David Dougherty on the Breithorn and Matterhorn • August 4-6, 2007

For a few years now, David has been coming to the Alps each summer from his home in Wales, hoping to climb the Matterhorn. And for a few years, the weather or conditions on the peak have kept him from the summit.

Things were not looking particularly good the days prior to his arrival in Zermatt. A recent storm had put snow down on the peak, and there was some concern that it might not melt quickly enough before the arrival of the next weather system, forecast for the 7th. But, to make a long story short, the two fine days of the 4th and 5th were warm enough to clear the route, and clear the way to a summit attempt.

Other Recent Trips


On our first day, we climbed the Half Traverse of the Breithorn. This is a great warm-up, and, as you can see offers some great views. This photo was taken while on the summit of the Breithorn after our climb.


Stepping back in time a couple hours, we traverse the glacier on the Italian side of the Breithorn, as we approach the route.


Dave negotiates a short but steep snow section on the Breithorn.


Great rock and a fine position on the Breithorn. Monte Rosa behind.


After our climb, with a bit of time still on our hands, we visited the ice grotto near the summit of the Klein Matterhorn. Among other oddities is an icy Buddha.


The forecast looked good for a Monday ascent. As the hike up to the Hörnli hut is only a couple hours long, we decided to make a fuller day of it by enjoying the new via ferrata located just above Zermatt. Here, in the morning sun we approach the route.


Big exposure so close to town.


Somebody's idea of a joke. A nonfunctional spigot high on the route. As the route faces the sun, it can get quite warm and thirsty out.


The Matterhorn from our approach. You can see how quickly the snow melts by comparing this photo with the one from the top of the Breithorn, the previous day.


Sunset from the Hörnli hut.


With a 3:30 am wake up, we were off by 4 am. Here we arrive at the Solvay hut with the sun at 6:20 in the morning.


Climbing just below the shoulder.


On the summit of the Matterhorn. It is 8:30 in the morning on a beautiful day.


Looking over at the "Italian" summit, about a meter shorter than the "Swiss" summit.


And the long downclimb back to civilization. Here we are just a bit above the Solvay hut.


High clouds in the afternoon, as we descend. Another major storm system did arrive the following day, and once again the Matterhorn goes out of condition.

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