Zermatt Trip - 12-26 July 2003

On 12th July 2003, myself and 16 other Club members, set off to Zermatt.

The journey consisted of 1) flying from Aberdeen to Heathrow, 2) flying from Heathrow to Geneva 3) via train from Geneva to Brig and 4) another train from Brig to Zermatt. Being Aberdonians, myself and several others, were unwilling to pay for any excess baggage and so wore winter boots, fleeces, waterproof jackets, etc on the plane as the baggage allowance was pretty much taken up with all the climbing gear. On arrival, we settled into our chalet and planned what would be our first walk the following day.

On 13th July, we set off from Zermatt, via the Trift Gorge, up to the summit of the Mettelhorn (3,406m). This was my first ever >3000m peak [Grade: W2, Ascent c.1,800m.]

At the Berggasthaus Trift:

View of Matterhorn during ascent of Mettelhorn:

View across to Liskamm, Castor, Pollux and Breithorn from Mettelhorn:

View across to Klein Matterhorn and Matterhorn:

Looking back to easy neve slopes, just crossed:

View across to Weisshorn during ascent of Mettelhorn:

Looking down to Zermatt from summit of Mettelhorn:

Myself at summit of Mettelhorn:

On 14th July, six of us took the train from Zermatt up to Gornergrat to do the West Ridge of the Stockhorn (3,532m). This was a much shorter day involving a ridge of similar difficulty to the Aonach Eagach ridge. This would be my second >3000m peak of the holiday. [Grade W2, ascent c.440m]

Looking across to Castor, Pollux and Breithorn from Gornergrat:

Group photo at Gornergrat:

On the Stockhorn ridge, pointy summit of Stockhorn in distance:

My climbing partner at the summit of Stockhorn:

Looking back to summit of Stockhorn:

On 15th July, I set off walking from Zermatt, on my own, up the Matterhorn (with the intention of going as far as the Hornli Hut, not to the top). This turned out to be a very interesting day as a rock fall took place on the Matterhorn just above the Hornli Hut resulting in 70 people having to be rescued by helicopter from above the rockfall. The world's largest ever mountain rescue. The Matterhorn was effectively closed for several days following this rockfall. Great to be there and see it all happening.
[Grade W2, Ascent c.1600m]

Ascent of lower slopes of Matterhorn from Zermatt (not using the Cable Car):

Matterhorn from Schroarxsee:

Hornli Hut (3260m), Matterhorn:

Looking down on Zermatt from Hornli Hut:

Looking up the final 1000m of the Matterhorn from Hornli Hut:

On 16th July, two of us set off walking from Zermatt to the Gornergrat summit, instead of using the train. [Grade: W1, Ascent c.1300m]

Derek on ascent to Gornergrat:

Looking down to the Monte Rosa Glacier:

On 17th July, several of us set off to the Riffelhorn (2927m) for what would be my first rock climbing during the holiday. The Riffelhorn tends to be used as a training hill for people intending to climb the Matterhorn.

We did a route on the Riffelhorn called Ordinary Route. [Grade: F, 100m climb (Alt Leads)]

The Riffelhorn:

Riffelsee below Riffelhorn:

Looking up the Riffelhorn:

Neil climbing on the Riffelhorn:

Myself climbing on the Riffelhorn:

On reaching the summit of the Riffelhorn, we didn't expect to find a couple of lassies sunbathing.

Sunbathers near summit of Riffelhorn:

Abseiling on the Riffelhorn:

Riffelhorn and Matterhorn together:

On 18th July, a large group of us set off from Zermatt, via the cable car, to the Klein Matterhorn. From here we set off roped-up in groups of three to do the South-South-West flank of the Breithorn (4,164m). This was my first ever >4000m peak (albeit an 'easy' one). We stopped at Zum Zee coffee shop on the way down for coffee and ice cream. [Grade: F, Ascent c. 370m]

Gillian waiting patiently for me and Neil to get the rope coils tied-off:

Looking back at the glacier crossing en-route to Breithorn:

Lots of climbers heading up the Breithorn:

Close-up of a crevasse (bit too close-up!):

Summit of Breithorn:

Zum Zee Coffee Shop:

On 19th July, four of us walked from Zermatt to the summit of the Oberrothorn (3414m). My third >3000m peak during the holiday. Got some great views of the Matterhorn during this walk. [Grade: W2, Ascent c.2000m]

Matterhorn from Oberrothorn walk:

Zermatt and Matterhorn from Oberrothorn walk:

Looking down the Oberrothorn and across to the Matterhorn:

Neil at summit of Oberrothorn:

Myself at summit of Oberrothorn:

Rimpfischorn from summit of Oberrothorn:

On 20th July, myself and Neil headed back to the Riffelhorn to do a harder route. We did a route called Skyline.
[Grade: AD+, Ascent c.100m (I led all pitches)]

Myself at summit of Riffelhorn:

On 21st July, I decided to take a day off walking (having been walking/climbing 8 days in a row!!!) Four of us took the train from Zermatt through to Visp and on to Milan, where we spent the day shopping and eating lots of ice cream.

On 22nd July, myself and Neil set out for our hardest climb of the holiday. An early morning start saw us taking the cable-car again up the Klein Matterhorn but this time we set off across the glaciers (jumping many crevasses en-route) to do the South-West ridge of Pollux (4092m). This was my second >4000m Alpine peak. Found crossing some of the crevasses quite scary on this one.
[Grade: AD]

Looking back across some of the glacier we crossed:

Castor from South-West ridge of Pollux:

Can't take the credit for this next photo but it shows the ridge we ascended on Pollux. Mixed route - rock then snow.

SW ridge of Pollux:

The next couple of days I pretty much spent relaxing and enjoying the odd beer or two. The day before leaving, I set out on my own to do a balcony walk from Zermatt through to Tasch. Nice easy walk with nice views over to the Weisshorn.

Weisshorn from balcony walk:

Zermatt and Matterhorn from Balcony walk:

Mettelhorn (Climbed on Day One) from balcony walk:

Some photos from Zermatt:

Zermatt Chalet:

Zermatt Main Street:

Zermatt Station:

Glacial meltwater:

Marmot statue, Zermatt:

...and finally It wasn't all hillwalking/climbing/mountaineering. I even found time to join the "Mystery Band" on stage for a duet.

Me on Stage with Mystery Band:

That was pretty much it for the holiday. Had a great time in the Alps and can't wait to get back there.