Day 1 - Klein Matterhorn to Sella Hut
After 2 days of delay (weather, snowfall) we coul finally take off with Cabin up to kl. Matterhorn, around 3,850m. From there, starting at 8am, easy in 1 hr and highway-like route on top of Breithorn W-summit. Onwards via ridge to Breithorn Middle-summit (watchout for overhangs). Descent over steep face to meet up with trail leading to Pollux. We ascneded into the Zwillingsjoch, from where we climbed up (II-III due to snow) the SE ridge to summit. Fresh snow in last 20 meters, when we went around summit rocks to reach peak. Descent over normal route (SW ridge) and back to Zwillingsjoch. Initially, plan was to descent down to Ayas hut (3400m), which is easily visible form Pollux. However, as we were fast till then and wanted to shorten next day's long stage (Castor ascent, Lyskamm traverse and ascent to Margherita hut), we decided to do Castor as well same day and stay in Sella hut. So, up Castor W-face (1.20hr from Zwillingsjoch), climb up short icy wall to presummit and walk up fine and airy snow ridge up to top. Great views. Descent via ongong beautifully narrow smow risge to Felikhorn/joch, from where a steep face leads down on Felikgletscher (small crevasse area to watchout) and to hut (3585m). Total time form kl. Matterhorn: 8.30hrs. The hut was run by very nice people with great pasta food. Sleeping not great, as huge room with enormous amount of spots and lots of noise. I was looking forward for next day to come.
Day 2 - Lyskamm Traverse and Capana Margherita
After a bad night, wake up at 4.45 and leave at 5.30. Strong 50-60km/h NW wind started blowing over night, now making the ascent to Lyskamm a true pain. Snow crystals in the face, cold and steep, without really good trail uo. We took the direct SW-ridge instead of crossing over to W-ridge, as face was quite hard/icy. A few groups turned around, probably due to conditions. We reached W-summit in 3 hrs form hut (4479m). Still heavy wind. We decided to walk on to E-summit via the renowned Lyskamm W-E traverse. Only 3 groups had done traverse the day before after the lots of snow that had fallen.
Traverse was a real beauty with perfect conditions on a truly fascinating ridge. Watchout for a few overhangs and some aerial parts of the ridge before reaching the Liskamm-Sattel (4417m, not on map) - the lowest point in ridge. From there, easy to E-summit (4527m). Then came the most exposed piece of the Lyskamm, with a delicate descent over E-ridge (ZS). The strong wind blew in a lot of lose snow, which made the walk down quite a delicate operation. Not a lot of grip. Finally, in 5 1/2 hrs reaching the Lisjoch and Entdeckungsfelsen (4178m). Beautiful rest-point, no wind, view on folks walking up and down the smaler 4000-peaks in the region.
We headed on to walk the last 2 hr in easy terrain up to Margherita Hut on 4559m.
Certainly the most spectacular cabane I have seen so far. Construction right on top of Signalkuppe, with tremendous view down the SE face steep below the hut. Hut itself not full and quite relaxed. Actually, every guest has own bed! Great sunset, with entitre alps (almost) below. Sun went down directly over the Matterhorn. Spectacular. I could kill slight headache with Aspirine and had actually a good sleep until 4.45 am.
Day 3 - from Margherita to Dufour and down to Zermatt
Wake up at 4.45am, leave hut. Still, gusty winds, but a bit less strong. M ade it to Zumsteinspitze in 40mins. Easy. Then came the surprise. The descent down to the Grenzsattel is quite impressive. Steep and narrow snow ridge and some easy rocks. No mistakes here....
From here, wind stopped luckily and we had a great climb up the SE ridge to Dufour Grenzgipfel (4618m) in just over 45 mins from Col. Then onwards in greatly exposed II and III climbing to Dufour peak on 4634m, top of Switzerland. Some idiot standing on summit making panoramic photos for 10mins, blocking the way. We finally started descent over Normal route (W-ridge and Sattel) down to Monte Rosa hut. Some steep descents in snowy/partly icy faces and easy rock climb (one or two couloirs are supported by fixed ropes, no problem) lead down on Monte Rosa Glacier. Watchout for some tricky crevasses btw 3600-3400m. Then enter not so nice scree and rock area (morane) to finally reach hut after 3.5hrs of descent. From there a 300m descent onto Grenzgletscher and an unpleasant 1hr50mins counter ascent to reach the Gornergratbahn-station Rotenboden (2815m). 32 CHF bring you down the valley,.... but after 3 days of strenous walking well deserved aid.