Experience conquering the Matterhorn – The Highest Mountain in Switzerland
If you are planning for an experience conquering the Matterhorn in Switzerland, you are most welcome for this experience. But, before you plan to have the Matterhorn conquering experience, you should gather some basic information about mountains in general and the highest mountain in Switzerland in particular.
For those who are seeking in-depth information on Matterhorn Switzerland, you are most welcome. This article will look into everything you want to achieve while conquering the Matterhorn and then provide simple information on how you can plan your experience. This article will also look into other interesting aspects of conquering the Matterhorn.
Overview of Matterhorn – The Highest Mountain in Switzerland
The highest mountain in Switzerland is the Matterhorn. This mountainous region that lies between Zermatt and Breuil-Cervinia can be described as having glaciers all over with great harmony of rock formations at the same time.
Mount Matterhorn, which was named by an Englishman, has a height of 4,478 meters above sea level. This is the height in feet and also in meters. Before they named this mountain Matterhorn, it was called The Zetra throughout history.
The degree of difficulty to conquer this mountain is considered as being very high under normal circumstances.
- Location – Near Pennine Alps
- Weather – 7 Celcius
- Popular means of Transport – Shuttle
Explore the Seasons of the Matterhorn
Seasons are an interesting part of the lives of the people. This is because the weather in each season has its peculiarities and challenges.
Matterhorn which is located in Switzerland, at an altitude of 4,478 meters above sea level can be easily conquered in all seasons. However, it is advisable to conquer this mountain during summer when there are limited chances for bad weather. However, take note of the below seasonal changes in Matterhorn before your trip.
This is when there’s still snow in and around the mountains. The temperature is on the lower side, between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. You will have a hard time if you don’t have the proper gear to keep you warm.
Skiing would be an interesting outdoor activity in this season. Moreover, Spring in Matterhorn is very exciting as it is home to flowers, birds, and fresh green vegetation.
The summer season is one of the best times to conquer Matterhorn too. The temperature is between 10 and 20 degrees Celcius. No matter how dry the weather is during this period, you will still need proper gear that keeps you warm especially near glaciers.
This season is characterized by more sunshine as compared to other seasons. There’s also a high chance of rain. Temperatures are hot between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. It would be advisable to climb the mountain during this period if you are interested in taking pictures of snow-capped mountains.
This is the best season to conquer Matterhorn. Crowds are more minimal than in other seasons, the temperature is sweet and nature looks amazing with its colors. You can spot marmots more easily as they come out of their holes to experience the sun at this time
During autumn, it’s the right time for the leaves to change color around Matterhorn. Temperature ranges from 10 – 15 degrees Celsius depending on the altitude of each place.
Winter Season Despite being the coldest season here, temperatures are not as low as expected. It can range from 5 – 15 degrees Celsius which makes it possible to climb during this period with proper clothing including thermal underwear and anti-freeze jackets which prevents freezing at high altitudes.
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The weather in Zermatt is very pleasant throughout the year, even in winter it rarely snows, sometimes you have to wear a scarf or gloves but not always.
Guide to Conquering the Majestic Matterhorn
What do You Need to Know Before Climbing the Matterhorn?
With summit days between 9-12 hours, being physically fit is a must for all adventurers. When your fitness level is at the extreme, you can move faster and feel better. You are more likely to enjoy the trip rather than having a hard time towards the end of the climb.
You need to make sure that you are physically fit before venturing on this great mountain. For more info on how to work out before hiking.
This is a mountain for strong legs. It requires you to have legs of steel, they need to be solid so that when you are on the top of the mountain they do not give in. Solid legs are paramount. Moreover, this aspect is of prime importance when you are hiking Matterhorn. With sure-footedness, you will be able to be agile throughout when on rocky areas as well as in hard snow. Further, knowing how to kick into the hill when you are going uphill will contribute a lot to your quest to conquer Matterhorn.
Now, this is certainly the most important aspect of conquering Matterhorn for you need determination when you are on your way to becoming a mountain master. Determination will make you push through regardless of how many difficulties you might encounter on your way. It is what makes it possible for people to climb mountains as tall as this majestic one.
Most climbers who are fit enough may not be able to succeed in conquering Matterhorn if they lack determination. This is because it can be difficult, especially in the cold weather and when the way ahead looks bleak with dangers lurking at every step.
Preparation Needed to Climb the Matterhorn
When climbing the Matterhorn it is essential to have a training checklist.
- Climbing Conditioning
- Strength Training
- Cardiovascular Training
- Flexibility Training
- Crampon Training
- Grade 2-3 Scrambles
Do You Need a Guide to Climb the Matterhorn?
Having a guide would be a plus. Climbing the Matterhorn without a guide is certainly possible but it can be a very risky business especially if you are not experienced in this department.
If you do decide to hire a guide, you would need to find one that will suit your budget and skill set. Some high-altitude mountain guides for Matterhorn are Moos, Hörler & Partner, and Mountain Professionals. You can find a good guide that will suit your budget by searching online.
