|8-day Mont Blanc & Matterhorn Program|
2:1 is possible for Mont Blanc and training climbs
In this itinerary we spend the first 5 days in the Mont Blanc Massif culminating in an ascent of Mont Blanc. Depending on conditions we will either climb via the Traverse or via the Goûter Route. After this we will travel to Zermatt for our final climb of the Matterhorn. The itinerary includes an additional day for the Matterhorn if needed for weather or conditions.
Maximum ratio is 2:1 for Mont Blanc and the training climbs, but for safety reasons we climb at 1:1 for the Matterhorn.
We begin in Chamonix where we spend our first few days gaining much needed acclimatization and warming up on several fine climbs. Though the itinerary for these first few days can vary depending on interests, abilities and conditions, we usually prefer to base our climbing from a high hut, either the Cosmiques hut or the Torino hut. These huts are almost 12,000 feet in elevation, which makes them good places to sleep if we plan on climbing to 15,770 feet in a few days.
This is a challenging program for experienced climbers. Mont Blanc is the easiest of the three peaks, but even on this largely snowy mountain, we encounter steep climbing especially if we opt for the Traverse as our chosen route. Here, belayed climbing is common when traversing the shoulder of Mont Blanc du Tacul, as well as on two steep ice pitches on Mont Maudit. The climb of Mont Blanc is long, usually taking 6 to 7 hours from our start at the Cosmiques hut. And add to that the almost 8000 foot descent of the Goûter route, and we have a very long day, indeed.
The Matterhorn is more difficult still, and is primarily a rock climb, with some steep snow. The challenge on this peak is to keep to good time while climbing carefully and smoothly. In technical terms the difficulties are not extreme, being only about 5.6. But this route is very exposed and entail thousands of feet of steep 4th class rock that must be climbed quickly and surely, over 4000 feet of steep climbing from hut to summit, which must be descended as well. Climbers must be able to keep to a pace which allows an ascent in 4 to 5 hours. The descent takes about the same amount of time.
The Matterhorn needs to be in good, relatively dry (snow free) climbing condition to be a reasonable objective. Please see our Matterhorn Conditions page for a much more detailed discussion of this.
Participants for this 8-day program must have previous rock and ice climbing experience and be in very good condition. You should be able to climb 5.7 rock on a top rope quickly and with little difficulty. You should have extensive experience scrambling on steep rock, such as climbing in the Sierra, Cascades or Tetons. You need to be comfortable cramponing on steep 50 degree frozen snow or soft ice, both in ascent and descent.
|Climbing on the Matterhorn|
8-Day Program - Matterhorn & Mont Blanc
Evening meeting in Chamonix, to go over equipment, logistics, etc.
The first few days of this itinerary vary with interest and conditions. We normally base our first few nights at the Cosmiques hut, doing day climbs from there.
On the first day we take the aerial tramway to the top of the Aiguille du Midi, descend a short but exposed snow arête, cache extra gear at the hut and continue up the classic Arête des Cosmiques. this is a fun climb, mixed with big exposure and only a few difficult sections. We return to the hut for the evening.
There are several options for our second day, but a very good one includes the Midi-Plan Traverse. another mixed climb, longer than the Arête des Cosmiques, it finishes with a few fun rock pitches on the sharp Aiguille du Plan.
If weather or snow conditions on Mont Blanc are not optimal we may chose to climb via the Goûter Route which will require that we descend to Chamonix the evening of Day 2.
If weather and climbing conditions on Mont Blanc are good we may be able to climb in the upper Vallée Blanche area on day 3. A good choice is the traverse of the Aiguille d'Entrèves. for this climb start by traversing the Vallée Blanche to the peak. After our climb we continue over to Point Helbronner and ride the lift back to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi. from there we repeat the short approach back to the Cosmiques hut.
If weather or snow conditions on Mont Blanc are not optimal we will spend Day 3 climbing up to the Goûter Hut in preparation of our ascent via that route.
Climb Mont Blanc (4808 m, 15770') via the Traverse of Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit, or via the Goûter route depending on conditions. Descend the Goûter route to Chamonix for the night.
Travel to Zermatt.
Tramway and hike to the Hörnli Hut on the Matterhorn. This is an easy day. We arrive at the hut in the early afternoon, rested and ready to climb.
Climb the Matterhorn (4478 m, 14,687') and descend to Zermatt for the night.
Extra day as needed for weather, conditions, training, or acclimatization.
Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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