Ok, so lots of mountains are pointy with snow on top, but one more than others stands out to most.
When I was a child, I would rope up and ascend this mighty peak (the stairs) with my climbing partners - Barbie, Ken and Action Man. Never appropriately dressed for the occasion, Ken would usually succumb to dying of exposure, slipping, all sorts... I put this down to the fact he chose to climb in a black sparkly tuxedo. Barbie had stilettos (basically crampons) and Action Man was in full jungle gear, but he was Action Man so he survived anything!
The Matterhorn is still on my bucket list of peaks to climb, and so when I was in Zermatt recently, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get up close and personal with this beautiful mountain.
Alpinists from all over the world spend the night here before scaling the Matterhorn. The first refuge at 3260m opened in 1880: The Hörnli Hut, with 17 beds. In 1911, they built the Belvédère mountain guest house and in 2014 an annex was added. Early in the morning, well before dawn, the line of mountaineers snakes up the Hörnligrat ridge, head torches on, in what is known as the “Head Lamp Parade”- visible through binoculars from Zermatt.
On days with good weather in July and August, up to 200 climbers and mountain guides can scale the Matterhorn, but by no means is it an easy feat.
Unfortunately, whilst on the Saturday we were blessed with clear blue skies and sunshine, it had snowed for 2 days beforehand. I was chatting to a guide in the bar of my hostel, who said that the conditions on the path to The Hörnli Hut were very bad, and the fact it was warming up meant the snow that had fallen (and there was a lot of it) would be unstable, there was a risk of avalanches and nobody should walk up there.
I trust guides.
f they say something is dangerous, it usually is.
So my plans had to change...
Instead of walking to The Hörnli Hut, I decided to have a wander down to Schwarzsee Lake and the chapel of Maria Zum Schnee, which was beautiful and stepped in mountaineering history.
I decided to try and make the most of my day and followed the trail of people beginning the walk back down to Furi via Stafelalp.
This route is one of the easiest down the mountains, and well marked. People had obviously taken it before I reached Schwarzsee as the path was well travelled.
I was thankful to have managed to get the Matterhorn photos before it did!
Including the cliche tourist shot...
The lift to Schwarzsee as an Adult is 32CHF one way and 50CHF return. If you have a Swiss Travel Pass whilst in Switzerland (something I stupidly forgot to get) it will only be 16CHF one way and 25CHF return
Time to get training!