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Fixed ropes on the Matterhorn Hornli Ridge.

The Matterhorn. Cervin. AD


The Matterhorn 4478m is probably the most iconic and recognised mountain in the world. Its perfect pointy profile pierces the skyline of the Valais alps, high above the towns of Zermatt in Switzerland and Cervinia on the Italian side. It has 4 long and steep complex ridges which terminate on an exposed and perfect summit. As a mountain its even more impressive because of its prominence standing proudly on its own. It is a great mountain to stand on top of with a challenging and technical climb. There is no easy way and every route requires steady footwork, solid nerve, a high level of fitness and a bit of technical climbing ability. I guide the Matterhorn as a 6 day course with technical training, preparation, and acclimatisation.

Guiding Ratio

1:1 One guide to one client. The Training days can be completed at a 1:2 ratio with an extra guide brought in for the 3 Matterhorn climb days. 


The normal routes on the Matterhorn are Hornli Ridge from the Swiss side, and the Lion Ridge from the Italian Side. There are also a number of famous harder routes such as the Schmidt Route on the North Face and the Schmutt Ridge. The Classic Route is the Hornli Ridge. AD. This involves a lot of exposed scrambling with sections of sustained steeper climb around Diff or 5.6. The steepest sections are equipped with fixed ropes. The top is a steep snow and ice slope which usually involves steep cramponing.  

Course Example

Day One- Meet in Chamonix and check equipment. Take the Helbronner cable car up to the Torino Refuge. Traverse the Aiguille de Entreves. A classic introductory AD ridge. Stay in the Torino Refuge. 

Day Two- Climb the Dent du Geant 4000m, Tour Ronde 3872m or a similar route. Return to Chamonix

Day Three- A day of technical rock climbing, Multi pitch climbing on the Brevent Crags, or The fantastic Papillion Arete. 

Day Four- Drive to Zermatt and Hike up to the Hornli Hut. Hike to the start of the route and study the start of the route. 

Day Five- Climb the Hornli Ridge. The climb usually takes between 4-6 hours. The descent is back down the same way and because of the nature of exposed down climbing it takes as long as the ascent. If it takes 4 hours up it will generally take 4 hours to get down. A total of 8 hours exposed and exciting climbing. Usually we hike back down to Zermatt and return to Chamonix. A big Day.

Day Six- A flexible day, Which is often spent doing a multipitch Rock climb, or practicing and consolidations skills learnt during the week. 

When to Climb

The season for the Matterhorn is generally from July Through to Mid September. The route needs to be mostly dry. Fresh snow can slow or halt progress. It is possible to climb most of the route in crampons, but it can be tediously slow and more dangerous. In ideal conditions you climb in your boots to the start of the fixed ropes, and from there to the summit with crampons and Ice axe. 


£550 per day plus guides expenses. 

Fixed ropes on the Matterhorn Hornli Ridge.
Fixed ropes on the Matterhorn Hornli Ridge.
Fixed ropes on the Matterhorn Hornli Ridge.
Matterhorn Summit
Paul Swail descending the fixed ropes on the Horni ridge in October. Shooting on the movie "Summit F
The Matterhorn from the Obergablehorn.
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