Zermatt, Switzerland

The Italian High Level Route

This wonderful glacier trek - aka the Matterhorn trek or the "Spaghetti Tour" - provides a high (mostly above 3000m) circumnavigation of the Monte Rosa massif and the Matterhorn, the Alps' most iconic mountain. It crosses some of the most spectacular glacial scenery on the Swiss Italian border. The route also takes in technically straightforward peaks, some above 4000m. It has superb trekking on and off the glaciers and is aimed at the experienced trekker or beginner mountaineer. The trip starts and finishes in Zermatt, the centre of Swiss alpinism.

Day Itinerary

  • Meet at the hotel in Zermatt in the evening for a welcome meeting, briefing and equipment check.
  • We pick up some lunch in one of the local bakeries and then catch the lift to Furi (1867m). From here we follow the trail to Furgg (2427m) and thus begin our historic climb towards the Hornlihutte (3260m). Whilst negotiating the exposed path that winds its way up the East ridge we get spectacular views of Whymper's 1865 line of ascent. Looking right we see the majestic and imposing North Face where the ill fated Hudson, Hadow and Croz fell on descent from the summit. Luckily we don't have to bivouac as Whimper did. We stay in the newly renovated Hornlihutte which is privately owned by the local guides.
  • From the Hornlihutte we descend the rocky path to Hirli and traverse to the Trockener Steg lift station. From here we catch the Klein Matterhorn lift to 3883m. A straightforward snow climb leads us to the summit of the Breithorn (4164m). From here we descend on to the Schwarztor glacier which we traverse to the toe of Pollux (4092m). From this point an easy descent is made to the welcoming Refugio d’Ayas (3440m). We are now in Italy!
  • Leaving the Ayas hut early, we descend past the Mezzalama hut (3004m) to the Plan di Verra in the Val d’Ayas. From here we trek over the Passo di Bettolina (2905m) and down into Stafal for well earned refreshments. Both these valleys are famous for their herds of ibex. From Stafal we catch the cable car to Gabi Alp half way up the Salati Lift. We then walk down and around to the newly renovated Oresteshuette (2600m). The refuge has been sympathetically restored with modern rooms, facilities and excellent food.
  • Sunrise at the Orestes hut is spectacular, if you’re up that early! After breakfast we ascend the summer path past the new Punta Indren lift and on to the Mantova Hut where we spend the night.
  • From the Mantova hut we ascend the glacier to the Lisjoch (4151m) and cross back into Switzerland. This col accesses an amazing high glacial plateau with easy glaciated peaks all above 4000m. Our objective is the Balmenhorn (4167m) and then on to Signalkuppe (4556m) where we take a break at the highest refuge in the alps (Margarita Hut). After refreshments we head over the Zumsteinspitz (4563m) and down the Grenz glacier to the Monte Rosa Hut (2795m) where we stay the night.
  • After breakfast we head down the Gornergrat glacier to Rotenboden. From here we get the Gornergrat railway down to Zermatt in time for a celebratory lunch. After we return to our hotel, there's time for some shopping in the afternoon.
  • Depart after breakfast.

2018

Dates

Price

Sat 30 Jun
- Sat 07 Jul
£1499 Book
Sat 28 Jul
- Sat 04 Aug
£1499 Book
Sat 25 Aug
- Sat 01 Sep
£1499 Book

The price includes all guiding fees & expenses, b&b hotel accommodation (twin room), half-board accommodation in mountain huts

The price does not travel to / from Zermatt, 2 evening meals, lunches, drinks, local transfers and uplift costs.

Single room occupancy in the hotel in Zermatt may incur an additional charge.

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This list contains our recommended clothing and equipment for the Italian High Level Route trek.

Key for a successful and enjoyable trek is to bring the correct clothing and footwear.

In the summer months, the days generally start cold and warm up during the morning to become hot in the afternoon. It is therefore essential you have 2-3 thin layers which you are able to put on/take off as the conditions change. Thin layers also allow better movement as opposed to one layer of bulky clothing. In the Alps there is permanent snow throughout the summer above about 2700m and on the glaciers. This means you will be walking on snow & ice for significant portions of the trip, with crampons on your alpine boots.

If you are uncertain about exactly what to bring or have any questions, please contact us

    • Base Layer Top and Bottoms – a few base layer tops, usually long sleeved is best, wool base layers form Smartwool or Icebreaker are good as they offer good wicking properties and dry quickly. A short sleeved top is worth brining too for hot days. For your legs a couple of pairs of long or ¾ length bottoms are best.

