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Cervino (it)
Cervin (fr)

Photo of the Matterhorn
Matterhorn seen from Zermatt

Elevation 4,478 m14,691.601 ft
2.783 miles
Prominence 1,029 m0.639 miles
3,375.984 ft
Location Valle d'Aosta, Italy
Valais, Switzerland
Range Pennine Alps
Massif Matterhorn Group
Sponsored Links

DMS Coor. 45°58´35"N, 7°39´30"E
Swiss Coor. 617050 / 91680
Links Topographic Detail

Coordinates Information

Nearby Features
Hörnli Hut, Matterhorn Group, Schönbiel Hut, Solvay Hut
Alpinist's Info
Base(s) Zermatt
Hut(s) Hörnli Hut
Topo. Map SLK 1347: Matterhorn
Easiest Route Rating AD AD
Matterhorn (Switzerland )


[edit] General information

The Matterhorn (4,478 m) is a mountain in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland (Valais) and Italy (Valle d'Aosta). It is one of the highest peaks in the Alps and its 1,200 metres (3,937 ft) north face is one of the Great north faces of the Alps. The mountain overlooks the town of Zermatt north and Cervinia on the south. Although not the highest mountain in Switzerland, the Matterhorn is considered as an iconic emblem of the region of the Swiss Alps.

The Matterhorn has two distinct summits, both situated on a 100 meter long rocky ridge: the Swiss summit (4,477.5 m) on the east and the Italian summit (4,476.4 m) on the west. Their names originated from the first ascents and not for geographic reasons as they are both located on the border.

The Matterhorn has a pyramidal shape with four faces facing the four compass points: the north and east faces overlook, respectively, the Zmutt Valley and Görnergrat ridge in Switzerland, the south face (the only one south of the Swiss-Italian border) fronts the resort town of Breuil-Cervinia, and the west face looks towards the mountain of Dent d'Hérens which straddles the border. The north and south faces meet at the summit to form a short east-west ridge.

The Matterhorn's faces are steep, and only small patches of snow and ice cling to them; regular avalanches send the snow down to accumulate on the glaciers at the base of each face, the largest of which is the Zmutt Glacier to the west. The Hörnli ridge of the northeast (the central ridge in the view from Zermatt) is the usual climbing route.

The most well known faces are the east and north ones, both visible from Zermatt. The east face is 1,000 metres high and presents a high risk of rockfall, making its ascent dangerous. The north face is 1,200 metres high and is one of the most dangerous north faces in the Alps, in particular for its risk of rockfall and storms. The south face is 1,350 metres high and offers many different routes. Finally, the west face, the highest at 1,400 metres, has the fewest routes of ascent.

The four main ridges separating the four faces are also the main climbing routes. The least difficult technical climb, the Hörnli ridge (Hörnligrat), lies between the east and north faces, facing the town of Zermatt. To its west lies the Zmutt ridge (Zmuttgrat), between the north and west faces. The Lion ridge (Cresta del Leone), lying between the south and west faces is the Italian normal route and goes through the Pic Tyndall. Finally the south side is separated from the east side by the Furggen ridge (Furggengrat), the most difficult ridge of all.

[edit] History

On July 14, 1865, the party of Edward Whymper, Charles Hudson, Lord Francis Douglas, Douglas Robert Hadow, Michel Croz and the two Peter Taugwalders (father and son) was able to reach the summit by an ascent of the Hörnli ridge in Switzerland. Upon descent, Hadow, Croz, Hudson and Douglas fell to their deaths on the Matterhorn Glacier, and all but Douglas (whose body was never found) are buried in the Zermatt churchyard.

[edit] Routes

The most popular way to climb the Matterhorn is to follow the Hörnli ridge. The Lion ridge and Zmutt ridge are also popular routes, but the Furggen ridge does not get climbed often.

