Matterhorn ascent with a mountain guide


During each season, around 3,000 climbers aim to reach the peak of the Matterhorn. Not all succeed in their quest. To ensure safety and minimize risks it is advisable to undertake the climb, with a mountain guide. The journey typically begins at the Hörnlihütte located at an elevation of 3260 meters serving as a base camp nestled at the base of the Matterhorn. Many climbers commence their ascent of this mountain from this point onwards.

Hörnli hut at the foot of the Matterhorn

Hörnli hut at the foot of the Matterhorn

During periods, around 130 climbers aim to conquer the peak through the Hörnlihütte route. An average of 8 to 10 individuals lose their lives on the Matterhorn annually. Since its ascent 600 climbers have met their demise on the mountain with several dozen remaining missing. The Matterhorn stands out as Switzerlands peak and ranks among Europes deadliest mountains.

Requirements for climbing the Matterhorn

Climbing skills up to UIAA 3+ are required for the Matterhorn and safe use of crampons and ice axe is essential. Good acclimatization and very good fitness are basic requirements.


UIAA represents the “International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation”. Serves as the coordinating body, for mountain related activities. UIAA ratings help determine the level of challenge presented by a climbing route or via ferrata.

A UIAA 3+ climbing route is characterized by a path, with occasional straightforward climbing sections. Climbers must be adept at moving on the rope and employing climbing skills to conquer a UIAA 3+ route.

Tip: A preparation tour is recommended for better preparation and acclimatization. For example, Zinalrothorn, complete Spaghetti Round, Breithorn crossing, climbing on the Riffelhorn.

Spaghetti round as preparation

The Spaghetti Round is a series of alpine climbing expeditions that can be a warm up, for tackling the Matterhorn. It takes you through the alpine region of the Valais mountain range in Switzerland. There are 18 peaks over four thousand meters high including Switzerlands peak, the Dufourspitze (4,634 m) which stands 156 meters taller than the iconic Matterhorn (4,478 m). The traditional journey begins at the Monte Rosa hut, in Zermatt follows along the border of Italy and Switzerland and concludes at the Klein Matterhorn mountain station.

The Spaghetti Round got its name from its location, on the side of Mt. Rosa in Italy even though the tour starts and ends in the canton of Valais. Climbers often stay overnight in mountain huts where they typically enjoy pasta or minestrone as a starter. This tradition is what gives the tour its name “Spaghetti Round.”

Known for its difficulty the Spaghetti Round calls for climbing abilities, good fitness levels and experience in alpine environments. The route includes challenging climbing sections with UIAA grades reaching up to 5c and 6a along with glacier crossings and rappelling.

Many mountaineers find the Spaghetti Round to be a training ground, for those aspiring to conquer the Matterhorn as it provides a chance to familiarize themselves with alpine conditions and technical challenges before embarking on such an expedition.

Safety is the be-all and end-all on the Matterhorn

Climbing the Matterhorn without a mountain guide involves a high level of risk and is only for absolute professionals who know the route in detail or have already climbed the Matterhorn with a mountain guide.

Important: Anyone who climbs the Matterhorn without a mountain guide and gets into difficulties not only risks their own life, but also endangers other climbers on the tour!

You can find more information on preparing and booking an experienced mountain guide in the attached video and at ZERMATTERS

Note: If you have overestimated yourself and are too inexperienced or too slow in this terrain, so that the mountain guide cannot guarantee a safe tour, he reserves the right to cancel the tour at any time for safety reasons.

Normal route via Hörnligrad

On the evening before the tour, the guest and mountain guide meet at the Matterhorn hut before dinner. After a short night, the ascent begins in the dark the following morning. The ascent takes about 4 hours. The descent takes the same amount of time.

Matterhorn Hörnligrad

Matterhorn Hörnligrad

The ascent of the Matterhorn from the Hörnihütte to the summit takes 4-6 hours if the climber is confident in alpine terrain and on a short rope and the conditions are good, otherwise it can take considerably longer!

The ascent and descent is exclusively on rock and ice and requires good physical condition, alpine experience and safe rock climbing with and without crampons.

The normal route via the Hörnligrat ridge is very difficult to find in the dark morning hours up to the Solvayhütte and leads partly over loose rock.

The Solvayhütte at 4003 m is a refuge of the Swiss Alpine Club on the Matterhorn and is located on the most frequented ascent route, the Hörnligrat, the north-east ridge of the Matterhorn. There are often a lot of people on the route, which means you have to plan for waiting times and falling rocks!

The descent is via the ascent route.

If you are seriously considering climbing the Matterhorn, you should first watch the following video:

Video On the Matterhorn with a mountain guide | Reportage | SRF

No other mountain in the world exerts such an attraction. The Matterhorn, or “Horu” as the people of Zermatt call it, is a magnet for mountaineers from all over the world. They spare no effort or expense to stand on the famous summit.

Aufs Matterhorn mit Bergführer – Der tödlichste Berg der Schweiz | Reportage | SRF

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Video High-altitude tour in Valais: spaghetti round

The Spaghetti Round is an impressive but challenging high-altitude tour in Valais, on which twelve 4,000-metre peaks are climbed. Wide glaciers, narrow ridges and airy climbing passages make the tour from the Klein Matterhorn to the Dufourspitze and from there down towards Gornergrat a high-alpine undertaking that is only recommended for experienced mountaineers.

Hochtour im Wallis: Spaghetti-Runde

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