The Matterhorn Hornli Ridge
From the Zermatt Valley, with the East Face on the left & North Face on the right. The old Hornli Hut can be seen lower left. In 2015 the new hut opened. The price had doubled, but so had the quality and it has now become a great base camp for climbing the mountain.
Chris on the Summit of the Matterhorn After a Swift Ascent of the Hornli Ridge
This is the Swiss & main summit and a short and narrow snow / mixed ridge leads to the slightly lower Italian summit. Monte Rosa Massif in the background.
Thems The Rules....At the Hornli Hut!
This policy makes perfect sense in that by letting the Zermatt Guides go first - the teams that follow all end up on the correct route - much safe than teams straying off on to loose ground above the ascending 'peleton'!
Bobbling Head Torches Make Their Way Up the Matterhorn's Hornli Ridge
With the East Face on the Left & North Face on the right. The upper torches are in the vicinity of the Solvay Hut.
Dawn Arrives on the Matterhorn's Hornli Ridge
This lower section of the ridge is characterised by generally pleasant and easy scrambling. Route finding in the dark can be tricky but a recce can be made the previous afternoon or a guided party can be followed. The Dom & Tasch can be seen in the background centre. Then Alphubel, Allalinhorn & Rimfischorn going right.
The Sun Hits the Matterhorn Summit & Upper East Face
The Solvay Hut is visible directly above Rory's yellow helmet - under a small squat pinnacle just down & left of the larger more obvious pinnacle.
The Lower Mosely Slab - A Key Passage on the Hornli Ridge
This section, along with the upper Mosely Slab provides some of the trickier rock climbing on the ascent - however, in perfect conditions as seen here, the actual technical difficulties are not great. The Solvay Hut is situated between these two sections and is visible in the centre of the picture.
The Lower Mosely Slab
Along with a few other key passages on the ascent of the Hornli Ridge a bit of congestion can develop with other climbing teams here. This generally clears quickly once easier ground is reached and the queue can provide a welcome break for a drink & photo!
Short Steep Dog Leg Section Of Fixed Rope Between Solvay Hut & The Shoulder
This section of fixed rope takes a direct line up a clean slab of rock. It can be avoided to the climbers left by a rising scrambling traverse protected by a pigs tail & bolt. This is easier but more exposed to stone fall if there are other teams climbing above.
In Good Dry Conditions Crampons Are Usually Worn from Around 'The Shoulder'
Rapid transitions with equipment and pit stops to eat & drink are important on the long ascent of the Matterhorn. Efficiency with basic & simple jobs is an underrated skill of the alpinist!
Crampons Now On The Ascent of the Snowy Ridge on 'The Shoulder' Can be Enjoyed
British Guide Jonny Baird leads Aanthony across the Shoulder and then into the start of the upper fixed rope section which provides some scrambling then steep rope hauling to access the upper snow field.
Alpine Scrambling In The Fantastic Arena of the Zermatt Skyline
Dent Blanche on the Left & Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn & Weisshorn to the right.
Rory, Anthony & Jonny Baird on the summit after an ascent of the Hornli Ridge in around 4 hours.
The Last Few Steps to the Matterhorn Summit Ridge
The Weisshorn can be seen top left with the hills of the Bernese Oberland in the centre distance. Zermat can be seen nestling in the valley way below on the right. Photo: Thanks & Copyright to Andy Teasedale - www.andyteasdaleguiding.com
Andy & Jane Nearing the End of the Long Descent of the Matterhorn's Hornli Ridge
With the Monte Rosa & Liskamm dominating the fantastic Zermatt skyline behind
Low Down on the Long Descent of the Matterhorn's Hornli Ridge
Note the overall angle of the East Face (low) and general rock quality (poor). Happily the passage of many boots on the correct route has cleaned up the actual line to give enjoyable scrambling. Climbers Rob & Rory. Photo: Thanks & copyright to Andy Teasdale - www.andyteasdaleguiding.com
Sture High On The Matterhorn En Route For A Swift Summit Climb
Good Dry Conditions In Early August 2015. Fantastic views over to the Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn & Weisshorn L-R from climbers head. Photo Thanks to Dylan Taylor.