[edit] Hörnli ridge (AD+)

Matterhorn: Hörnli ridge (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Matterhorn (4,478 m2.783 miles
14,691.601 ft
Valley base(s) Zermatt (1,608 m0.999 miles
5,275.591 ft
Route Type Snow and Rock (99 h) Hut Hörnli Hut (3,260 m2.026 miles
10,695.538 ft
Difficulty Rating AD+ AD+ Difficulty Rating F F
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1218 m0.757 miles
3,996.063 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 1652 m1.027 miles
5,419.948 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 2870 m1.783 miles
9,416.011 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1327: Evolène, Template:9999 (Maps)

Hörnli ridge is a very demanding climb and it is recommended to practise the route in daylight. One can sleep in the Hörnli hut which is at 3200 m altitude or at the camping place next to it. Climbing is best to start 2:00 a.m. After have passed two hill like formations one arrives on the third hill. Here one needs to follow the corner up and do plenty of zigzag.

Now one will start ascending on more complicated ridge, which has plenty of tiny peaks. Face climbing in darkness can be difficult, but staying in the middle helps finding the route.

At the end of the peak period one meets a breathtaking few meters long path at the right side of the route. One should secure here with a rope. Now one starts to go towards left and on the East-face.

There are still two lonely peaks, but one should climb at the left side and near the peaks. Ascending on the face is complicated and there are several routes. Sometimes climbers have left own anchors which can give wrong directions from the best route. When one starts to see the Solvay hut from one of the tiny ridges facing towards south, one should climb straight upwards. Last 50 meters require plenty of handclimbing techniques and one should use rope twice before reaching the hut. The steep snow terrain provides an ultimate danger. At the Solvay hut one is also at the middle of climb upwards. Now it is also good time to eat and drink. The route higher does not provide more than a few proper sitting places where one could eat. Straight after the hut one needs to climb over a tiny boulder, which is not easy. Here starts a snowy period with a narrow ridge. Climbing becomes more complicated now, the last 400 m require plenty of attention. Here one is more connected to steep North-face and there is enough stainless steel o-rings to secure with a rope, when going upwards. When one has climbed until the end of the ridge one can have a break at the start of the dome, where is one good sitting place. The dome itself has now a rope support. It does not last long, but it is quick to use and very welcome. The dome is steep, and one can still use short axe, which is very beneficial tool on Matterhorn.

There is a statue next to Switzerland summit and one should climb towards it and avoid the East-face, which is now at dangerous distance.

From the Switzerland summit one can still continue on the Italian summit. This is actually the only section where one would like to use walking poles, but it can be done with an axe too.

Climbing back can be compared to climb upwards. It is difficult and rope should be used with a belay device. With a belay device one will go faster and save plenty of energy.

The dome requires rope use all the way down on the Hörnli ridge. One should avoid throwing rope too much on the right side, where rope gets easily stucked. East-face usually does not have any snow on it and rock surfaces are very broken. The ridge period can be descenced without rope, but it is still good to secure with a help of rope. The last boulder before the Solvay hut is best climbed with a rope and naturally then more secure. After the hut one can still use rope twice and start descending towards the peak ridge. Even the first 50 m are difficult one can use roughly 50 m wide climbing terrain to avoid other climbers coming up and then start descending towards left. It is best to follow the same route down where one came up. Climbing takes all day and one needs to sleep the second night on the mountain before descending down to Zermatt.

[edit] Zmutt ridge, AD

Zmutt ridge is more difficult to climb than Hörnli ridge and the route up takes longer to climb. The ridge is at the west side of the mountain, therefore Schönbiel hut is often preferred.

[edit] Lion ridge, D III+

Lion ridge has been classified like the second easiest route to climb, being slightly harder than Hörnli ridge. Climb starts at the Italian side

[edit] Furggen ridge, TD

Furggen ridge is the most difficult way of reaching top of the Matterhorn. One can sleep in the Bivacco Bossi Hut.

[edit] Overview

Route Name Hei. Dif. Dur. (h) Type Rock ° Valley Hut S. Gain Maps
Matterhorn: Hörnli ridge 4,478 m2.783 miles
14,691.601 ft
HAD+ 99 Snow and Rock Zermatt Hörnli Hut 1,218 m0.757 miles
3,996.063 ft
1327, Template:9999

Hei.:Height, Dif.: Difficulty, Dur.: Duration, S. Gain: Meters from hut to summit
Summit map is always listed first. If a map is used for 2 km and another map for 1 km, the 2 km map will be listed before the 1 km map. Overview of the Swiss maps & Italian maps.

[edit] Additional Photos

File:Portal Switzerland Italy|Switzerland|Italy portal
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