/ Matterhorn conditions 8th Sept

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robs123 on 09 Sep 2017
Hi. Wondered if anyone knows about the Matterhorn conditions yesterday and/or if many people summited?

Although the weather was near perfect, I was advised by my tour company that there was too much snow on the higher slopes. Fortunately my guide found a good alternative but it was a bit disappointing to have not gone up.

If anyone can tell me more info about what the situation was and why attempting it would have been a bad idea, it would give me some peace of mind.


Rob S.

MG - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to robs123:

No matter idea about current conditions, but it is known to be troublesome under particularly fresh snow.
Dom Goodwin - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to robs123:

The Hornli ridge may be climbable with a bit of snow, but it is significantly harder. My first attempt on the Hornli ridge came to an end at the fixed ropes on the summit block. There had been a small snowfall over night, and this made the climbing just too hard for me at the time in those conditions, given the overall length. Some of the rocks higher up had a coating of verglas, and it was really quite challenging and not that pleasant. I climbed it a year later in dry conditions without any great difficulty.
Pero - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to robs123:
I was on the Obergabelhorn on the 7th and Zinalrothorn on the 8th. Conditions were perfect, albeit there was clearly snow on the upper section of the Hornli ridge. The Matterhorn would certainly have been climable, but harder than "normal".

Your guide would have to make a judgement based on your ability. If you were a strong climber, then he may have decided to go ahead. But, if you had limited experience, he may have decided you would take too long. You have nothing on your profile to indicate your level of experience, so it's impossible to judge.

I did it two years ago and there was more snow than recently. We did it in poor weather on Sep 1st (2015) and there were only 6 guides. Obviously, they trusted their particular clients to get up and down safely in those conditions (although one pair turned back halfway). We were the only non guided pair to summit that day.

The day before, however, was perfect and there were dozens of parties, some getting back as early as midday. In other words, in similar conditions at the same time of year the mountain was crawling with guides and clients, summiting in good time.

Based on that, I would say that your guide must have judged you to be a weak climber. There is a risk that he didn't trust you to get up and down in any case. I would check this out, as you may be wasting your time and money.

Post edited at 08:38
Trangia on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to robs123:

Out of curiosity what was the "good alternative" your guide found for you?
stscotuk - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to robs123:
We climbed it (unguided) overnight Thurs 7th, summiting at sunrise on Fri 8th morning.

There was definitely more snow than usual for a typical summer ascent on the upper half of the route, however conditions were perfect in the crisp cold (-15c or so up top before dawn?) full moon so long as you were experienced on snow and ice. From the summit, we saw several lights making good progress up the Italian ridge too.

The Hornli was packed with guides and clients of all nationalities on Friday morning - I would say at least 15+ guides, and many more independent groups. Most guides had passed us on the way up by the time we got back to the Solvay, so they were making great progress with the clients mostly looking pretty strong. On our way up Thurs eve, we passed many groups descending that said they had quite a tough ascent Thursday, and were on for a mini-epic midnight walk back to Zermatt if they didn't crash in the Hornli hut.

Someone told me the Hornli hut was fully booked Thurs night, but there were many non-climbing groups staying there as well I think.

The forecasts on Weds/Thurs suggested the weather was due to change late Friday afternoon (hence our overnight ascent), however, in the end the forecast improved, and the bad weather came in Saturday morning instead. We've now left Zermatt, but I doubt there will be any more summer alpine ascents of the Matterhorn this year given the fresh snow the bad weather bought in.
Post edited at 12:42

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