Matterhorn - Monte Cervino Climber's Log
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|Nyle Walton||Route Climbed: Hornli Ridge Date Climbed: August 3, 1955|
| On leave from my army post in Rochefort-sur-mer, France, I took trains to Zermatt and hired a guide called Emil Julen. Emil had been recommended to me by my older brother who met him a year earlier when he was on leave from the army in Germany. The weather was overcast when I hiked up to the Schwartzsee Hotel where Emil was waiting for me. We shook hands and proceeded to hike up to the Belvedere hotel/hut just under the Matterhorn pyramid still lost in the cloudy overcast. Since my arrival in Zermatt I had yet to catch sight of the fabled peak rising immediately above us. We had supper and then I bedded down for the night under a big down quilt. I did not sleep well, worrying about the awesome undertaking I was to face the next day. |
Emil roused me out of bed at four am. After a hot breakfast, he led me up to the base of the Matterhorn pyramid which loomed sharply and darkly against a starry sky. We roped up and began a steep ascent on the Hornli Ridge. Emil instructed me to follow his foot steps and to "walk on eggs." The next four hours were sheer terror as I had a hard time realizing where I was and what I was doing. Above the Salvoy Hut, we caught up with a Stanford coed and her guide. I suffered masculine humiliation when this woman advised me on how to climb and cautioned me not to lean in toward the rockface. However as the sun rose and we reached the shoulder of the Matterhorn, we left her behind as I more confidently followed Emil up the snow-covered shoulder of the Matterhorn to the famous overhang. Emil belayed me as I went hand over hand up the free-hanging fixed ropes onto the roof of the mountain. By ten o'clock we stood on the Swiss summit. The Stanford coed and her guide caught up with us. I photographed them and then handed my camera to Emil who took my picture as a I stood there in triumph. However his aim was poor and he cut off my legs. Thus I do not have a picture of me with my boots standing on the top of the Matterhorn.
The weather was cold and windy with only the highest summits of the Alps visible above a sea of clouds. We remained on the summit for less than a half hour before we undertook a very cautious descent. It took four hours for Emil to carefully lower me from ledge to ledge back down the Hornli ridge. Just above the Belvedere Hotel Emil and I parted company. Emil loped down the path to meet another client at the Schwarzsee Hotel. With poor weather the norm that summer, he was eager to get work whenever he could.
In Zermatt the next day I futilely searched for that assertive woman with whom I had shared the Matterhorn's summit, hoping to ignite a romance. Two days later I paid Emil his fee of forty dollars, all that a guide charged fifty years ago to pull a novice up the Matterhorn. Forty dollars then had the buying power of from four to eight hundred dollars or more now.
Back in Rochefort three weeks later. I saw an article in the Stars and Stripes, the armed forces tabloid, on how a guideless pair, a young American from Colorado and an Englishmen, had fallen to their deaths from the Matterhorn. When I revisited Zermatt four years later I pondered over their graves and expressed my gratitude to Emil for sparing me from a similar tragic fate.
Today on my den wall is a poster-size kodachrome photograph of the Tiger of the Alps framed by Arolla pines. It shows me standing in the center of the picture two days after I had stood on its peak. I was quite skinny then, being sixty pounds lighter than I am now at age seventy-seven (see it among the Matterhorn photos).
I wonder if Emil is still alive. In 1959 Emil told me he had lost a brother from a rockfall on the Dom de Mischabel. He must be in his early eighties by now (2010). I still have a photo of Emil with rope and ice ax peering upwards toward the mountain. His care and expertise helped me realize the crowning achievement of my youth, a climb of that supreme symbol of mountaineering.
|Posted Oct 29, 2003 9:29 am|
|Rahel Maria Liu||Route Climbed: Hörnli-Ridge Date Climbed: August 8th, 2003|
|I climbed Matterhorn free soloing via Hörnli-Ridge. |
This was the fist part of what my new friends, whom I got to know in my "basecamp" on the great camping ground in Randa-Attermenzen during my 4 weeks, which I stayed there, called my "Trilogy". Originally, it was not planned at all. It just happened: the solo climbs of Matterhorn, Zinalrothorn and Weisshorn.
There was a lot of rockfall on this ridge, especially in the evening, 10 minutes, a big avalanche of rocks fell down ....
Some days before, a german climber got killed on Lion-Ridge due to rockfall.
This year is not a good year in order to climb Matterhorn.