What are the Different Routes to Climb Matterhorn?
There are over 500 routes from which you can choose. Some of these routes are more challenging than others, they also require more experience as well as proper equipment. The most popular route is the Hörnli Ridge, which allows you to reach the summit in a day. Some of these routes are tough and require a lot of skill whereas others are much easier and less challenging.
How Dangerous is Climbing the Matterhorn?
Popular as one of the dangerous mountains to climb in the world, Matterhorn seems to have claimed many lives. This is because how it was formed creates a perfect funnel for wind and ice allowing them to gather speed as they rush down from places thousands of feet high. Thus, the danger mostly comes from being blown off by strong winds or having stones thrown at you by rocks that might have been loosened by climbers before you.
Although climbing the Matterhorn is not as dangerous as it was in the past, thousands of people have died trying to conquer it. The death toll currently stands at 286, this makes climbing Matterhorn more deadly than Mount Everest with its 180 deaths according to records.
What Kit do I Need to Climb the Matterhorn?
Base Layer Top and Bottoms
Base Layers form the first barrier between your skin and the rest of your clothing. This also plays a role in regulating your temperature by absorbing your sweat or not allowing it to escape into the cold.
You need to make sure you are warm enough but at the same time, your base layer should be able to absorb your sweat and allow it to evaporate.
Mid Layer Fleece Tops
Mid Layers are used to trap the air between your base layer and your shell. They also provide insulation by trapping air in their fibers, which makes them the perfect layer for cold weather.
This is the final layer and where you will need to spend most of your money. If you are going on a Matterhorn climb during summer, you might have a hard time finding one, but you can easily do so during winter.
Lightweight Soft Shell Type Trousers
This is the most important layer of your clothing that you should invest in. It is the layer that will protect you from wind and cold. This layer also has to be breathable so that your sweat will not accumulate as you go higher.
Gore-Tex Jacket and Trousers
This is a must-have layer whenever you are going climbing, more so if you are going on a Matterhorn climb. This will protect you from the rain and wind. Even so, it is advisable to have a waterproof layer as well especially if you are climbing during winter.
Make sure that you have a hat that will cover your head and most parts of your face. You do not want to be spending a lot of time fidgeting with your clothes and worrying about the cold.
Light Thin Gloves and Socks
Your hands and feet are always prone to frostbite, so make sure that you have a good pair of gloves and socks. You will not be needing heavy gloves or socks during your climb, so make sure they are thin enough to allow you to move your fingers and toes freely.
Read more How to Keep Your Hands Warm and Safe?
If you will be climbing in cold weather, you need to make sure that you have insulation Gloves. These are so essential because your hands are most likely to freeze when it is cold.
A helmet is a must-have especially if you are climbing during winter. You will be moving on ice which might fall anytime, so being protected with a helmet might just save your life.
Ice Axes are used for balancing, descending, and ascending. You can always rent one before you start your climb or you could consider buying one if you will be climbing often. This is not a necessity though, so if you do not have enough money you can do without it.
Trekking Poles help you in balancing yourself when walking on snow. This will prevent you from falling even when there is ice under your feet.
Boot Crampons are used when you will be walking on ice. It is much like the claws of cats, but only larger and with much sharper spikes. You can also buy them online or rent them before you start your climb.
You need to make sure you have a fully adjustable climbing harness. This will come in handy during your climb when you need to put it on and off quite often.
It would be a great opportunity to get to know the people who are crazy about the highest mountain in Switzerland. While you are at it, join their Facebook Groups.
They offer tours for beginners and recommend the best clubs in Zermatt besides giving you tips on how to book your hotel rooms.
FAQs Related to the Experience Conquering the Matterhorn
What is the Mountain Like?
The mountain is popular for its jagged ridges and cliffs, which usually attract seasoned climbers. It also has a brilliant view of four countries: Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and France.
What Type of Clothes Do You Wear When Climbing the Matterhorn?
Since you will be climbing in different weather conditions, it is advisable to have different sets of clothes. Pack various types and thicknesses of clothing and make sure that you put them on as you move up or down the mountain.
How Long Does It Take to Climb the Matterhorn?
It usually takes 3-5 days, depending on how experienced your guide is. Make sure to hire a good guide if you want to lessen the time.
Do You Need Expensive Equipment When Climbing the Matterhorn?
Clothing is important, but it should not be too heavy or waterproof as this will just slow you down. Make sure your boots are a good fit for climbing and traverse across snow and ice. Some climbers wear plastic boots, so this is up to you.
If You Are Climbing in Winter, What Type of Gloves do You Wear?
Since you will be using climbing equipment, thin gloves are important. If your fingers are too thick it might restrict blood flow and this can lead to frostbite. Just make sure that they are warm enough without impeding your movement or grip.
Climbing the Matterhorn is not an easy feat, but it can be a fun and meaningful experience. It will take time to master climbing, so you might just have to practice a lot. If you are not confident in your skills, hire a good guide from one of their Facebook Groups before setting out to conquer the highest mountain in Switzerland.