Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Climbing Matterhorn

Regional discussion and conditions reports for Europe. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Europe Climbing Partners section.
 

Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby Moni » Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:49 pm

Depending on conditions, the top part is often iced up so that you need to be comfortable climbing on mixed terrain in crampons, even in mid summer. The rock is very bad. You should practice scrambling on bad rock and talus in exposed places to make sure you have the confidence and balance. Some guides will not take clients with no climbing expereince, since the guide is relying on you, too. However, when Fred and I climbed it in 1985, there were plenty of people being guided who very obviously had little experience and many who where unguided who had no business being there. The day we arrived at the hut, a person had to be helicoptered out, because he was severely injured by rockfall. There are an average of 40 accidents each year and 12 people per year die on the Matterhorn.
It is very expensive - the <a href="http://www2.zermatt.ch/alpincenter/">local guide's office </a> charges about 1200 CHF per person. They will not guide you unless you have done one other climb with one of their guides. So you are probably in it for at least 3000 CHF each. Guides from outside Zermatt charge about the same and usually want to be sure you know what you are doing.

The more experience you have, the better. You will also enjoy it much more.
User Avatar
Moni

 
Posts: 2242
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2002 11:15 am
Location: Spokane, Washington, United States
Thanked: 4 times in 3 posts

Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby Rick B » Fri Nov 25, 2005 2:59 am

Generally speaking, it's a very bad idea to start your climbing career with a high mountain like matterhorn. It would be way better if you first gather some experience over a few years, and then come back once you know what you're doing.

If you are definitely set on climbing it this summer and prepared to spend any amount of money on it I think the best thing you could do is to first do a climbing course in the alps (there's plenty of them), that take you through the basics in a week, or two weeks, and then afterwards while everything is still fresh attempt Matterhorn (with a guide of course!!)

But really, there's plenty of great mountains out there that are probably even much more fun than Matterhorn, so my advice is to first go climbing a few of those, gather some experience over the years, do a course or two (which is a good idea anyway), and then later you can always come back and climb Matterhorn.
User Avatar
Rick B

 
Posts: 934
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2002 4:41 pm
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
Thanked: 14 times in 10 posts

Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby Moni » Fri Nov 25, 2005 3:09 pm

If you enroll in a climbing course you will get the needed training and also climb some mountains. Many of the peaks in the area are not too tough, if you understand glacier travel (Breithorn, Castor, Pollux). However, for the Matterhorn you have to a be competent at scrambling on really poor, very exposed rock. There should be peaks in Norway, on which to gain this experience.

Patience is a skill that is critical, if you want to climb a long time. You will climb the Matterhorn - but have the patience (and wisdom) to wait until you have the skill and experience to do so safely. You should not buy your way up a mountain

The other problem is that the peaks in this area are very high, especially when compared to Norway. You need to spend some time acclimatizing to the elevation, too, before attempting a long serious climb.
User Avatar
Moni

 
Posts: 2242
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2002 11:15 am
Location: Spokane, Washington, United States
Thanked: 4 times in 3 posts

Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby brenta » Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:34 am

Dan, I second rbi and Moni's recommendation that you take a climbing course. Last summer I was returning to technical climbing after a very long hiatus. I took a course with the guides of Courmayeur and have been very happy I did. I particularly recommend my instructor <a href="http://web.tiscali.it/cesa/">Christian Cesa</a>.

Get some good book on mountaineering and read it carefully. This will increase your ability to absorb the many notions and techniques you will be taught.

The importance of acclimatization should not be underestimated, but if you plan wisely, one month in the Alps should allow you to get properly acclimatized. I'd try to exploit Norway's long winter to perfect my gear and knowledgeable use thereof.

Don't be afraid to give up if conditions are not favorable. You may discover that you are not ready two weeks before your attempt, or you may find that the weather has suddenly changed when you are only one hundred meters below the summit.

Having a lofty goal like yours is quite nice, but half the pleasure is in the expectation. So, even if it takes longer than one year for you to climb the Matterhorn, you'll just have more time to savor your quest.
User Avatar
brenta

 
Posts: 1978
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:43 am
Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 20 times in 16 posts

Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby signorellil » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:14 pm

I absolutely agree that the idea of taking the Courmayeur guides training course is a good idea (of course :) - the course is one of the most respected around. I also agree on Christian being an excellent instructor and guide. Getting in touch with him is definitely a good move if you're serious on trying Matterhorn (at very least he will give you a professional opinion on this)

As an alternative, another Courmayeur guide who's an excellent choice for beginners is Ivan Negro. He's very patient, skilled, really safety conscious and a great guy. If you're interested, let me know and I'll pass his contact
signorellil

 
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 4:53 pm
Location: Torino, Italy
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby Bas Visscher » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:38 pm

Hi Dan,

Alpine climbing courses are really expensive too! The costs for a 7 day course will be around 600 euro or maybe more, including guide costs, hut costs, food, excluding the rental of material. If the course is going well, you should be able to attempt the Matterhorn with a guide. Climbing the route without a guide requires years of experience.

answers on your questions:
1. the more time you spend on acclimatization, the better you climb. After 4 weeks of climbing on altitude (climb some 4000m peaks), your acclimatization for the alps is very good. But the Matterhorn might be well possible after one or two weeks, if you climb 3 or 4 mountains above 3500m. It just depends on how you feel during these climbs if you are ready for the matterhorn
2. In Zermatt you can rent at several places good mountain equipment.
3. There is a very bad camping in Zermatt, near the station. The camping of Tasch is much better. (1,5 hour walking of zermatt or you can take the train). You can also make a biwak somewhere in the forest, however i think that will be forbidden.

GreetZ Bas
User Avatar
Bas Visscher

 
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:29 am
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby signorellil » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:44 pm

Courmayeur guides operates almost everywhere in the Alps.However, none of these will bring you on the Matterhorn if they don't feel you're ready for it. The standard approach is to make one or several "test" ascents before trying such a delicate mountain. In alternative, they will direct you on one of the available course.
signorellil

 
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 4:53 pm
Location: Torino, Italy
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby brenta » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:25 pm

I remember paying 720 € for a six-day course, including lodging and food. It was a real bargain if you think of the many hours of instruction and climbing that one gets in return. Consider also the qualifications required of these instructors and compare to what it would cost you to get a one-hour tennis or ski lesson.

Another plus for me was that they were able to hold the course at the exact dates that fit my very busy travel schedule. That happened, at least in part, because I contacted them early.

I don't think carrying your equipment by train would be a problem. I carried mine by plane. Besides, you do not need to carry a rope or a climbing rack. They will give you a detailed list of what you need to have. You can rent or buy on site, and they will be able to help you for that.
User Avatar
brenta

 
Posts: 1978
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:43 am
Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 20 times in 16 posts

Next

Return to Europe

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.