/ Matterhorn Send

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Jack_F - on 17 May 2012
Right, I've been thinking for a while about this and have decided that next year some time I would like to summit the Matterhorn.

Now I've got no Alpine experience what so ever apart walking up the grockle path on the Ben but I appreciate that it will be a full on challenge.

All I would like is some knowledge from some folks that have already done it or have some experience in alpine shenanigans with some insight of difficulties and other things associated with it.

Cheers all

Jack
steelbru - on 17 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F:
What on earth is the "grockle path on the Ben" ??
Fleeter - on 17 May 2012
In reply to steelbru: Would that be the main tourist path from Fort Bill?
alps-john on 17 May 2012
In reply to steelbru: A complete lack of "grockles" on the matterhorn will make it well hard for you.
steelbru - on 17 May 2012
In reply to alps-john:
It's not me that's trying to climb the Matterhorn mate........
George Ormerod - on 17 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F:

You'll never send the Matterhorn. Just imagine the postage, nevermind getting it into the post box.
alps-john on 17 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F: Due to the fact your only alpine experience is the tourist/easy path on the Ben. Get yourself a guide.
victim of mathematics - on 17 May 2012
In reply to alps-john:

I thought the prevalence of grockles and their rock-dislodging skills was one of the biggest dangers on't Matterhorn?
Jack_F - on 17 May 2012
In reply to alps-john: One thing I should have included is the fact that I'm the tightest student around. I've got a few friends that are pretty keyed up on Alpine malarkey though!
Goucho on 17 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F: Depends on whether you're doing it with a guide, or on your own.

We did it as our first ever alpine climb in 75' - no guides, no prep, straight on it - which might be seen as irresponsible nowadays. Fortunately we had no issues with altitude, and apart from getting shouted at by some Swiss Guides for queue jumping on the Moseley Slabs, and higher up on the shoulder, did the round trip from the Hornli Hut to summit and back in about 9 hours. It's about V Diff max, and maybe Grade 1 Scottish if there's snow around the shoulder.

However we were climbing XS(before E grades but probably equivalent to solid E3) with lots of big multi-pitch route experience,and about Grade IV/V on ice, with plenty of winter experience on the Ben and Cairngorms etc.

Looking at your profile, I wouldn't think there's likely to be anything to remotely concern you from a technical perspective.

I think it will be down to the length of the route, the altitude, speed and fitness. Also depending on how busy it is, patience may well be a useful virtue. However, you can never underestimate the weather on this peak, and as you'd expect, if bad weather catches you out then it's a whole different ball game.

Get plenty of long routes under your belt, and some winter climbing in Scotland, and you'll be fine.

Of course, you could always do the usual suspects when you get there as preperation, such as Laginhorn, Nadelhorn & Breithorn etc.
wilkie14c - on 18 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F:
Save up! Switzerland is bloody dear, it can be done on the cheap but a basic hotel is 50 quid a night and recon on 4/5 quid for a beer. A 'holiday' trip it isn't. Factor in the cost for travel from Zuich to Zermatt on the trains and the cost of the lift from town to Swartzee it all adds up. Then if like me you needed decent boots, hard shell and other bits and bobs it cost a fair bit. We did it in the first week of sept last year, the holiday season is basically over then but you are chancing the weather by going late.
We felt our feet on the Briethorn, back down to town for a day then back up and walked up to the Hornli hut and was there by dinner time. A good rest and we then scoped out the first part of the route as we'd be doing it in the dark the next morning and didn't want to tempt losing the route <a common cause of failure> The solvay hut is the time marker. Its prob 2/3 up the route and whatever time it takes from the hornli hut to the solvay, time this by 4. Normal times are 2.5 hours to this hut, it''ll then take you the same from the solvay to the top, same 3 hours top to solvay and 2.5 hours solvay to the hornli hut. I felt constantly rushed and would have liked to have relaxed more rather than rushing to make the last lift down to town <16.30. Its prob 2 hours walk down from the Hornli hut to the lift at swartzee> Better I think to have 2 nights at the Hornli hut and relax a little, you are only there once after all, enjoy it.
The training we did was purely mountain fitness, the climbing is pants and chossy and no technical skill required at all but fitness you'll need. You'll want your partner and you to be able to move fast short roped and stop and pitch as nessesary. The sort of things we did building up to it was the welsh 3000's, tower ridge & castle ridge in the same day, observatory rigde, the skye ridge <best kind of training IMO, the terrain is very similar to the horn minus the altitude. A lot of very exposed scrambling, lack of water, long, long route, occasional pitches and abbs...> The peak of fitness we got 2 weeks before we did was one day in wales, we did Tryfan 3 times in a day, all either solo of moving together ropes with occasional pitching, milestone butress and the scrambled to the top, down north gully, solo first pinnacle rib and down north again then grooved arete and we went from adam and eve to the chippy in bethesda in one hour dead! The most important thing to focus on IMO is fitness and the ability to down climb as fast as you can up climb and just as safely. Lots of practice will see you and your partner develop a a feeling for each others needs when short roped together.
It was a fantastic experience and the whole year of the climb made it so, all the mountaineering routes we'd got done rather the same old polished grit routes. Go for it!
Jack_F - on 18 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F: Cheers for the feed back guys! Much appreciated!
Tim Chappell - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F:


