Willerup Brothers | Trip reports | Our friends
Climbing the Matterhorn
19-28 August 2000
Big mountain, loose rock
Pennine Alps, Italy
Uffe, Sean, Frederik, Mathias
Sean, Uffe, Mathias, Fred
We went to climb the Matterhorn by the Lion Ridge (also known as the Italian
Ridge). The more common route is the Hornli Ridge which starts in Zermatt on
the Swiss side on the mountain. Our route climbs from Italy, starting at the
little mountain village of Cervinia - a popular ski resort in winter, and a
popular place for tourist in the summer. We had a great time. First we spent
three days climbing Castor and Pollux in order to aclimatize for height of the
Matterhorn. After a rest day we spent another three days on the Matterhorn,
standing on the summit August 25 in perfect conditions.
We wrote a trip report down there, and took a bunch
The BETA (Information for other climbers)
We climbed the Matterhorn without the use of a guide, and this information
is for people who wants to do the same. If you have a guide, there are a lot
less things to worry about! Let us know if you have
any questions- perhaps we can help out before your trip. First of all, there
is information in the trip report, and you can also
look at our pack list.
- Bus to Cervinia from Milano Piazzo del Castello - cheap, but doesn't
leave to often.
- In Cervinia: Don't expect to be able to buy too much equipment or
similar- we didn't find any climbing gear shops! There are plenty of shops
that sell knitted sweaters with Matterhorn profiles on them though!
- Competent and helpful staff in the guide office on the main street. They
know the conditions, and they helped us out with numerous questions about
what to expect in various huts etc.
- 1:25000 topo maps (not brilliant) of various areas in a bookstore on the
left side on the main street (or ask in the guide office)
- Hotel prices: 20 pounds a night per person in double room.
- Warm-up and Acclimatisation: A few days in the Western part of the
Monte Rosa range are very recommendable. Ascending Pollux from the South-East
gives a tiny taste of the type of conditions to be expected on the Lion Ridge
of the Matterhorn.
- Clothing: Bring full winter gear with plenty of warm clothing as
winds can be severe.
- Boots: For us, leather boots (heavy hiking boots or light mountaineering
boots) worked fine.
- Hardware: Ice axe, crampons: We didn't need them except for the very
last traverse from the Italian to the Swiss summit. This situation can change
from day to day with a little precipitation (like on any mountain). Most people
bring them just in case.
- Protection per rope team A handful of nuts half a dozen slings half a dozen
quick draws. There are bolts (or chains) where you really need to clip in,
except for a few spots where we found it useful to put in a nut or two.
- Huts: For some reason we had a hard time finding information on the
web about huts- The CAI
has it all!
On the Mountain
- The Matterhorn: Taking a jeep from Cervinia to the Abruzzi hut (leaving
regularly from the hotel at the end of the main street (at the top of a very
recommendable bar!) will cost you 10 pounds but save you 1000 vertical meters.
Soft? Perhaps, but we enjoyed the ride!
- The Carrel Hut: Fills up quickly so arrive early to get a good position
if you can. The line to the stove can be long so you may want to bring your
own stove and pots.
- The route finding is relatively obvious, except for a section just above
the Carrel hut (at about 3900m). If you have time (and energy!) the night
before it could pay off to find your way up to the 4000m mark with no packs
so you can move quickly in the morning.
- It took us 5.5 hours to go from Abruzzi to Carrel.
- We started climbing from the Carrel hut at 6am, made it to the top by noon
(6h), spent about 1/2h on the summit, and spent 7h getting back down to Carrel.
We were suprised how slowly we climbed down. The guides climb fast by lowering
their clients on the hard bits, and soloing down after them (belayed from
below). We tended to abseil those sections which cost us lots of time but
Fred, Mathias, Sean, Uffe, Matterhorn
- Elevation 14,691ft (4,478 m)
- Latitude - 45° 58' N,
Longitude - 7° 39' E
- First climbed in 1865 by Edward Whymper in an epic ascent where
4 people died on the descent.
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