    • Mid-layer fleece tops – a couple of fleece type jacket or tops that can be worn between your base layer and outer layers. The “Layering” approach offers the best heat retention and flexibility in warm and cold weather.

    • Insulation Layer - a down or primalotf jacket is a good item to have ready to wear in the event of cold weather, it can live in your rucksack as a spare layer and can come in very handy for sudden changes in the weather.

    • Lightweight softshell type trousers - you want to wear a lightweight softshell or similar material on your legs, these types of trouser offer good protection from snow/ice as well as abrasion on rock and are comfortable to move in.

    • Walking shorts or pair of trousers with zip-off legs. Useful for walk-ins to huts on hot days.

    • Gore-Tex Jacket - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable jacket. Best to have a lightweight jacket that can be worn in the event of wet or windy weather but is packable enough to fit in your rucksack. Your insulated ski jacket will be overkill and too hot and bulky.

    • Gore-Tex Pants - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable trousers. Lightweight is important plus side zips for putting on over your boots and crampons. Used in cold, wet and windy weather.

    • Sun hat and warm hat – bring a wide-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap plus a warm beanie style hat.

    • Light, thin gloves – a thin pair of fleece or softshell gloves for warm weather are a must.

    • Insulated gloves - You need to have a pair of waterproof warm gloves to wear on cold days

    • Gaiters – these are useful to wear to keep snow out of your boots.

    • Socks - 3-4 pairs of medium weight socks usually mid-calf length is good.

  • The Haute Route is a glacier trek and significant time is spent walking on snow and ice. You therefore require a boot which is ‘B2’ rated. This is a semi-rigid boot available in either leather or plastic/composite options. Leather boots tend to be more comfortable and breathable whereas plastic/composite boots are warmer and more waterproof. B2 boots are compatible with C1 and C2 crampons.

    Boots can be hired in resort but to avoid discomfort we do strongly recommend that you have your own pair which need to be well worn-in prior to your trip.

    Alpine huts supply hut slippers, croc type shoes, that you can use.  We do recommend you pack a pair of flip-flops for the night you spend in Arolla on our Haute Route Trek as the hotel does not supply any shoes and its more comfortable to walk around in these than your boots or socks!


  • These items are essential for all our alpine trekking trips.

    All items can be hired from Mountain Tracks or from sport shops in the Alps.

    • Climbing helmet
    • Ice Axe - General mountaineering / alpine pick 55-70cms long depending on your height.
    • Boot crampons - with anti-balling plates.
    • Climbing Harness – adjustable leg loops are useful for easy of putting on over your boots.
    • Adjustable trekking pole(s)
    • Rucksack - A simple and lightweight pack with a capacity of between 35-45 liters is recommended. You need to have one loop for carrying an ice axe on your rucksack.

    • Lightweight sleeping bag liner – a silk or cotton sleeping bag liner is now compulsory in all mountain huts.

    • Water bottle or Thermos – a water bottle or hydration system is needed.

    • Head torch with spare batteries

    • Penknife

    • Personal first Aid Kit - Should contain:

      • Plasters – of various sizes and possibly some adhesive wound dressings.

      • Pain Killers – aspirin or Paracetamol/Nurofen

      • Antiseptic cream or wipes

      • Blister kit – compeed and elastic tape to hold it in place (essential)!

      • (Note: Guides will have comprehensive first aid kits and are qualified in mountain first aid)

    • Whistle

    • Sun Glasses - minimum category 3.

    • Ski Goggles – these can be very useful if you encounter strong winds and poor weather.

    • Sunscreen and Lip Protection

    • Ear Plugs - For noisy huts!!

    • Camera

    • Hold-all bag - for gear not required on trek. Will be left at first hotel and collected on return.

    • Passport

    • Money - You will need some cash for food and drinks. There are some ATMs and most hotels, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards, but most huts still accept cash only. You should allow about 30-40 Swiss Francs or 25-35 Euros per day for lunch and drinks (amount approximate and depends on consumption).

    • Toiletries – Should contain:

      • Toothbrush and paste - a mini one is ideal

      • Soap

      • Anti-bacterial hand cleaner

      • Wet wipes – essential to try to maintain hygiene

      • Tissues and toilet roll

      • Small light quick dry towel e.g. a Lifeventure Soft fiber towel

      • (Any other essentials you need but remember there are no shower facilities and generally no running water in the huts and you have to carry everything with you!)

