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Matterhorn Traverse

~ Wednesday 30th August 2017

The Matterhorn, the world's most famous mountain! Sitting right on the Swiss/Italian border it has 3 names and different characters to match. On Monday we travelled through the lift system from Zermatt to see what the Italian side was like...

Escaping Zermatt needs some wallet-bashing (CHF2.- to use the loo at Klein Matterhorn!) A quick walk gets you down to Italy and a complete change of style - the lift is cheap and happy, free for guides but there's no guide ticket - you have to jump the barrier. The pleasant walk across to the Abruzzi L'Oriondé hut has fine views of Il Cervino - and it looks like a different mountain from this side!

The hut deserves a mention - half the price of the Hornli hut with excellent food, great rooms with en suite bathrooms, real coffee and all served with smiles. It was a shame to have to leave at 3.30am!

But leave we did, for the long climb to Carrel. Easy as far as the Col du Lion, the section below Carrel has some good climbing and an eye-opening fixed rope. Steeper than anything on the Hornli and a shock at 5.30am!

A quick break at the now-deserted Carrel hut re-fueled legs (and arms) for the rest of the climb.

A long section of fixed rope leads to a traverse out right, a fixed cable, then a fixed chain to re-gain the ridge. Then, there's some rock climbing. The Carrel teams left just before dawn so we were behind them and had the route to ourselves for a while, catching a few confused-looking teams at the chain. A bit of un-British overtaking left us on our own again - a welcome change to the Hornli crowds.

From Pic Tyndall there's a horizontal section with a couple of short descents before the final summit tower, which is climbed mostly on fixed ropes and the infamous ladder!

From the summit the day is far from over - it's a mere 1200m of careful down-climbing to a well-earned "Matterhorn" Rosti at Hornlihutte...

Brilliant day, something I've wanted to do for a long time! It's very special when conditions, weather and a fit, motivated client all turn up at the same time! Thanks Jack.

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