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Mountain climbing tours

Zermatt offers the choice of some 30 four-thousanders to be climbed. The normal duration of these tours is two days. The first day is occupied with the climb to the hut, and on the second, climbing in view is the norm. Please note that these are serious climbs. Those undertaking should be in excellent physical condition, and should have the appropriate equipment.

Four-thousanders should not be climbed without a guide. Published fees are available in the guide’s office. In addition to these fees are the costs of accommodation in the huts, arising transport and guide’s expenses. Larger group are advised to incorporate at least one day of less strenuous ascents. A day on the Riffelhorn is a good suggestion. Equipment requirements, note: climbing gear can be hired at local sport shops. A climbing outfit should include waterproof jacket, good climbing boots with profiled rubber sole, gloves, hat, sunglasses, sun-cream and a head lamp. For centain tours climbers will need an ice axe and crampons. Rope is provided by the guide. 

Climbing the Matterhorn

The fame of the Matterhorn has caused it to attract climbers, both prepared and less so in droves. many have no idea of the degree of fitness and skill required for any attempt to climb it. It is a most serious matter, and a guide should accompany even the most experienced of climbers. Non-experienced climbers should not even consider a Matterhorn ascent.

That may seem like basic, or even unnecessary advise, but readers would be amazed to know of the amount of totally inexperienced holiday markers who want to pit their non-existent skills against the forces of nature. Less surprising is the number of them who come to grief.

To attempt to climb the Matterhorn, one should be in the best of shape, and have done exercises with crampons. It is also necessary to spend some days training in the Zermatt area. This will help one get used to the difference in altitude. Again we suggest that you ask at the guide’s office for full information.

It is necessary to spend a night in the Hornlui mountain hut which can be reached from Schwarzsee cable-car station within 2 hours. At 4.00-5.00 a.m. your guide will wake you up, and, after a hearty breakfast, you will start the actual 4-5 hour climb to the top. Your guide will provide the ropes and other essential mountain climbing paraphernalia for you. The descent takes the same length of time depending on the amount of snow on the Matterhorn (Hornliridge), the best time to attempt the climb is from mid July to mid-September. If there is too much snow on the mountain, no attempt should be made.

If you plan to take many pictures during the climb, it is advisable to inform your guide, as he usually likes to maintain a certain rhythm in going up and down. This practice helps avoid unnecessary fatigue. In case of emergency, Zermatt hat its own rescue helicopter service. If the climb is completed successfully, a special certificate and medal is available to the climber at the guides’ office for a small fee.

Clothing is equally important

Clothing for high mountain climbing should include good leathered mountain boots with rubber soles, which can be rented at Zermatt. Also a must are warm socks and stockings, climbing trousers or knickerbockers, warm woolen long sleeved underwear which absorbs perspiration and dries quickly, sport shirt, sweater, a windbreaker, two pairs of woolen gloves, and hat. Climbers should also have preferable two pairs of sunglasses, suntan lotion, lip-cream and a headlamp. Be sure to get glucose to prevent exhaustion. The food taken on the climb consists of dried fruits, chocolate and tea.

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