12-day Mont Blanc, Matterhorn & Eiger Program


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Guiding Fees

Maximum Ratio
1:1 for Matterhorn and Eiger

2:1 is possible for Mont Blanc and training climbs

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See also:
Mont Blanc & Matterhorn 8-day program
Jungfrau, Monte Rosa & Mont Blanc 9-day program
Mont Blanc

Eiger from Kleine Scheidegg

This 12-day itinerary takes in the 3 most famous peaks in the Alps: Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and the Eiger. The schedule allows for several days acclimatization prior to our climb of Mont Blanc, as well as 2 extra days to accommodate bad weather or other needs. If we are able to achieve our primary goals of the three peaks early we can use the additional 2 days for ascents of the Mönch or the Jungfrau, in the Grindelwald area, or one of the many peaks in the Zermatt area; the Breithorn, Castor, Monte Rosa and others.

This program begins in the Chamonix valley. After a number of training and acclimatization climbs followed by our ascent of Mont Blanc, we move on to Zermatt and the Matterhorn. The itinerary finishes in Grindelwald, access point for the Eiger.

For safety reasons we climb at a maximum ratio of one climber per guide on the Matterhorn and the Eiger. If you are a group of two climbers, we can do Mont Blanc and the training climbs at a 2:1 ratio. But when we finally go to the Eiger and Matterhorn, the greater difficulty of these climbs requires a 1:1 ratio. We would add another guide for the last 7 days of this program.

Both the Eiger and the Matterhorn need to be in good, relatively dry climbing condition to be reasonable objectives. Please see our Matterhorn Conditions page for a much more detailed discussion of this. In general, the comments there apply equally well to the Eiger.

Sunrise on Mont Maudit

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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 2450 meters, almost 8000 feet, descent of the Goûter route, and we have a very long day, indeed.

Both the Matterhorn and Eiger are more difficult still, and are primarily rock climbs, with some steep snow. The challenge on these peaks is to keep to good time while climbing carefully and smoothly. In technical terms the difficulties are not extreme, being only about 5.6 (French 4c). But both routes are very exposed and entail thousands of feet of steep 4th class rock that must be climbed quickly and surely. The Matterhorn involves over 1200 meters, 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.


Participants for this 12-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 (French 5a) 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.

12-Day Program - Eiger, Matterhorn & Mont Blanc

Day 0

Evening meeting in Chamonix to go over equipment, logistics, etc.

Day 1

Take the aerial tramway to the top of the Aiguille du Midi, and continue on across the Vallée Blanche glacier on the tramway, to the Torino Hut. Review snow and glacier travel skills.

Day 2

Climb the Tour Ronde or the Aiguille d'Entrèves, and hike across the glacier or take the tramway back to the Cosmiques Hut near the Aiguille du Midi.

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.

Day 3

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. We have a choice of climbs; the Cosmiques Arête on the Aiguille du Midi (mixed rock, snow and ice); snow and ice climbing on the northeast flank of Mont Blanc du Tacul; an easy scenic tour of the Pointes Lachenal; or rock climbing on the Pyramide du Tacul. The goal is to enjoy ourselves while continuing to acclimatize and to prepare for the long climb of Mont Blanc the following day.

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.

Day 4

Climb Mont Blanc (4808 meters, 15770 feet) 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.

Day 5

Travel to Zermatt.

Day 6 Tramway and hike to the Hörnli Hut on the Matterhorn.
Day 7

Climb the Matterhorn (4478 meters, 14,687 feet) and descend to Zermatt for the night.

Day 8

Extra day for weather or rest, can be spent cragging or hiking in the area.

Day 9

Travel to Grindelwald and on to Kleine Scheidegg.

Day 10

Take the Jungfraujoch railway to the Eismeer station. Emerge from the tunnel onto the Challifirn glacier, and traverse it a short distance to the rocks which lead up to the hut. Four pitches of technical climbing lead to 3rd class scrambling, and the Mittellegi hut.

Day 11

Climb the Mittellegi Ridge to the summit of the Eiger (3970 meters, 13021 feet), descend via the south ridge to the Mönchsjochhütte, or via the west flank, to Kleine Scheidegg. Descend to Kleine Scheidegg or Grindelwald for the night.

Day 12

Extra day for weather or rest, can be spent cragging or hiking in the area.

Mont Blanc

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Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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