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.