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/ Zermatt guides for Hörnli ridge

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Matthew Ellis - on 14 Feb 2018

Hi does anyone know of any good Zermatt guides that would be prepared to do say one try out route then guide on the Hörnli ridge? Any acclimatisation I would be doing for a week to ten days beforehand myself. I have a fair bit of experience and a few courses under my belt already. I do not want to spend thousands on an 8 day Matterhorn course. Matt

Alan Bates on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

One option is to get in touch with Graham Frost https://www.ukclimbing.com/listings/info.php?id=3228

UKC Forums - on 14 Feb 2018
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jon on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

It depends what you mean by Zermatt guide. If you mean a guide working for the Zermatt guides' bureau then how it normally works is: You do a short day route with a guide to assess you and you are then sent off up to the Hörnli hut on your own with a slip of paper with a name on it. You find your guide there. You do the route with him/her the next day, then walk back down to town on your own. The guide stays at the hut for the following day. Normally, I'm pretty sure you can't request a particular guide, it's the luck of the draw. If this appeals to you then it's a pretty sure fire way of getting up and down the Matterhorn. If you want more friendly personal contact etc with your guide and maybe more than just getting that 4478m tick, then as Alan Bates suggests, get in touch with Graham Frost (or any of quite a number of British guides living/working in the area). 

Post edited at 17:26
rocksol - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

If you,ve got experience and "courses" under your belt just go and do it. I know of no end of people without alpine experience including potholers who,ve done just that. What is it with today's spoonfed generation?

make sure you set off before the daily cavalcade or you,ll spend all day following and being held up

12
Goucho on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

> Hi does anyone know of any good Zermatt guides that would be prepared to do say one try out route then guide on the Hörnli ridge? Any acclimatisation I would be doing for a week to ten days beforehand myself. I have a fair bit of experience and a few courses under my belt already. I do not want to spend thousands on an 8 day Matterhorn course. Matt

If you want to just get up it, then there are plenty of Swiss guides to choose from.

But if you want to actually enjoy the experience, use a British guide based out there.

Of course, if you've already got a reasonable level of experience, and a mate with similar, why not save the money and do it without a guide?

PCD - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to rocksol:

I thought that the advice was to go with a guide mainly because you are physically held back at the hut until the guides have left with their clients? Ok so not physically but they do hold you back.. apparently...and we all know the importance of timing

PCD - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Goucho:

Please see my other reply about being held back by the guides departure..what do you think about this?

Matthew Ellis - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to rocksol:

Yes maybe. I just air on the side of caution I have a daughter and many people have died on the mountain. There’s a pecking order out of the Hörnli hut in the morning and that’s Zermatt guides first then all other guides and then anyone else apparently do not as easy as just being first out of the hut by all accounts.

Matthew Ellis - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Alan Bates:

Have enquired with Graham Frost and everyone recommends him but he wants like the best part of £3000 for the build up training as well. Pretty much all the big companies are like that.

Matthew Ellis - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to jon:

Can you just turn up or does this need booking months in advance? 

Matthew Ellis - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to UKC Forums:

Sorry ????

jezb1 - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

https://mountaintracks.co.uk

I've passed clients of mine on to them before for bespoke stuff, worth asking.

jon on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

You could just turn up but accept that during the summer it's very busy. They'd normally try to accommodate you somehow. You could contact them and ask them the same question. There's a contact address somewhere here, I think: https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Attractions/Zermatters

Have look at the British Mountain Guides' site. Send a few emails off to some of the guides with what you want to do. You're right in that most guides will want to do a week with you to be assured of success. Worth sending a few dozen emails though, all the same.

Post edited at 21:17
Matthew Ellis - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to jon:

Ok thanks very much. I will take a look

Goucho on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

> Have enquired with Graham Frost and everyone recommends him but he wants like the best part of £3000 for the build up training as well. Pretty much all the big companies are like that.

£3k to spend 12 hours in a queue?

That would have covered about 10 full alpine seasons 30 years ago

pec on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

> Yes maybe. I just air on the side of caution I have a daughter and many people have died on the mountain. There’s a pecking order out of the Hörnli hut in the morning and that’s Zermatt guides first then all other guides and then anyone else apparently do not as easy as just being first out of the hut by all accounts.


Couldn't you just bivi outside the hut and then you can set off whenever you like?

Alternatively do the Italian ridge, its a better route, better rock, less busy and no miserable officious Swiss to put up with.

2
iknowfear on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

bivi near to the hut is illegal, and comes with a hefty fine. Somthing to do with every rock being covered in feces. 

redsonja - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

My friend did the hornli ridge a couple of years ago and he said they had to leave after all the guides and progress was so slow on the ridge they ended up having to bivi at the solvay hut on the descent. However, he said the next day they left the hut really early and were well down the ridge before they met the first of the guided groups going up 

jon on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

I should add that the notion of being held up on the Hörnli behind Zermatt guides is completely laughable!

