This trip should appeal to the aspiring mountaineer and anyone who wants to challenge themselves and learn plenty of new skills across the week. If you have climbed Mont Blanc or the Monterosa before but maybe feel the Matterhorn is a bit of a stretch then this trip is for you.
In the shadow of the Matterhorn and with distance views to Grand Combin and Mont Blanc this is surly one of the great mountaineering circuits to complete.
We can offer this trip on a guiding ratio of 1:2 where ten 4000m can be climbed over six days. We can add an additional 2-3 peaks on a ratio of 1:1 due to the more technical and exposed nature of these ones (see * and notes below).
With 5 nights in comfortable mountain huts most on the Italian side of the massif, hence the Spaghetti Tour analogy!
Arrive in Zermatt, check-in to the hotel, meet the guide for our welcome meeting and overnight in the hotel.
Take the Klein Matterhorn cable car and make an ascent of the Breithorn (4164m) via Breithorn West and Breithorn Central, a great traverse of the mountain with some fine mixed climbing. We overnight in the Guide d'Ayas hut.
From the Guide d'Ayas hut we climb back up to ascend Pollux (4092m) typically via its SW ridge; followed by an ascent of Castor (4228m) also via its SW ridge. From here we overnight in the Quintino Sella Hut.
On leaving the hut we aim to climb Ill Naso del Lyskamm (4272m), the route is graded PD and involves a steep section of snow/ice on the West Face. If conditions are good we can continue and make a traverse of Lyskamm* (4,527m) from West to East, this provides a fine climb graded AD with a narrow exposed ridge. From here we descend to the Rifugio Gnifetti where we overnight.
From the Rifugio Gnifetti we climb to Piramide Vincent (4,215m), a relatively straight forward snow ascent from the Rifugio. From here we make a traverse to Corno Nero (Schwarzhorn) at 4,321m, Ludwigshohe 4,341m and finally Parrotspitze 4,432m. A great traverse linking all the peaks, it's not especially difficult but the sustained altitude will make the going tough! From here we head to the Margharita hut, perched at 4,554m the highest refuge in Europe, where you overnight.
From the Margharita hut climb we Punta Gnifetti (Signalkuppe) 4,554 only a short distance from the hut. We continue onwards to Punta Zumstein* (4,563m) and in good conditions we can do a traverse of the Dufourspitze* 4,634m. This is a narrow ridge where a head for heights is essential and a fine end to the weeks climbing. From here we descend to the Monterosa hut where we spend the night.
Descend from the Monterosa Hut to Zermatt, overnight in the hotel.
Depart after breakfast.
Traverse of Lyskamm and Zumsteinspitze - Dufourspitze can only be guided on a 1:1 ratio, we can provide the majority of the above itinerary on a 1:2 ratio but for these 3 peaks a 1:1 ratio is mandatory. Therefore for parties of 1:2 on this itinerary the guide would adjust to the route to take this into account.
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The price includes:
The price does not include:
*Single rooms are subject to availability and supplement.
This is based on the 1:2 guide to client ratio. If you are interested in the 1:1 option to include the other peaks please contact our office to discuss.
Here at the Mountain Tracks, we give you our word that we will fully refund every part of your package holiday if it is not able to run due to COVID-19.
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• Base Layer Top and Bottoms – a few base layer tops, usually long-sleeved is best, wool base layers form Ortovox are good as they offer good wicking properties and dry quickly. 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 Primaloft 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 a 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 jackets. 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.
These items are essential for all alpine mountaineering courses
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)
There are 2 grades of boots for alpine trekking and mountaineering: B1 and B2
• B1 boots are usually lightweight boots offering more flexibility when walking and are usually suitable only for trekking, easy glacier walking and Via Ferrata trips.
• B2 boots are semi-rigid boots that are the best option for summer alpine mountaineering trips. There are leather and 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.
Key features of a good alpine boot include Vibram soles, a reversed leather upper (which protect the best side of the leather from scuffing and abrasion and improves durability and water resistance) and ankle flex and a higher cut which give control, mobility and support.
Boots can be hired in resort but to avoid discomfort we do strongly recommend that you have your own pair which needs to be well worn-in prior to your trip.
