Sharpen your climbing skills in fresh Alpine air, then climb the Matterhorn
Mountaineering in Switzerland: Frequently-Asked Questions about The Matterhorn
Sharpen your climbing skills with two days of alpine practice, take four days to relax, or hike or climb independently... then begin a two-day ascent of the famous Matterhorn, accompanied by an experienced guide.
This FAQ page is intended to accompany other pages about this trip and about our company (see links at left). Some of the answers below may include links to other other sites; please use the BACK key of your browser to return to this page.
Where is Zermatt? How do I get there?
If you’re flying to Switzerland, Geneva is the closest major city to Zermatt. Milan, Italy is equally close, but is convenient only if you're flying into the Linate airport, which offers fairly easy access to the city and train station; Milan's Malpensa is much further out. Zurich and Basel are only slightly farther, and Swiss rail transportation is excellent, so you can pick an entry point based on what city you’d like to visit, or where you get the best fares.
Some people fly into Paris, Munich, or another cities they’ve always wanted to see. You’ll need to change trains in Brig or Visp, at the bottom of the valley and about an hour from Zermatt, no matter where you come from.
Should I get a Swiss rail pass?
If you are not doing additional travel within Switzerland, we recommend the Swiss Card (not to be confused with the Swiss Pass), which will (as of this writing -- subject, but not likely, to change), get you from your entry point (the Swiss border, or any airport in Switzerland) to most destinations (including Zermatt and Grindelwald), and back; it also gives you a 50% discount on additional travel (including some of the lifts and railroads from Zermatt.) You can find out more about various passes from RailEurope. But please remember: We never promised that this was simple.
How many days are there in a 9-day trip?
When does the trip start and end?
What level of difficulty is the Matterhorn?
You should have both rock-climbing and mountain climbing experience, including experience using climbing ropes and crampons. You need to be in excellent physical shape.
If you can be in Zermatt (or anywhere else at altitude) for a few more days before the trip begins, that will also help you acclimatize.
When is the best time to climb the Matterhorn??
What's the weather like in this part of the Alps?
During these months, we've rarely had more than half a day of rain during the course of a week. However, like mountain weather anywhere, conditions here can change quickly, and we recommend that you always carry a light waterproof top.
On the Matterhorn itself, of course, you'll encounter far different conditions, including snow and ice. Please use our checklist, sent in advance of the trip, to be sure you're prepared for the climb.
What is the Glacier Express?
If your schedule allows, we encourage you to travel to or from Zermatt via the the Glacier Express. You can take it all the way to or from St. Moritz, or you can go to Chur and transfer to a direct train to Zurich. If you've got a choice, taking the train at the end of the week gives you a chance to share the journey with new friends. You can use the web to check Glacier Express Schedules.
Our website includes a full page of comments from past travelers. Most of them have volunteered to talk about their experiences with future potential travelers. Please call for the names and phone numbers of references in your area.