Besides me, about 50 other people climbed Matterhorn via Hörnli-Ridge on this day. Therefore I did not really feel, as if I climbed it free soloing.
|Posted Aug 25, 2003 5:48 pm|
|vbeckman74||Route Climbed: hornli Date Climbed: 21 July 2003|
|I left with my guide, Andrew, at 0400. We reached the summit at 0800. The weather was overcast and on the descent we had thunder, lightning and hail. Five minutes after we reached the Hornlihutte it poured ice and rain. It was lucky timing. The route barely had any ice on it. We wore crampons for only a small portion and some parties didn't even put crampons on. It's basically a very long scramble with great protection in the steeper spots. The route finding is very difficult. Some guides had summitted four times and still needed a little guidance from the senior guys. KNOW THE ROUTE IF YOU GO IT ALONE.|
|Posted Jul 22, 2003 1:29 pm|
|matterhorn mel||Route Climbed: Hornli Route Date Climbed: 26th August 2001 |
Date Climbed: Aug 26, 2001
|Left the Hornli Hut about 5am with Swiss Guide "Tommy". Conditions were perfect, reached the Solvay Hut about 8am without any real difficulties, had a drink and a quick bite to eat before setting off again. Apart from being too warm everything went fine to the Shoulder - then my Crampons went tumbling down the Mountain, good old Tommy went after them (I belayed him) they had lodged behind a rock not too far down. Set off again, Crampons intact for the Summit. Climbed the fixed ropes ok, we hit the Summit about 10am. Not bad for someone who had never done any rope climbing in their life. Although I did get some experience on an indoor rock wall first. So 5 hours to the top, 20 minutes rest stop for food, drink and photos, then we headed slowly down which took 4 hours (we abseiled quite a bit) we were having a beer in the Hornli Hut just after 2pm. Without a doubt my very best day out. Oh! would I do it again, are you joking, you bet I would. Fantastic!|
|Posted Jun 27, 2003 5:04 pm|
|Samuli Mansikka||Route Climbed: Hörnli-ridge Date Climbed: June 2002|
|Made it in june 2002 through the Hörnli ridge.|
|Posted Nov 3, 2002 12:21 pm|
|Moni||Route Climbed: Hörnli Date Climbed: 19 Aug 1985|
|Climbed with Fred Spicker. So many people, many of whom underestimated the length and exposure of the climb. Weather started to turn bad, but we made it down ahead of the fog.|
|Posted Aug 13, 2002 8:01 am|
|Chamonix Man||Route Climbed: Hornli ridge Date Climbed: 24th august 2001|
|"Climbed with one other guy, no guide. Left crowded Hornli Hut with mad rush at 0500, route finding was easy because of the number of people, would be a nightmare if it wasn't for that. The climb was fun, particularly the last third. We reached the summit at 0940 (4hrs and 40 mins)|
Spent 20mins at the top and then we descended in 5hrs15mins. Descent was the most nerve-racking part and route finding was a little tricky for the bottom third.
It is a serious peak despite the lack of technical difficulty, any mistake becomes very serious because of the steepness of the mountain and because people tend to move together (rather than pitching it) for speed. 4 people died the week before we climbed and we saw a nasty accident that was not fatal.
Prepare well (fitness, acclimatisation, and tecnical competence) good luck!"
|Posted Aug 9, 2002 5:58 am|
|Fred Spicker||Route Climbed: Hornligrat Date Climbed: 19 Aug 1985|
|Climbed with Monica Spicker.|
Took it slowly and carefully up and down and made it without incident. Reached the top between the guided groups and the slower groups, so we actually had the Swiss summit to ourselves for about 20 minutes.
|Posted Jul 25, 2002 1:23 pm|
|phillinley||Route Climbed: Hornligrat Date Climbed: July 24, 2002|
|Never in my life have I been so frustrated, frightened and exhilirated all at one time. I was lucky enough to have absolutely perfect conditions. Clear skies with a full moon at the start which helped the route finding at the start, almost no wind and only about 50 or so people on the whole mountain.|
|Posted Jul 25, 2002 10:13 am|
|Lorenz||Route Climbed: Lion Ridge Date Climbed: August 25th 2001|
|I found my partner on Internet as he attended the summit already twice in the past while I didn't know anything about Matterhorn. We found excellent conditions and reach the summit in 4h 30 from Carrel hutte. Great ascension, too much crowded probably. But we are talking of Matterhorn!|
|Posted Jul 15, 2002 5:45 am|
|ocelot||Route Climbed: Hornli Ridge (NE) Date Climbed: August, 1969|
|When I was 18, my Dad and I traveled Europe together, climbed in the Alps, and culminated the adventure by climbing the Matterhorn together. What a trip - what a Dad! It was a life-changing experience.|
|Posted Jul 9, 2002 8:43 pm|
|vstarc16||Route Climbed: Hoernligrat Date Climbed: 7. August. 2001.|
|We reached the summit at 17.15 due to great crowd and some tehnical problems. In a descend could not find a roue at 4100 m and bivouaced the night on a ledge. It started to snow during the night, at 6 we started to descend toward Solvay bivouac, reached at 8.00 (there were 10 of us abseiling, because some tried for the top). Stayed the day in a Solvay because was exorsted from the bivouac, next day it was 20 cm of fresh snow, and very soon visibility was les then 30 m and constantly snowing. Waited at 3800 for 2 h for fog to partialy clear up, but in the following descent went into E face, have to climb for 100 m again to Belvedere and reached it at 17.30. At that moment were able to see Hoernli hut, but it eould be impossible to reach it in remaining daylight so we built snowall (it was enough of it) to close a small niche and spent another night bivouacking. Morning was flowless, but it was 50 cm of fresh snow and awalanches ware already pouring on the E face, and we opted for evacuation by helicopter.|