MG - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to jon:

> I should add that the notion of being held up on the Hörnli behind Zermatt guides is completely laughable!

However, the notion of literally being held up by Zermatt guides isn't, as my partner discovered while being dangled from the balcony of the Solway hut by his chest coils.

Post edited at 12:28
rocksol - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to PCD:

That's up to you!

rocksol - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

It absoloutly is. Your decision, but I've witnessed Zermatt guides run the stuffing out of clients then turn them round and back down; not fit enough. Likewise a puff of cloud or mist and that's bad weather. Down!

From the guides perspective I'd be pissed off if I had to climb that rubble heap every day for weeks (weather permitting) as a member of a stop start train The experience very quickly pales.

If you must have a guide, British is best for a more enjoyable time.

Do not think I have a downer on guides as many of my friends are in fact guides, incl my climbing partner, so your choice. 

2
rocksol - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

It absoloutly is. Your decision, but I've witnessed Zermatt guides run the stuffing out of clients then turn them round and back down; not fit enough. Likewise a puff of cloud or mist and that's bad weather. Down!

From the guides perspective I'd be pissed off if I had to climb that rubble heap every day for weeks (weather permitting) as a member of a stop start train The experience very quickly pales.

If you must have a guide, British is best for a more enjoyable time.

Do not think I have a downer on guides as many of my friends are in fact guides, incl my climbing partner, so your choice. 

Matthew Ellis - on 16 Feb 2018
In reply to rocksol:

Think I may just get some more experience under my belt and give it a go without a guide. 

Chibby - on 21 Feb 2018
In reply to Matthew Ellis:

I climbed it with a Zermatt guide in summer 2013.  Reserved it about 6 weeks before and then crossed my fingers heavily for the weather.  It just worked out with the route just being in condition after a summer snow storm.

Advantages of a Zermatt guide: you get to leave the hut at 4.20 am.  There is a pecking order in the guides - I was with guide number 4 and it stayed that way the whole way to the top.  You go fast.  We got to the top in four hours and back to Solvay in six.  To give you an idea, many unguided parties were only arriving at Solvay when we got there.  It gets more difficult after the Solvay. My guide was also a cool guy - it was fun.

Disadvantages ... about 1000 CHF - plus hut etc.  It's an expensive day out but very memorable.

Good luck.

 

alex.serban on 23 Feb 2018

At first I laughed as I thought it's a joke when somebody informed me about the order one leaves the hut. I find it ridiculous to be restricted on the hour I wish to leave. I will never pay a guide to take me up a mountain I can climb it myself just to avoid the queue. With that in mind, now I am considering the Italian side. And maybe a traverse to the Hornli for the way down. 

If you are not able to climb it on your own or with a more experienced friend, I would postpone the Matterhorn. And with the £3k that the guide asked you can spend a summer in Chamonix climbing in the Alps. Then try the Lion Ridge the next year.

2
Chibby - on 24 Feb 2018
In reply to alex.serban:

The thing about the Hornli ridge is that it is not obvious, especially in the dark.  It seemed to me that every non guided party was very happy to wait for the lights of the guided parties and then try to keep up.  

Fruit on 24 Feb 2018
In reply to Chibby:

Reading all this I’m glad we did it in the early 80s. We slept out on the ridge well above the hut the kept ahead of most of the guides to the top. We did get some grief including threats, but also one congratulatory hand shake at the top. On the way down no contest, we were slow, but a great day out with my mate. Cost us the cable car fee and the train from Randa.

Goucho on 24 Feb 2018
In reply to Fruit:

> Reading all this I’m glad we did it in the early 80s. We slept out on the ridge well above the hut the kept ahead of most of the guides to the top. We did get some grief including threats, but also one congratulatory hand shake at the top. On the way down no contest, we were slow, but a great day out with my mate. Cost us the cable car fee and the train from Randa.

I've been on the Hornli three times. Twice when doing it, and once descending after doing the North Face.

On all three occasions I've had run-in's with Swiss Guides.

But to be fair, as Phil (Rocksol) pointed out, having to go up and down it day after day for a living, would probably make most people angry, aggressive and frustrated eventually?

Post edited at 21:45
Dogwatch - on 25 Feb 2018

The guides don't "have to" do it. Switzerland doesn't groan under the yoke of poverty or mass unemployment. They are choosing to do it as a short seasonal  but nevertheless lucrative supplement to their income. Not so much excuse for bad behaviour then.

 

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