Matterhorn ascent

The Matterhorn’s astonishing beauty and fascinating history has been drawing visitors from around the world for more than a century. For many alpinists, climbing this mountain is both a challenge and a lifelong dream.

The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn can be climbed via the four ridges in summer and at the beginning of autumn. The standard Swiss route heads over the Hörnli ridge and was the route chosen by both Edward Whymper and Peter Taugwalder (Senior and Junior) for the first Matterhorn ascent on 14 July 1865. The standard Italian route heads over the Lion ridge. The Zmutt and Furgg ridges are rarely used as they are more challenging than the standard routes. There is a small emergency bivouac - the Solvay Hut - at 4,003 metres on the Hörnli ridge, fitted with an SOS phone.

First ascents

At 4,478 metres, this four-thousander was first climbed by a roped party of seven alpinists. On the descent, the four climbers at the front of the party (Michel Croz, Douglas Robert Hadow, Charles Hudson and Francis Douglas) fell to their deaths on the North face. A little under six years later, Lucy Walker was the first woman to reach the summit. Unlike the men’s first ascent, the first ascent by women wasn’t a head-to-head race with an Italian roped party, but with American climber Meta Brevoort. When Miss Walker learned of Brevoort’s arrival, she quickly assembled a party and was the first woman to reach the summit of the Matterhorn.

The following information is intended to help climbers prepare for a Matterhorn ascent. It is recommended to climb with a local mountain guide.

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Frequently asked questions about the Matterhorn ascent:

In addition to the climber's excellent physical fitness and experience with crampons in mixed terrain, the right choice of route on the Matterhorn is crucial for a successful ascent.

For safety reasons, the mountain guide only takes one guest on the rope.

The price only includes the mountain guide fee. The overnight stay in a mountain hut and the cable car to Schwarzsee are not included in the price.

If conditions permit, the ideal time for an ascent is from the 1st July to the 20th July and towards the end of August to mid-September.
During this time there is usually less activity on the mountain (although there may be some days which are very busy during this time).

The best time is from the beginning/middle of July to the middle of September.

An additional return ticket for the route from Zermatt to Schwarzsee is an advantage. Tickets are available here.

The Matterhorn is one of the most challenging mountains in the Alps. Excellent physical fitness (endurance) and very good acclimatisation are a prerequisite. It is also important to undertake intensive training in advance.