Early Start For The Matterhorn Hornli Ridge
The old Hornli hut timings also apply to the new hut, wake up call at 0400 followed by a very quick breakfast, often taken wearing a harness! followed by joining the queue of teams ready to leave the building and form a new queue at the base of the fixed ropes. The Peleton takes shape!
Lower Sections Of Pre-Dawn Rocky Scrambling On The Hornli Ridge
Here a small drilled metal stake is used as an intermediate running anchor point. There are quite a lot of these on the lower section of the route, offering some 'on the go protection' as well as route finding assistance. The pace of the lead Zermatt Guides is usually very fast and most teams may want to follow at a slightly less intense starting pace!
The Solvay Hut (4000m) Is Reached At Sunrise
A magnificent sunrise too, appearing between the Alphubel, left, and Allalinhorn, right with the Rimfischhorn and Strahlhorn further right. On this day with good conditions in early August 2015 the Solvay Hut was reached in 1hr 45 mins from the Hornli Hut. This was just under half way for the total time of 3hrs 40 mins for the time from the base of the climb to the summit.
Dawn Alpen Glow Above The Solvay Hut (4050m)
This sustained section provides good rock and some of the most enjoyable scrambling on the route. It does feel like a long way on the descent though! This section links the upper Mosely Slab with the loose / easy / snowy slabs leading to the shoulder. Bottom right one of the solar powered brights lights can be seen that are fixed in place as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Matterhorn first ascent.
Crampons On At The Base Of The Fixed Ropes
The nature of the fixed ropes can be seen here. Very thick rope linked by large drilled metal stakes. After this initial ridge section the ropes traverse right on to the north face meaning crampons are usually required for the remaining snow & ice section. In dry conditions in early August 2015 most teams were still wearing crampons here and they were certainly required on the upper section of fixed rope and the 'roof'. Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn, Weisshorn can be seen on left of climber and Dom & Tasch to the right.
The Summit Snow Field Or 'Roof'. Dry Conditions In Early August 2015
Good conditions for a fast ascent here as a snowy section on the roof has covered most of the loose rock and allowed for a track to form - but conditions are still lean with lots of rock showing. This is getting very close to the summit of the Matterhorn!
Matterhorn Summit! Paul Enjoys A Well Earned Celebration After A Fine Ascent Of The Hornli Ridge
The slightly lower summit on the Italian side is to the right with a fine connecting ridge linking the two. Mont Blanc is just visible, to the West, under Paul's right arm!
Descending The Matterhorn....Can Take Longer Than The Climb!
Here a Zermatt Guide swiftly descends the fixed rope section. Congestion can arise here on busy days when teams are using the ropes and anchors in ascent & descent. Care & patience is often required to work together with other teams to allow everyones safe passage up & down the mountain!
Enjoyable Down Climbing On The Upper Hornli Ridge
Teams are often a lot more spread out across the mountain by this time of day and the odd moment can even be taken to actually savour some of the good quality scrambling and soak up the magnificent views of the Zermatt skyline. Dent Blanche on the left and Obergabelhorn & Zinalrothorn on the right.
Enjoyable Exposed Down Scrambling With The Matterhorn North Face Below
The Hornli Hut can also be seen just to the right at the foot of the continuing Hornli Ridge. Whilst you can see the hut from most of the descent, long sections seem to pass without it getting much closer! Patience, steady down climbing and especially route finding are the key to a successful descent.
The Reward For A Matterhorn Climber - A 'Matterhon Rosti' At The New Hornli Hut!
The fine new dining room at the hut can be seen behind looking straight out on to the Hornli Ridge and well beyond with fantastic views across to Lyskamm and Monte Rosa.
Dusk Lighting On The Matterhorn Hornli Ridge To Celebrate The 150th Anniversary of 1st Ascent
These lights were set up by the Zermatt Guides & Mammut to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Whymper's ill fated first ascent of the mountain. They form a superb sequence along the Hornli Ridge and are lit in ascending order after dusk. A great show!
Fine Scrambling Rock Tower On The Matterhorn Shoulder
This section links the loose slabs with the start of the fixed ropes and offers enjoyable scrambling in a great position on the crest of the Hornli Ridge between the east face to the climbers left and north face to the right. The Dent Blanche is on the left with the Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn & Weisshorn to the right.
