m high such as the traverse of the Dri Horlini, South Ridge of the Wiesmies, and the South ridge of the Lagginhorn.
Days 4-6 - This period is reserved for the summit. Although only two days are actually needed, we allow a spare day in case of bad weather.

The climb to the summit can take anywhere from 4 to 5 hours depending on conditions and your speed. Serious scrambling terrain (Grade 3), easy Rock Climbing (UK Diff, US 5.3), and fixed ropes all have to be negotiated. Descent can sometimes take even longer due to the technical nature of the terrain. This can cause some teams to become completely exhausted and require rescue. As a result slow teams will be turned around at the Solvay Refuge during the ascent if they do not reach there within 2 hours.

The terrain is rocky nearly all the way from the Hornli Hut to the summit. The upper third often requires the use of crampons. Most of the time you will be scrambling on steep terrain on a short rope to your Guide. Easy sections allow you both to move together, and on more difficult steps the Guide will climb ahead before protecting you using the rope. The fixed ropes are like school gym ropes, and you will need to "Batman" your way up these as quickly as possibly to prevent queues forming. In descent you will need to scramble downwards at a good pace in order to make it down in time for a late lunch and the lift back to Zermatt. Your Guide will lower you on some of the steeper sections. A return trip to the Hornli Hut will often take 8-10 hours - this is not a climb for the faint-hearted.

After getting down, a traditional beer in the Brown Cow pub is usually the order of the day before heading back to Saas.


5 days of Professional Mountain Guiding in a 6 day period
Trip planning and Refuge reservations
Safety equipment (carried by Guide)
Local transportation (within the course programme)

Not included:

Travel to Saastal.
Accommodation in Saastal - We usually spend a total of 4 nights in the Hotel Schoenblick which allows us to keep our rooms when on the mountain, and gives us an excellent rate for Half Board.
All Mountain Refuges for you and your Guide(s) (3 nights)
Equipment Hire (you can rent most equipment from us, and boots can be hired locally)
Lift Fees for you and your Guides (NB: Lifts in Saastal are free. Guides will get a large discount on Zermatt lifts)

NB: Refuge expenses will be met by the group, so for the first 2 nights the cost will be split between up to 2 people. For the summit trip, the guiding ratio is reduced so the cost for you and your Guide will be paid by you.


To give an idea of additional costs, please budget for the following:

Geneva/Zurich to Saastal by public transport - 106CHF (booked in advance via www.sbb.ch)
Hotel in Saastal - 300CHF
Mountain Refuges (Incl Hornli Hutte) - 525CHF
Zermatt Lifts - 80CHF

NB: Most Swiss Huts now accept card payments so you don't need to bring lots of cash.

The Hornli Hut is an expensive refuge, charging 150CHF Half Board. We ask our guests to make their own booking for them and their Guide at the Hut for the Wednesday night of the trip. If it needs to be moved to the Thursday due to weather this is not normally an issue. There is a 50CHF fee per person upon booking - this is non refundable in the event of cancellation. Hence you have a choice - book early but potentially lose the deposit if the weather is bad or you're not ready for the climb; wait until the weather is certain and make a telephone booking (where no deposit is taken). I would recommend that you book ahead ! You can book at www.hoernlihuette.ch

Dates, Prices & Availability
FromToPrice (Euros)Places AvailableBook
20 Jul 2024 27 Jul 2024 2950 4 Book a place
19 Jul 2025 26 Jul 2025 2950 4 Book a place
  • Duration:
    1 week
  • Venue:
  • Ratios:
    1:2 during training, 1:1 on the Matterhorn
  • Experience Required:

    Matterhorn climbers need the ability to climb and scramble at speed. They need to be solid on their crampons on snowy and icy terrain, and they need excellent upper body strength to haul themselves up the fixed ropes on the mountain. Usually a successful candidate will have a minimum of 20-30 days of mountaineering experience from summer rock climbing and scrambling, to Alpine Mountaineering. If you've undertaken a week of alpine climbing before (perhaps a Mont Blanc trip, a Saas 4000s trip, or a Monte Rosa trek) then unless you have significant personal climbing experience (rock or winter climbing) you will almost certainly need more training. Our Alpine Development Week is an excellent stepping stone towards climbing the Matterhorn. If you're not sure about whether you're ready, get in touch.
  • Information Sheet:

    Matterhorn Week - Information Folder