It was a life-long dream to climb this dramatic pyramid. It took me years of preparation and delays before I reached the summit in the company of my 2 sons (more details in Trip Report).
Had no intention of going for the summit, just a bit of a recon' trip. Climbed the first two pitches. found the route in a lite covering of snow. Worth doing so if i go back i now know the section that i will be doing in the dark.
Retreat on 4000m, bad incoming weather.
a wonderful weather(0 degre celsius at 4500m)
We started from the Hornli hut at 4.45 am and reached the summit at 8.15.
I juste struggled a lit a bit at the end of the fixed ropes section leading to the summit snow slope:
The is a mobile ladder you have to hold from one hand and at the same time getting with the other a rope to lift you to the last terrasse.
My timing was wrong and i needed 3 trials!
That left me without strength in my forearms.
I realised then the route is very difficult to find and that you could easily get lost on the east face which could be fatal.
Indeed i witnessed a huge rocks fall on the east face and was told it is not unusual.
I needed 3 hours to climb down as you have to be very careful and keep your full concentration.
What a great experience!
A very crowded but still enjoyable route. Only 3,5 hours up, but more than 4 hours down again because of the crowds heading up. Secondly we had some minor routefinding problems on the east face as well (wasted 15 minutes)
Pictures and trip report on my website:
started 1:45 in Hörnli hut and reached the summit 19:45, then went down to solvay where we rested till morning
conditions: not bad, a bit to warm, a lot of rocks coming down from Hörnligrat
climbed n/e ridge with swiss guide rolf regli on a beautiful friday 13 in sept,85 .had my official summit certificate signed by edmund petrig.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Made it in june 2002 through the Hörnli ridge.
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.
"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!"
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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