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Climbing Matterhorn

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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby bbirtle » Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:26 am

Diggler,
SummitPost.org is great for dreaming and browsing around, but the guidebook you want is "Valais Alps West" by the British Alpine Club. It has two pages of description on the Zmutt Ridge and two decent photographs... it's supposed to be really nice, doable with just a few pieces of pro since you simulclimb most of it. Rock is supposed to be decent.

- Brian
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby Diggler » Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:34 am

Thanks, Brian. Will try to remember that when I start making plans! -Dirk
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby Moni » Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:56 am

We have the BAC guide and have bad luck with it on some routes. As in totally wrong info. Be sure to ask some locals before setting out or get someone to translate the SAC guidebooks for you (I could).
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby Diggler » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:40 am

Will heed that advice, Moni. Always a good idea to research various sources before setting out on an expensive, potentially hazardous undertaking! Vielen Dank fuers Uebersetzungsangebot, but I think I'll give it a try meself first. :)
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby JScoles » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:08 pm

Zmutt is a great ridge but it has changed considerably of the past few seasons due to a lack of snow on the Matterhorn.

Forget about the traverse under the North face from the Matterhorn hut and the hut at the bottom of the Zmutt which is still in many guide books was demolished by an avalanche back in I think 99. So you most likely have to bivy near the base of the ridge or a long start from the Schonbiehutte.

BTW I agree with Moni the BAC guidesbooks are now quite out of date. Do not trust them 100%
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby Rick B » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:18 pm

Desainme, to me you are the unchallenged king of cool rhetorics, weird analogies, and odd-knowledge :-) Love the christmas dinner comparison... And I just bumped into <a href="http://www.summitpost.org/mountains/photo_link.pl?photo_id=158979&object_id=18630&type=user#154341">this one</a> 5 minutes ago :-)
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby bbirtle » Thu Dec 01, 2005 4:19 pm

There's an online correction/addendum for the BAC guidebooks on their website, somewhere (google it) -- it mentions for example that the Solvay Hut was destroyed by avalanche. Of course any guidebook is prone to mistakes and the more sources you consult the better. We had planned to do the Zmutt ridge this summer but the good conditions weren't there when we needed them.

Others had done the Zmutt ridge starting very early from the Hornli Hutte traversing under the North Face, although they said the point where you must cross a rock barrier in between two hanging glaciars, during the traverse, was the worst part - very loose dangerous rock although only for one pitch. Seems exposed to stonefall but this was I think how people were mostly approaching it last year...
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby JScoles » Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:17 pm

Ok got the link for AC guidebooks of the alps

here it is

<a traget='_new' href='http://www.alpine-club.org.uk/publications/guidebooks.html'>updates </A>
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby signorellil » Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:42 pm

If anyone is intereste to check how the Italian ridge is, take a look to the pictures of this link

http://www.kaps.it/pagine/montagna/gite ... carrel.php
(up to the Carrel Hut)

http://www.kaps.it/pagine/montagna/gite ... oleone.php
(from the Carrel hut to the summit)

The text is in Italian, but the pictures are self explanatory.
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby livioz » Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:52 pm

Very interesting links, Luca: thank you very much!
And the same holds for the home page of the
<A href="http://www.kaps.it">site</A>
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby John Climber » Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:27 am

Dan,

When reading all the post you have placed here over your plans on the Matterhorn (whatever ridge) and reading over your experience, my advise is NOT to climb this mountain.
At least, not yet.

Climbing such a mountain is a very serious job, and more difficult than what people think. Surely for someone with your experience. Basically, because when I read what your experience is I think (my opinion from this far away side in front of my laptop,...I might be wrong and sorry in this case), and do not get offended, that you do not have serious mountain experience. Me nether, by the way.

My advice is YES to go to Zermatt (or some other place, but there at least you can see 'your mountain') and join a alpine course. Make it hard, so not the easiest course. Join something a little bit harder. Meanwhile, I advise to practise at home, in the climbingwall first and then outside as first of the rope in steep and off-groud terrein (exposed). You could learn some rope technnics yourself.

Then, I advice, to do some alpine climb yourself in the alps. Try some easy mountains with rock climbing. Then you see if you like it. It could be guided or not guided, but take it easy.

After two years, of so, you may be prepared to climb Monte Cervino yourself (I still advice a guide then).

Sorry that I am so hard, Dan, but mountaineering is a question of a lot of experience. And for this you should practise, have patience,...nobody wants to have an unpleasant climb, or an accident.

You could see this whole project of two or three years before you climb Matterhorn as a sort of 'way towards' the Matterhorn. When you are building experience to climb this mountain you are, somehow, climbing this mountain already despite you are not on its ridge yet.

Finally, my excuses if you think I did a mistake about your experience and you are offended about that. I do not want to offend anyone, but make him/her aware of an honest and realistic judgement about own experience and possibilities.

I hear about your plans.

John
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby bbirtle » Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:56 pm

If I'm the guy who lives in Zermatt for the record I only climbed it once. See earlier comments but basically I'm of the opinion that it's fine. But Dan have you called the Zermatt Mountain office yet? Why don't you explain to them you situation and ask their opinion, as I suggested. They probably get a question like yours once a day, they deal with 1000s of clients of wildly varying experience levels, so I think they'll be able to tell you what's up very authoritatively. I think at the worst they will say "how about go do a few smaller peaks first", and so, you add that to your training program.

Unless Dan is a complete klutz who trips going up stairs, I figure the worst that can happen is he burns 1100 swiss francs after turning around halfway because he's too tired or can't hack the climbing. Either way, I say dive right in!
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Re: Climbing Matterhorn

Postby bbirtle » Sun Dec 11, 2005 8:33 pm

Dan, no worries.

Just throwing out ideas, but for 1100 CHF, you could probably buy an entire alpine kit for climbing peaks like the Matterhorn (rope, crampons, slings, carabiners, belay device, ice axe) not including stuff you need to buy regardless of whether you're taking a guide (boots, waterproofs, etc.). A couple books about climbing for your self-study, a year climbing gym membership, and a year membership to your local alpine club. All of the above for around 1100 CHF, I mean.

No you can't safely climb the Matterhorn without a guide just with the above, but add around two dozen progressively longer and more difficult alpine routes similar to the Matterhorn (rock at AD and slightly mixed terrain at the top) and you probably could. I could even imagine a good training program:

1) Use the alpine club membership (on simple outings, learning from classes or team members) and gym membership to get famililar with climbing, knots, etc. Bring your mountaineering boots into the gym and get used to climbing with them.

2) Climb a few very easy snow peaks to get the idea of crampons and basic alpine rope work. Breithorn, Castor, etc.

3) Climb progressively harder and longer rock routes: Lagginhorn, Pollux, (and a few more in here), Zinal Rothorn. The Zinal Rothorn is a good approximation for the Matterhorn.

4) Matterhorn Hornli Ridge!

Just an idea should you, like me, enjoy the satisfication of doing things independently... it's definitely possible... although not just technical experience but "time on the mountain" counts too -- "mountain judgement" on this kind of peak being far more important than technical skill -- so I would suggest you need about 2-3 years of good solid experience "on the mountain" before you attempt something like the Matterhorn.

OK not the easiest way, but the feeling of climbing the Matterhorn with just you and a friend is completely different and far better than being dragged up by a guide. Not for everyone, not for those without patience, time, and a deep desire to "learn how to climb", but worth it for some!
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