Ascent of The Matterhorn

Course Overview

Normally we guide the mountain by the Hornli Ridge on a private basis with one person. Also we prefer to have spent some time beforehand with those involved on training routes in order to acclimatise and ensure that rope techniques are understood. To this end it is recommend at least six or seven days together in the Alps, with an attempt on the peak towards the end of that period. It is also helpful but not essential for people to visit us in Scotland for a scrambling/climbing course in either/or winter/summer. In order to attempt the peak, previous experience of simple rock climbing to ‘Difficult’ standard and scrambling on long mountain routes is essential, plus skills in using crampons and ice axe on ‘mixed ground’.

The best time for an attempt on the Matterhorn is during July to early September, as this allows time for the winter/spring snows to clear properly. However, a cold summer storm will deposit snow on the peak and then it will become less possible to climb. Two people can be accommodated for the training days prior to the ascent, when an extra guide is bought in.This allows the cost to be reduced per person. If clients can arrive fit and acclimatised it will be possible to attempt the peak over two days on a 1:1 basis.

If poor weather overtakes an attempt, alternative peaks will be offered. No refund can be made if the peak is not climbed due to poor weather.

Please remember that personal and guides hut fees and cable car costs must be added to the daily guiding rate. Hut costs in 2010 are expected to be £40 per night, whilst cable cars vary between £10.00-£40.00

Bookings for the Alps are often full by early in the New Year, and an early decision is required to secure a Guide.

Course Details

Costs: £300 per day (see summary below)

Ratio: 1:1 on the climb 1:2 for training


By arrangement (June to September)

Kit Requirements

Alps Kit List


For the Alps it is essential to have a warm and stiff soled boot. The warmth of the boot is important on high snowy peaks. Boots can be hired, but it is better to arrive with your own well broken-in footwear, in order to avoid problems. They must not be smooth soled or very flexible. Go for a B2 for general alpinism or B3 if you intend climbing more technical routes. Lightweight fabric boots are not recommended.


These should be ten or twelve pointers with front points. They should fit the boots you will be wearing! Rigid C3 crampons 'ball up' badly and are not recommended for that reason. Completely stiff crampons are not good for long treks. C2 Petzl-Charlet mixed points with toe straps and heel
' cup' are good, as are Grivel G10. Heel 'cups' tend to be more sure-fitting than heel clips on some boots. Carry your crampons in a bag, rubber nipple crampon covers are very fiddly and time consuming. Please have anti-balling plates fitted to your crampons. A C1 crampon with straps all round can be used on stiffer boots.

ice axe

Alpine axes should be around 60/70cms in length. Shorter tools are needed if steep climbing is envisaged.

Essential. Adjustable leg loops are preferred for ease of fitting. The Black Diamond 'Bod' is good.


Essential. Adjustable leg loops are preferred for ease of fitting. The Black Diamond 'Bod' is good.

Waterproof Jacket and Trousers
The trousers should have a full length leg zip for ease of fitting over boots and crampons. Lightweight waterproofs are often better in the Alps as they spend most of the time in your rucsac.

A lightweight pair of gaiters (not Yeti's) are essential at times.


A medium volume sac of 45/55 litres is best. Plastic bag liners are useful. Buy a rucsac without too many complicated straps and buckles. Large hip supports often hinder harness fitting and add to the weight, as do internal metal stiffeners.


Should be of lightweight layers. Extremes of temperature will be experienced and a flexible system is essential. Warm mitts and hat are essential, as are sun-shade hat, trainers and shorts. Jackets should have accessible pouch pockets for carrying items needed quickly (sunglasses, sweeties, small camera, sun cream, etc.). Shirts should have a high collar to protect your neck from the sun, T-shirts are poor in this respect.

Bivvy Bag

Bivvy Bag
A large person sized plastic survival bag (500gauge) is the minimum requirement.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit
A small personal pack including medication for blisters, headaches, stomach upsets, sunburn plus any personal drugs. For people on special drug treatments please bring spares and/or a list of their brand names/contents. Total sun block cream for glacier travel. Lip salve. Small tube of skin cream. Ear plugs for a quiet nights sleep in huts if other people are snoring!

Good Quality Sun-glasses
Best with side covers for glacier travel. Please check with an optician.

Compass and Map

Compass and Map
Maps are best bought on arrival but can be found in Britain, check beforehand.

Guide Books
Try 'The Alpine 4000m Peaks' by Richard Goedeke (Diadem). Recommended

Prussik Loops
Bring four metres of 6mm line (softish kernmantel) to be made into loops on arrival.

Long Tape Slings

Two @ 120cm and Screwgate Karabiners (three).


Essential to carry a litre.

Light Sleeping Bag
For camping, bunkhouses and possible planned bivouacs.Not for alpine huts. A light silk sleeping bag liner can add to your comfort considerably.

Telescopic Ski Poles (three part)
Very useful for taking the weight off your lower body in descent, boosting you up hill and general balance. Recommended but not essential.

Rock Boots

Rock Boots
Useful for valley climbing, during bad weather conditions at altitude.

Other items
- Form E111 (DSS)
- Passport
- Alpine Club Card
- Insurance