|Posted Jun 30, 2002 9:37 am|
|Plizi||Route Climbed: Hornli ridge Date Climbed: june 2001|
|We didnt go with very good conditions but we was lucky|
about that becouse there no people on the route and the climb was in calm atmosphere with good friends
for good climber I think it is better Zmutt grat or someting else to reach the top of this star mountain
|Posted Jun 21, 2002 4:41 am|
|billaknz||Route Climbed: Hornli Ridge Date Climbed: August 18, 2000|
Date Climbed: Aug 18, 2000
|Not technically hard, but it defeated me on my first attempt in 1997. Be in great condition and spend a week in advance doing other 4000M climbs. It's as consistently hard coming down as going up. Rock climbing experience is needed. An indoor wall might suffice if that is your only option. Practice on a fixed rope as this technique is essential above the shoulder. On the day, carb up big and take plenty of drink. With this preparation, a friendly guide (there are too many false routes) and a head for heights, you will have a decent chance of making the summit. The objective dangers are unrelenting and the scale is bigger than you might imagine, but all the holds are there. It's as mentally hard as it is a physical challenge. An intense 10 hours in my life, six up and four down. You will never regret the experience. Stress on your job will never seem as bad again. Disappointed my partner Diane Baldwin (Blackburn,UK) was not with me on the summit. If you're thinking of climbing the Matterhorn and have questions, feel free to email me. Good luck, Bill Hood |
|Posted Feb 11, 2002 2:56 am|
|JScoles||Route Climbed: Horni Ridge Date Climbed: June 30th 2001|
|Being one who has climbed Assiniboine and other Canadian Rockies I can assure you that mountain no matter how Picture Perfect is a skree heap. Well at least for the parts that weren’t covered in 3 meters of snow. |
I was in Zermatt from June 22 to July 1 and depending on whom you talk to it is either the best skiing in 20 years or the worst climbing in 30. There was and most likely still will be winter snow levels on the mountain at least till the end of July. The Guides are not even considering taking anyone up the Matterhorn until the 25th and even then they offer no guarantees.
This time of year the snow is of very poor quality. It is very hot during the day 15-25c at 4000m and warm at night 1 to –6. I managed to get most of the way up to the second hut but had to turn back simply because I was sinking down through 20-30cn of powder and occasionally through the crust underneath. Once or twice past waist level right up to my chest. Even of good pair of bear-paw or Algonquin’s (Canadian snowshoes) wouldn't have helped much.
I am not disappointed at all after all the mountain is not going anywhere so I can always go back.
My start day was June 30th and as far as I know I was the only climber on the mount. I started at Hotel Schwarzsee (the Hörnli Hut was closed and still may be for a little while as of the 5th only the winter hut was open) at 2.30 am weather was fine but it wind (30-50kph) picked up early at about 6am.
The famed lower route that everyone can’t seem to find was no real problem since by the time I got to the Hörnli Hut at 4 am the sun was already up and there was a well defined snow trail leading up. The route time to the second hut should be about 3 to 4 hours at most in summer less in winter but by around 8.30 am I was still not there. I went on for one more hour and got to a snowfield that lead up to it. Perhaps 100 meters below. The field was undisturbed powder snow about 45cm deep with some curst but mainly rocks underneath. This is were I decided to call it in and turn around. Physically I was feeling fine but with the wind still strong and wispy clouds starting to come of the peak and it neighbors (never a good sign) it was the wise choice. Basically it just was getting too unsafe to climb alone and without a mobile phone on the mountain.
I did stop for lunch in an alcove out of the wind and was surprised how much stuff was coming of the mountain. You could hear a constant din of rock fall as the snow melted and let them go. You could see them as well falling just off route. The temp by the way was about 16c in the sun at well over 3900m very hot to say the least.
The trip down was rather fast as I hade a 300m 9mm rope to rap down on and there are lots of chains bolts etc about to hook up to. Near the bottom I even got in some boot skiing on some of the less exposed bits. I was at the Hörnli hut by about 4:30 pm and it was full of climbers (25-30 the winter hut holds 15) there to try to climb it the next day. Most who could speak English gave me the usual third degree about conditions and I happily gave them my opinions. I made it back to Schwarzsee in time for double helping of dinner (thanks Hans) and to pack as it was my last day. The next morning when I was off I had a good look at the peak and no one was at the snow field below the second hut by 10:00 am and the weather closed in again so I figured no one was getting up it that day.
All in all a good recce for my next trip in a year of two. From what I have heard the conditions have only worsened this year with three deaths just after I attempted to climb it. Hopefully the fall climbing will be better.
|Posted Oct 2, 2001 4:26 am|