Do bear in mind that if you carry on talking about sending the Matterhorn, quite a lot of people are quite likely to want to kill you. Me, for instance.
Jack_F - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Tim Chappell: And why might that be?
colina - on 19 May 2012
In reply to blanchie14c:
> (In reply to Jack_F)
> Save up! Switzerland is bloody dear, it can be done on the cheap but a basic hotel is 50 quid a night and recon on 4/5 quid for a beer. A 'holiday' trip it isn't. Factor in the cost for travel from Zuich to Zermatt on the trains and the cost of the lift from town to Swartzee it all adds up. Then if like me you needed decent boots, hard shell and other bits and bobs it cost a fair bit. We did it in the first week of sept last year, the holiday season is basically over then but you are chancing the weather by going late.
> We felt our feet on the Briethorn, back down to town for a day then back up and walked up to the Hornli hut and was there by dinner time. A good rest and we then scoped out the first part of the route as we'd be doing it in the dark the next morning and didn't want to tempt losing the route <a common cause of failure> The solvay hut is the time marker. Its prob 2/3 up the route and whatever time it takes from the hornli hut to the solvay, time this by 4. Normal times are 2.5 hours to this hut, it''ll then take you the same from the solvay to the top, same 3 hours top to solvay and 2.5 hours solvay to the hornli hut. I felt constantly rushed and would have liked to have relaxed more rather than rushing to make the last lift down to town <16.30. Its prob 2 hours walk down from the Hornli hut to the lift at swartzee> Better I think to have 2 nights at the Hornli hut and relax a little, you are only there once after all, enjoy it.
> The training we did was purely mountain fitness, the climbing is pants and chossy and no technical skill required at all but fitness you'll need. You'll want your partner and you to be able to move fast short roped and stop and pitch as nessesary. The sort of things we did building up to it was the welsh 3000's, tower ridge & castle ridge in the same day, observatory rigde, the skye ridge <best kind of training IMO, the terrain is very similar to the horn minus the altitude. A lot of very exposed scrambling, lack of water, long, long route, occasional pitches and abbs...> The peak of fitness we got 2 weeks before we did was one day in wales, we did Tryfan 3 times in a day, all either solo of moving together ropes with occasional pitching, milestone butress and the scrambled to the top, down north gully, solo first pinnacle rib and down north again then grooved arete and we went from adam and eve to the chippy in bethesda in one hour dead! The most important thing to focus on IMO is fitness and the ability to down climb as fast as you can up climb and just as safely. Lots of practice will see you and your partner develop a a feeling for each others needs when short roped together.
> It was a fantastic experience and the whole year of the climb made it so, all the mountaineering routes we'd got done rather the same old polished grit routes. Go for it!

great account of your trip but to get from the top of tryfan to bethesda in an hour ? does that include the car?

Al Randall on 19 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell) And why might that be?

Because it's an Americanism, sloppy English, grammatically incorrect and doesn't make any sense but to answer your question. Aerobic fitness, stamina and the ability to deal with icy conditions and climb quickly especially over easy ground with a heavy pack on your back and in big boots is probably more important than pure technical ability. Judging how to deal with individual pitches i.e. full belays, partial belays or moving together is also handy.

Al
mypyrex - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F: Send me a postcard when you get there ;|
Stephi on 19 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F:
Just a quick reminder, there are strict rules at the hörnli hut about who's allowed to leave the hut first in the morning! The hut is locked till 5 am in the morning, then guides and their clients are allowed to leave first, afterwards everyone else. That might well be around 50 people per day if the conditions are good.
If you have never been to the Alps before, there are so many great summits, climbs and adventurous mountaineering trips, I would consider choosing a summit with less people around!
John W - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Do you want me to hold him down for you? :-)

To Jack F - please don't use "send" when you mean "climb".

Thanks, JW
Ed F - on 19 May 2012
In reply to John W:

To John W - please don't use the word "climb" when you mean "ascend".

After all, that is my personal preference.

Thanks, EF
Jack_F - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F: Thanks very much again for the advice and positive feedback.

To all you grammar Nazi's the fact that you've taken the time to criticise or criticize, how ever you like your eggs, is slightly beyond me...Consider yourselves judged
Captain Gear - on 19 May 2012
In reply to John W:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
>
> Do you want me to hold him down for you? :-)
>
> To Jack F - please don't use "send" when you mean "climb".
>
Considering the OP is talking about the Matterhorn the very "walk" is more appropriate... ;-)

To Jack, it's a great day out. Hope you manage to send it. Ignore the advice of the old curmudgeons above, they've probably never been climbing!

Tim Chappell - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Captain Gear:
>
they've probably never been climbing!


Perfectly true. Everything on my profile page I just made up.

To the OP: have fun, keep safe, and if you want to do something more fun than the Matterhorn, but harder, consider the Weisshorn...

John W - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F:
>
> To all you grammar Nazi's the fact that you've taken the time to criticise or criticize, how ever you like your eggs, is slightly beyond me...Consider yourselves judged

No problem - consider yourself illiterate.
Tim Sparrow on 19 May 2012
In reply to Jack_F:
If its too hard, you could always set up a top rope :)

Seriously, a friend once suggested this about Clachaig Guly, many years ago when very new to climbing. How we laughed, then and now!
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wilkie14c - on 20 May 2012
In reply to colina:
> (In reply to blanchie14c)
> [...]
>
> great account of your trip but to get from the top of tryfan to bethesda in an hour ? does that include the car?

Yes, car from the milestone to the chippy

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