The Matterhorn: A challenging walking break

Occasionally I accept sponsored guest posts if they offer useful information on adventure travel such as this one by Explore! ~ Enjoy!


View from the Hornli Hut – Photo by Peter Stevens

There are many places in Europe you can choose for a walking holiday this summer, but few will allow you to walk in the shadow of one of the most recognizable and stunning peaks on the continent Рthe Matterhorn.

Visit Switzerland and that’s exactly what you can do, as well as scale the Breithorn, a neighboring mountain that, while not as tall as the Matterhorn, is still over 4,000 m high. Trekking in the Zermatt region is undoubtedly challenging, but that only makes it all the more rewarding. For the ultimate walking break in Switzerland, base yourself in Zermatt and be prepared to spend a few nights in mountain huts to allow you to experience as much of the stunning alpine scenery as possible.

Here are a few of the highlights of a hiking trip in the shadow of the Matterhorn:

Climb Gornergrat

Ascending to the top of Gornergrat, which stands at 3,090 m high, is an excellent way to get used to the terrain and enjoy some amazing views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers and valleys. The trail to the summit is relatively gentle, and once you reach the top, you’ll have uninterrupted views of the Breithorn and the Monte Rosa massif.

There are several routes down from Gornergrat to Zermatt, but passing through the Gletschergarten is a fantastic option. Translated into English, this is the Glacier Garden, where you can see unusual holes and rock formations, which were created by fast-flowing melt water rushing down from the mountains and glaciers. A bridge over the Gornera Gorge was opened in 2011 and hangs around 50 m above the ground, offering alternative views of the scenery below.

The Matterhorn – Photo courtesy of Thinkstock/iStockphoto

Get close to the Matterhorn

The Matterhorn is a notoriously difficult mountain to climb due to the brittle quality of the rock on the Hornligrat route to the peak – which is the usual way to ascend. There is a very specific line to take to reach the top quickly and safely without fear of rock falls and failure to follow this route can make a summit attempt much trickier and longer.

You don’t need to climb the mountain to appreciate its immense beauty, though, and you can ascend to the Hornli Hut at 3,200 m – where climbers leave from and return after reaching the Matterhorn’s summit – to watch those attempting the route to the very top.

Following a trail past its north face on the way will give you an opportunity to fully experience the beauty of this pyramid-shaped mountain, as well as the ridges that connect to it.

Ascend the Breithorn

The Breithorn stands at 4,164 m and it actually has several summits. The western peak is the highest of these, but is also considered to be the easiest to climb, making it an excellent option if you want to reach the top of a 4,000 m+ peak.

From Zermatt, you take a cable car to Kleine Matterhorn at 3,800 m before getting roped up and beginning your ascent, crossing a breathtaking plateau on your way to the top. This area is covered in crevasses, so you’ll need to follow a guide to the summit. Once you complete your climb, you’ll be able to see as far as Mont Blanc to the west, the Bernese Oberland in the north and Italy to the south, while Monte Rosa dominates in the east.

This post was sponsored by Explore, a tour company specializing in adventure travel. A big thanks to them for supporting this blog!

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