Beautiful Early Autumn Dawn Over The Zermatt / Saas Skyline Peaks
Breakfast at the Hornli Hut is put back to 0430 in September with a departure from the hut at 0450. This still gives over an hour of climbing in the dark before dawn arrives....but it's worth waiting for!
Snowy September Conditions Required Crampons From The Old Hornli Ridge Hut
The snowy conditions covered much of the loose terrain on the easier sections of the mountain and gave a fantastic mountaineering flavour to the ascent.
Dry Sunny Rock On The Lower Moseley Slab
Amongst the generally snowy conditions on the infinite series of ledges and terraces above & below the Solvay Hut
Stiff Compact Snow Above The Solvay Hut
Crampons were put back on during the ascent, just above the section of fixed rope between the Solvay and the main series of fixed ropes. Crampons were worn all the way down way well past the position of the old Hornli Ridge Hut, now marked by just a plank of wood in a shallow cave.
The Short & Steep Fixed Rope Section On Hornli Ridge
This short dog legged section of fixed rope between the Solvay Hut and main series of fixed ropes gives a strenuous traverse along the upper horizontal roped section. The whole section can be avoided by a bolted passage of solid scrambling to the climbers left of the ropes.
The Short Groove Bypassing The Fixed Ropes In Previous Photo
Pleasant short pitch of easy rock climbing with several bolts gives an alternative passage to the steep dog leg section of fixed ropes.
Good Snowy Conditions On The Shoulder Snow Field
Whilst numerous metal stakes offer protection anchors on this slope, conditions were so good here in early September 2015 that most teams cramponed carefully up the snowy track whilst moving together. Note this is the slope below the shoulder and not the summit snow field which comes above the main series of fixed ropes.
The Summit Tower & Main Fixed Rope Section On The Hornli Ridge
The fixed ropes start on the crest just above the shoulder and take the fine airy ridge and lead out on to the shady, often icy, north face. Then they return to the crest of the steep rocky buttress and take a direct line through to the base of the summit snow fields.
The Two Robins On The Summit Of The Matterhorn
After an extremely enjoyable ascent from the new Hornli Hut in September 2015
Team Descending The Lion Ridge From The Italian Summit On The Matterhorn
With the Dent d'Herens Beyond & Monte Bianco South Face in the far distance.
Descending The Lower Fixed Ropes
In descent, these are the last fixed ropes on the main series linking the upper snow fields with the shoulder. Each fixed rope is linked by metal stakes fixed in the rock forming convenient anchors.
Alberto Checking Conditions On The Matterhorn Hornli Ridge
Low on The Hornli Ridge, with the Monte Rosa Massif, Liskamm & Breithorn beyond.
The Return To Schwarzee From Hornli With A Snowy Matterhorn North Face
A pleasant & contented walk if the team has just climbed the Matterhorn!
Celebratory Drink In Zermatt In Full View Of The Matterhorn
A very satisfying end to an alpine week including alpine mountaineering training and ascents in Chamonix followed by a trip to Zermatt to climb the Matterhorn.
Fine Dry Summer Scrambling Conditions On The Hornli Ridge Above Solvay Hut
With magnificent views north to the Zinalrothorn and Weisshorn on the left and beyond to the big peaks of the Bernese Oberland, north of the Rhone Valley.
Sture & Dylan Enjoy Fantastic Views From The Summit Of The Matterhorn
After an enjoyable & swift ascent of the Hornli Ridge in dry conditions, late July 2015
The East Face Of The Matterhorn Catches An Autumnal Sunrise
Morning sun catches the East Face of The Matterhorn as seen from the ascent of the Rimpfischhorn.
Very Snowy Conditions On The Matterhorn Early Summer 2016
Many thanks to http://www.fiphotos.org for the excellent atmospheric shot of the Matterhorn Hornli Ridge and North Face showing just how snowy conditions are (Photo taken May 30th but plenty of snow also over last couple of weeks!). It will still be a while before normal summer conditions are resumed on the mountain and even then only with a sustained period of warm & sunny weather.
Marc On The Fixed Rope Section Linking The Shoulder & Snow Field
Snowy conditions in mid August 2016
Marc On The Summit Of The Matterhorn
After an ascent in snowy conditions in Mid August 2016. Monte Rosa summits beyond.