5 day Matterhorn Climb

Mid-July to Mid-September 2017

The Matterhorn is likely the most iconic mountain in Europe, quite possibly, the world.  It rises dramatically above Zermatt, a small Swiss mountain town.  While the peak is incredibly scenic, what is even more impressive is you don’t need to be a hard core climber to stand on the summit.  Now, don’t get me wrong, climbing the Matterhorn should not be taken lightly, but it is within reach of many adventurous outdoors people.  Every year we guide this climb and below is a list of what is required to sign up for an ascent.

Skills and Fitness:  To climb the Matterhorn safely, you need to have a high level of fitness and be comfortable moving in exposed terrain.  The climb covers 1200m (4,000ft) of elevation gain and then we descend down the same way.  The climb should take 8-9 hours round trip.  The terrain is exposed from start to finish and we will be roped together for the entire climb.  The climb itself involves mostly 4th class terrain with some short sections of 5th class climbing, which would be around 5.6.  Keep in mind, we will be wearing boots for the entire climb and, if conditions warrant, crampons as well.  On the steepest sections, there are fixed ropes in place and we will use these to speed things along

Time of year:  The best time to climb the Matterhorn is normally from late July to early September and we can set up climbs any time during this period.  August often yields good results, but it can be a busy time on the mountain.  Earlier and later in the season can offer great conditions and low crowds, but there is more risk that snows could keep the mountain out of condition.


Day 1:  Meet in Zermatt, take the Gornograt train up to the Rifflehorn where we will spend the day rock climbing in boots.  This will give us a chance to evaluate people skill level and give you a sense of what to expect on the mountain.

Day 2:  With an early start we will take the main cable car above Zermatt to the Klein Matterhorn station.  From here we will traverse the Britehorn plateau and traverse our way back along the East ridge of the Britehorn.  This is one of the nicest ridge climbs in the area and offers great practice using crampons and moving in exposed terrain.  Not to mention, the views are amazing!

Day 3:  With a leisurely start, we will take a lift and then hike up to the Hornli Hut.  This is about a 2 hour hike from the lift.

Day 4:  It’s time for an Alpine start! With a 4am departure we will set off for the summit.  This is a long and demanding day, but totally worth the effort.  Keeping with our time schedule, we should be back by early afternoon where we’ll have a chance to recover, eat some lunch, repack and make our way down to catch the lift back to town.

Day 5:  This is an extra day that may get used as a weather day, to do an extra day of skills practice or perhaps to do a via Ferratta or some more rock climbing after a successful summit.

Cost:*  6000 (swiss francs) for one client 4,550 for two (The summit climb will be done as a 1:1 ratio, but the first two training days will be done as a 2:1 ratio.  This price also reflects a shared room if booked with two people).


  • 5 Hotel nights (shared twin or double room with two guests)
  • 1 night at Hornli Hut with breakfast and dinner
  • Lifts during the week*
  • All guide fees and guide expenses

Does NOT include: 

  • Travel to and from Zermatt
  • In town meals
  • Drinks at huts

* This price assumes guests have a 1/2 fare Swiss rail pass, if not the difference in ticket price will be in addition to the cost


The Matterhorn, which accessible, is a serious climb.  It requires moving, while roped together, in very exposed terrain.  While traditional belays will be used in places, much of the climb is done in a “short” rope style.  This allows us to do the ascent efficiently and be off the mountain before afternoon, clouds or storms roll in.  However, because of this, if your skills are not appropriate for the mountain, we will find another suitable objective.  This decision will be based on your performance during the first two prep days.  Also, if conditions or weather on the mountain are not good for our summit days, again, we will find a suitable objective.  Keep in mind that safety is our primary goal for this trip!