Alpine huts supply hut slippers so that you don't need to take any other footwear apart from your boots. Boots are not allowed in the dining room or dormitories and must be left in the foyer.
• 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
• 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)
• 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!!
• Hold-all bag - for gear not required on trek. Will be left at first hotel and collected on return.
• 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
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 the Mont Blanc Climber week in Chamonix and guideline prices for 6 days hire are:
Mountaineering boots €55
Ice Axe €30
Boot crampons €35
If you wish to hire any technical kit please contact us in advance with your requirements.
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
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
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 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.
The impending deadline for the UK to leave the EU may have you worried, especially if you have travel plans in the new year, however with a few steps you can make sure you are well prepared for any eventuality. As of January 1st 2021, there will be new rules for UK residence when travelling to the EU and other European countries.
The Ski Club of Great Britain has compiled some of that advice to help skiers and snowboarders understand the changes, and what they might need to do if they are travelling after the Brexit deadline.
At Border control, you may have to show your return ticket and money
At border control, you may need to:
Visas for short trips: you will not need one if you’re a tourist
If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.
You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel.
On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:
If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
Most holiday companies have taken measures to ensure that there will be minimal impact to their guests’ experience.
If you are taking a package deal that is covered by ABTA, ABTOT & ATOL you will have the same buyer protection as before. You should always purchase travel insurance to make sure you are covered in case of delays or cancellations. If in doubt about arrangements contact your tour operator to make sure there aren’t any changes. It is probably worth adding a little extra time before passport control just in case things aren’t running as smooth as normal.
Both Ski Club Freshtracks and Mountain Tracks holidays are covered by ATOL & ABTOT protection and are guaranteed to run regardless of the new Brexit rules. Take a look at our holidays here.
Most travel insurers will offer the same amount of coverage in EU countries as they did before if you already have a policy with them, in fact, many of them are underwritten by large EU corporations. It is possible that premiums might go up after December 31st as we leave the EHIC scheme and other shared healthcare and insurance organizations. If you aren’t sure whether your insurance still covers you, head to their website or give them a call.
Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020. It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.
Ski Club Insurance will continue to provide the same cover whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. For full Insurance, policy details go here.
A ‘green card’ is proof that you have motor insurance cover when driving abroad. You should plan to carry one for the vehicle you’re driving in the EU and EEA, including in Ireland, from 1 January 2021.
You will need to carry multiple green cards if:
Contact your vehicle insurance provider 6 weeks before you travel to get green cards for your vehicle, caravan or trailer. The green card can be emailed to you by your insurer for you to print. For more information head to gov.uk
From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway will end.
A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing.
You can find all the latest information on gov.uk.
You want to arrange to arrive in Zermatt by mid-afternoon on the first day, we will have a welcome meeting at the hotel around 7pm with our guide.
We suggest you take the train from either Geneva or Zurich airports, you can look up train timetables at www.sbb.ch/en
All our mountaineering trips are run by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.
You will stay 2 nights in our preffered hotel in Zermatt, usually the Hotel Tannenhof on a bed & breakfast basis; this is one night at the start of the week and one night at the end.
You have 5 nights in mountain hut accommodation on a half board basis.
I have no previous mountaineering experience but I am keen to learn the basics of using crampons and an ice axe and rope work. I would enjoy ascending rocky scrambles and easy angled snow and ice. I am a regular hill walker summer and winter and used to long days out, I am happy to walk for 6-8hrs per day carrying all my gear in my rucksack. For Via Ferrata trips a head for heights and some upper body strength is useful.
I have undertaken some previous rocky scrambling and short rock climbs, ice or easy alpine climbing. I am comfortable moving on rocky and snowy ridges and slopes of up to 40 degrees. I enjoy the challenge of more remote technical terrain. I would like to learn more about alpine rope work. I can improve my crampon / ice axe technique and could scramble on rock with greater efficiency.
I have previous experience climbing alpine PD+ or harder. I am undeterred by scrambling and have done some pitched climbing on rock or ice. I have a firm grasp of the rope techniques necessary for pitched climbing and crossing glaciers. I am confident when using crampons and ice axe. I relish the thought of climbing steep rock and ice or traversing an exposed ridge covered in snow and ice. I can abseil, know how to use a prussic knot and make myself safe on basic belay stances.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.