      • Alpine club card - If you're a member.

    • Book, pack of cards and or Ipod/MP3 player – It’s nice to have something to read or listen to when you are in the huts or to challenge your fellow travelers to a game of card. These items are not essential but if you have space you might appreciate them.

  • It is possible to hire boots and the technical items needed for our alpine trekking trips in resort. Prices do change by resort/country, but here’s an approximate guide to hire costs (for the 8 day trip):
    Mountaineering boots €70-80 
    Ice Axe €50
    Harness €40
    Boot crampons €50-60

    Our guides are also able to hire these technical items to you for your trip (excluding boots).

    If you wish to hire from Mountain Tracks then please contact us in advance to book this up.

Zermatt.jpg

Zermatt

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Zermatt is a charming alpine village. It is car-free and reached only by a 15 minute train journey from the valley station of Tasch. As you would expect given its location it is one of Europe's main centres of alpinism and is a bustling town in both winter and summer.

Surely there is no more dramatic sight in the Alps than the distinctive shape of the Matterhorn!  At 4,478m it may not be the highest mountain in the Alps, but it is easily the most recognised.

All three of Zermatt's main ski areas soar to at least 3,100m. Good snow conditions are almost guaranteed and there are some superb long runs back down to the village. At 3,883m the Klein Matterhorn lift is one of the highest cable car in the world. The ski down from here is almost 13 kilometres - with 2,200 vertical metres of varied descent.  Zermatt has extensive off-piste terrain and thanks to the extremely high altitude and abundance of north facing slopes, powder snow can still be found many days after it falls. In spring especially, huge areas of both powder and spring snow can be found off piste.

Zermatt is the Alps' biggest heliskiing center and its helicopter pad in the village is very busy during the winter months. Many of the runs do not require excellent skiing ability. The scenery, as you'd expect, is truly spectacular.

Our top reasons to visit Zermatt 

  • Switzerland’s premier destination for alpinism and skiing, a traditional Swiss village that has the additional benefit of being car-free
  • Idyllic location high in the mountains with beautiful scenery and surrounded by thirty 4,000m+ peaks
  • The Matterhorn – one of the world’s most iconic mountains
  • Justifiably rated as one of the world’s best ski and climbing resorts
  • Huge ski terrain with lots of variety including world class off-piste. The highest point of the Zermatt ski area is not far short of 4,000m. Good skiing can usually be had until end April and ski touring well into May
  • Excellent après-ski and nightlife
  • Possible to ski across to Italy for lunch in Cervinia!

 

Resort Information:

Resort Height: 1,650m
Highest Lift: 3,883m
Nearest Airport: Zurich or Geneva

Transfer Options: We recommend you take the train from Zurich or Geneva airport to Zermatt. Connections are regular and the its takes approximatly 4hrs from Geneva with 1 change and 3hrs 30 mins with 1 or 2 cahnged from Zurich airport. To look up train timetables use this link Swiss Railway Timetables

More about the Matterhorn

  • The Matterhorn is known as Monte Cervino in Italian and Mont Cervin in French.
  • It is located in the Pennine Alps (at 45°58′N, 7°39′E) on the border between Switzerland and Italy. 
  • It was first climbed in 1865 by a climbing party that included Edward Whymper. It was the last major mountain of the Alps to be climbed. 
  • The North Face of the Matterhorn is one of the six great north faces of the Alps. The others are: the Cima Grande di Lavaredo, the Piz Badile, the Petit Dru, the Eiger, and the Grandes Jorasses.
  • A miniature imitation of the Matterhorn featuring a bobsled ride is one of the attractions at Disneyland in Anaheim, California
  • It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.

    For UK residents we recommend Ski Club Travel Insurance.

    For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
    If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
     

  • All our trekking trips are run by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.

  • We stay the first and last nights in a family-run hotel in the village of Zermatt.
    The other nights are spent on a half-board basis in traditional alpine mountain huts which function as basic hotels with limited facilities and dormitory style accommodation. In the huts breakfast and evening meals are included and are generally nourishing and plentiful.
  • The Alps generally have a very pleasant climate throughout the spring, summer and autumn with warm days and cool nights, with daytime temperatures in the valley around 25 - 30°C. At high altitude the temperature often goes down below -10 and can feel even colder with wind chill.

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