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Climbing the Matterhorn

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  • 12-08-2014 5:58pm
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭


    It's always been a goal of mine to climb the Matterhorn. Does anybody have experience of doing this? How would you recommend a complete novice goes about preparing/training and what kind of timescale?


Comments

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    How would you recommend a complete novice goes about preparing/training and what kind of timescale?

    I presume that depends on what you mean by a "complete novice".

    What have you climbed before?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭JonKelleher


    I presume that depends on what you mean by a "complete novice".

    What have you climbed before?

    Kilimanjaro and Elbrus. But I have no technical experience at all. Fitness levels are good.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Not sure if this adds much beyond the comment that it seems more about being comfortable with exposure than needing vast experience...

    http://mountaintracks.co.uk/blog/how-difficult-matterhorn


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭JonKelleher


    Not sure if this adds much beyond the comment that it seems more about being comfortable with exposure than needing vast experience...

    http://mountaintracks.co.uk/blog/how-difficult-matterhorn

    Thanks Conor.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,628 ✭✭✭Enduro


    It depends... do you want to climb it under your own steam, so to speak (i.e. with your mate(s) but without a guide), or are you happy enough to have pay a guide to bring you up?

    Definitely the best climb I ever did. A bit like a very very long version of howling ridge in terms of exposure.


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  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 32,212 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Mickeroo


    Would it be classed more as a scramble in terms of technical level?


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Enduro wrote: »
    Definitely the best climb I ever did. A bit like a very very long version of howling ridge in terms of exposure.

    Interesting. Have limited experience myself, have done Howling Ridge by piggybacking on the work of others far more experienced. And thought to myself it could be done with little technical climbing experience...but lots and lots of nerve, cos if something went wrong it wouldn't be a sprained ankle job...


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,628 ✭✭✭Enduro


    Of course it could be scambled if you really wanted to, but that wouldn't be a very good idea from a safety POV at all. One little mistake and you're dead under those circumstances. So no, for the vast majority of people there is no way you should be thinking of it as a scramble.

    IMHO, if you can scramble Howling Ridge comfortably then you should be able to be led by a guide up the Hornli Ridge. Sometimes I'm not great with exposure, and I wouldn't rock climb to a high level at all, but I was comfortable with the technical requirements of the Hornli, and the exposure is so sustained from start to finish that you get very comfortable with it quickly enough.

    To go without a guide you really should do a good alpine climbing course first, and get some experience on lower graded alps. That's all worth doing in its own right anyway.


  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 32,212 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Mickeroo


    Enduro wrote: »
    Of course it could be scambled if you really wanted to, but that wouldn't be a very good idea from a safety POV at all. One little mistake and you're dead under those circumstances. So no, for the vast majority of people there is no way you should be thinking of it as a scramble.

    IMHO, if you can scramble Howling Ridge comfortably then you should be able to be led by a guide up the Hornli Ridge. Sometimes I'm not great with exposure, and I wouldn't rock climb to a high level at all, but I was comfortable with the technical requirements of the Hornli, and the exposure is so sustained from start to finish that you get very comfortable with it quickly enough.

    To go without a guide you really should do a good alpine climbing course first, and get some experience on lower graded alps. That's all worth doing in its own right anyway.

    I didn't mean doing it without ropes and harnesses when I asked about a scramble, I just meant in terms of technical difficulty of the actual climbing. I get that the levels of exposure would be way beyond a scramble and that.
    The only real scramble I've done was Tryfan and I've done a few leads in Dalkey and the Burren too (though not on anything crazy), Howling Ridge is very much on my to do list and Matterhorn is something I've always thought about too, just want to get an idea of it much like the OP (apologies for butting in OP btw :o).


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,628 ✭✭✭Enduro


    Personally, I would have found it much more technical than Tryfan. There are plenty of routes up Tryfan where you never really think "ooo...having a rope here might be an idea", whereas there is hardly a step on the Matterhorn where you'd be so relaxed.

    I do think Howling is the most comparable thing locally to the Hornli, so well worth targetting that (well worth it in its own right anyway, as it is a fantastic day out).

    Like I said, I'm not a great rock climber, and would have come from a hill walking and alpine climbing background before doing the Hornli, but I had no problem with the technicalities of the route. So the answer to your (re-qualified) question would be yes I think. The technical difficulty is mostly like a very enjoyable scamble, but with a few more hair-raising spots here and there (But those spots have fixed aids in place to make life easier). It's definitely achieveable for someone who isn't an uber rock-jock :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 312 ✭✭Gasherbraun


    Sorry to slightly hijack the thread OP but to the two posters who have mentioned it what is a typical time to get up Tryfan and back down for a reasonably fit person? I have a long day in Wales coming up and will have a few hours to kill in Snowdonia and was thinking of climbing it up the North side above the A5. Thanks


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 302 ✭✭JonKelleher


    Enduro wrote: »
    It depends... do you want to climb it under your own steam, so to speak (i.e. with your mate(s) but without a guide), or are you happy enough to have pay a guide to bring you up?

    Definitely the best climb I ever did. A bit like a very very long version of howling ridge in terms of exposure.

    More than happy to have a guide bring me up!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,628 ✭✭✭Enduro


    The level of skills required to be guided up is a lot lower. Basically they'll take care of all saftey aspects, setting up the rope etc etc. Might be worth contacting the guides Bureau in Zermatt to see if they have any recommendations of what mimimum skill level is required/recommended.

    To be honest though, if it is really big ambition of yours (as it was for my climbing partner), then there is a lot more satisifaction in building up to it by learning the skills of alpine climbing for yourself and making the climb without a guide. It'll proably take a year or two longer to go down that route, but the journey is part of the achievemtent (and will give you an amazing new activity for decades to come!).


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,628 ✭✭✭Enduro


    Sorry to slightly hijack the thread OP but to the two posters who have mentioned it what is a typical time to get up Tryfan and back down for a reasonably fit person? I have a long day in Wales coming up and will have a few hours to kill in Snowdonia and was thinking of climbing it up the North side above the A5. Thanks

    That's the main route up. It's a huge "it depends" question. I could probably get up and down in about 3 hours, but then I'm a mountain runner! From memory about 5 or 6 hours would give you a nice relaxed day out on the mountain.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 54 ✭✭gavinhenson


    What kind of expense are you talking?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,620 ✭✭✭Roen


    I'm not sure if it's been climbed much this year. It was pretty much in Winter conditions for a fair bit of this Summer. Switzerland itself is enjoying one of the wettest Summers in well over half a century. That'll all be dumping as snow higher up.
    The poor conditions combined with the closure of the Hornli hut til July '15 means a lot of guides aren't bothering.

    Oh, and the Swiss solution to closing the hut? Charge you €125 a night for a tent 400m lower down the mountain. Mightn't sound like much but sticking 400m on to what's already a long day and charging people extra just to kip in a makeshift campsite is taking the piss.

    I assume you are looking at next year to allow for training etc? The problem is that when the hut opens next year it will probably be booked solid as anyone with it on their list for this year will aim for next year.

    Anyway sorry for the negativity, despite all I've said there's other routes up of course and you will find guides that are plenty willing to go up them.

    Now, I'd murder a Toblerone.


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