Starting point is either the Hörnli or Schönbühl hut. The ascent from Schönbühl is longer (additional 600 m of altitude, 10 hours), the ascent from Hörnli (7 hours) is more dangerous and more difficult.
Climb the Zmutt ridge only under stable weather condition. A retreat may be difficult due to the avalanches from the north face.
First target is to reach the ridge.
From the Hörnli hut go down to the Matterhorn glacier. Take the first couloir that takes you to the glacier on the second floor. Cross below the north face towards the snowy part of the Zmuttgrat. Then go straight up (ca. 50°) and reach the snow ridge. Dangerous access and quite difficult. 2 hours.
Then follow the ridge until you reach the rocks. You can either climb over the socalled Zmuttzähne (teeth), which seems to me preferable, or take the snow /ice couloir to you left (east). At 4150 m you leave the ridge and traverse horizontally halfway into the west face. Then up and back to the ridge on the Galérie Carrel (see my photo). Use the crampons! I took them off because everything looked so neat, but nearing the ridge we got into ice and I had to put them on again at an awful place. The ridge was full of new powder snow and there was no way to secure. At that day the last part was the most difficult one, but ordinarily it should be easy.
From the Schönbühl hut (2694 m) descend and cross the Zmutt glacier (ca. 2500 m) south of point 2624. Head to the little pass east of Sättelti (2974). Walk left along the Tiefmattengletscher. After the longest spur climb the coulour, then the next spur to your right, then higher, cross the creek of your left and head to the ridge where the route from Hörnli hut joins. Instead of sleeping in the Schönbüehl hut, think about a bivouac.
Zmuttgrat has about the same difficulty as the Mittellegigrat, but it is longer and has no helping ropes. It is more difficult than the Biancograt, less difficult than the Peutery ridge. No ropes or other artificial features.
I cannot understand that an experienced mountain climber choses the crowded and boring normal Hörnli ridge and not the Zmutt or Italian ridge.
rope, crampons, ice axe