Mount Matterhorn

Switzerland, Italy

Not Suitable For Families

About Mount Matterhorn

Settled amongst verdant vegetation, and rising to a height of 4,478 m (14,692 ft) in a near perfect pyramid, the Matterhorn mountain in the Pennine Alps has been described as ‘the most noble cliff in Europe’.

Its name is of German derivation, ‘matte’ meaning ‘meadow’ and ‘horn’ meaning ‘peak’.  Lying on the border between Italy and Switzerland, the Matterhorn rises in splendid isolation, its four faces aligned with the four compass points of North, East, South and West.   Whilst not possessing the highest peak in this mountain range, (it’s actually the 10th highest), it is the most famous, and a recognized icon of this region of Switzerland.

The Matterhorn has two summits, one named the Swiss summit, overlooking the town of Zermatt to the north, and the Italian summit overlooking Cervinia to the south. Its steep sides mean little ice or snow cling to its rocky faces, and its exposed position make it vulnerable to rapid weather changes.


Prone to avalanches of snow and rock falls, it provides severe and testing challenges to climbers. The Hornli ridge on the north east side of the mountain, facing Zermatt, is considered the easiest of the climbs, though this route is still extremely dangerous.

Another, perhaps safer, way to explore the mountain is by trekking the Tour of the Matterhorn. At 145 km (90 mi), this circuit takes in many ancient trails that have linked the Swiss and Italian valleys for centuries and passes through alpine meadows, high passes, larch forests, balcony trails and glacial crossings at altitudes of up to 3,000 m (~9,842 ft). Even this, while spectacular, is considered fairly arduous and basic climbing gear and excellent fitness levels are required for this eight to ten day adventure.

There are rail and cable-car facilities in the area for viewing the peaks in a less strenuous way.

Landscape Photography
Ice Climbing
Rock Climbing
Switzerland, Italy
Latitude: 45.976417, Longitude: 7.658456