Expedition to the Mattehorn, the “Dreamed Mountain”
Matterhorn or Cervino is possibly the best known mountain on Earth. Its image has been used for innumerable causes, especially in advertising.
This Matterhorn is located between Switzerland and Italy, with an altitude of 4,474 meters. The normal (Swiss) route is relatively simple, and it is called the Hörnli route. It requires proficiency in rock climbing with crampons. Besides, one must be in good shape and previously acclimatised.
We fly to Geneve Airport in Switzerland, and drive to the beautiful Zermatt Valley. We set our tents in a well known camping site in Grächen, from where we enjoy a fantastic view of the Weißhorn.
We take a train to Zermatt, and walk through this typical alpine village to the departure point of the cable car, which leaves us on the “Black Pond”, or Schwarz See.
After a quiet two-hour walk, with the imposing mass of the Matterhorn growing taller in front of us, we reach the Hörnli hut, at above 3,000 meters. The views at dusk are magnificent.
We leave for the summit in the middle of the night. We gain altitude slowly during the first two hours, securing the technical passes with ropes. At dawn we are above the Solvay hut, placed at exactly 4,000 meters. At this point we fasten our crampons, and continue upwards attached to the fixed lines common in the last four hundred vertical meters, mostly on mixed terrain or snow.
After the final push, we reach the coveted summit, which is a thin arête. With one foot in Italy and the other in Switzerland, we take a photo of this memorable occasion, while we regain our breath.
Four to five hours later, we are back in the Hörnli hut, where we stop for a warm meal and some beer. As dessert, it is Advenculture’s tradition that we savour a Toblerone chocolate bar, since its packaging shows the silhoutte of the gorgeous mountain we have just conquered. Besides, its delicious!
We walk down to the cable car station, and three hours later we are walking at leisure around Zermatt, while we debate which will the next goal be. Monte Rosa, perhaps, the second tallest mountain in the Alps, staring at us with an enticing smile?
That night we eat an abundant dinner in Grächen, and sleep like a rock in our tents. We have made it!!!