Inside the hut, the pecking order is clear: climbers who are tackling the Matterhorn with a mountain guide are at the front of the queue. Those scaling the peak unassisted follow. This is for safety reasons: any climber straying from the official route becomes a hazard for those below, in case of rockfall.
Early in the morning, before dawn, the procession of mountaineers winds up the Hörnligrat ridge, each climber carrying a head torch. This is the famous “Head Lamp Parade”, visible through binoculars even from Zermatt. On days with good weather in July and August, up to 200 climbers and mountain guides scale the Matterhorn.
Mountain refuge with a rich history
The first accommodation here, at 3,260 m, opened in 1880: the Hörnli hut, with 17 beds. It was built by the Monte Rosa section of the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). Since then, it has served many mountaineers as a base for ascents of the Matterhorn, and also as a place of refuge in poor weather. In 1911, the municipality of Zermatt built the Belvédère mountain guest house (the white building). 2013/2014: construction of the grey annex to the Belvédère.
- Online bookings here
- Photo subject: Hörnligrat ridge on the Matterhorn
- View of the Matter valley and the Bernese Alps
“Der Wächter des Matterhorns – mein Leben auf der Hörnlihütte”, by Kurt Lauber. Published by Droemer Verlag, 2012. Available in German and possibly Japanese. ISBN 978-3-426-27573-3.
“The Alps and our Planet – The African Matterhorn: a Geological Story”, by Michel Marthaler, published by Editions L.E.P., 2005. Also available in French, German and Italian. ISBN 978-2-606-01155-0