Zermatt: No Sherpas for hiking path restoration


Ten Nepalese Sherpas had been invited to restore Zermatt‘s hiking path to the Hörnlihütte at the foot of the Matterhorn. However, with the responsible authorities withholding respective work permits, the project cannot be implemented. Zermatt is now looking for a Swiss solution.

“Of course, the hiking path to the Hörnlihütte can be used at present”, explains Daniel Luggen, Director of Zermatt Tourism. “However, we want to restore the path to the newly renovated Hörnlihütte in time for the anniversary year 2015”.

Zermatt has had close contact with the Sherpas in Nepal for many years. The links arose when the Zermatt Mountain Rescue Station and Air Zermatt helped develop a rescue system in the Himalaya. The hiking path restoration project was conceived to promote mutual development and consolidate existing links.  

The Hörnliweg, which is to be restored in an environmentally compatible way, should blend naturally into the surrounding environment. Zermatt does not want to commission a construction company. This is not due to financial reasons but to the fact that neither machines nor concrete are to be used. Sherpas from Nepal have the respective construction expertise and are capable of great physical efforts in a high mountain environment.

Zermatt‘s Council Leader, Christoph Bürgin is disappointed: “It is regrettable that red tape is scuppering our restoration project with the Sherpas.” Bürgin is in contact with a representative of the Migration Office in Bern. “The signals I am getting are quite clear: Despite numerous efforts, the permits will not be granted.” The community of Zermatt now has to drop the Sherpa project and is looking to find a Swiss solution.

Hörnliweg restoration – facts and figures

Current condition Hiking path is accessible (T2 and T3)
Restoration Necessary due to erosion and weather damage
Hörnliweg route From Schwarzsee cable car station (2,583 m) to
the Hörnlihütte (3,260 m)
Length Approx. 3,300 m distance, 667 m altitude
Planned restoration Mid-July to mid-September 2014
Objective Restored hiking path to Hörnlihütte for "150 years
first ascent of the Matterhorn"
Hörnlihütte Re-opening: July 2015. 2014 closed for renovation

 Sherpas  (pdf - 212.03 kB)

Hörnli trail

Kurt Müller
© Kurt Müller
1800px x 1205px (563.12 kB)

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