A 4000er near Zermatt that served as a memorable first climb in the Swiss Alps!
The famous Matterhorn towers over Zermatt. We hoped to climb it a few days later but unfortunately there ended up being too much new snow.
The long, steep trail leading from the town of Zermatt (approximately 5,300 feet) to the Rothorn Hut (10,500 ft). It was very hot down here at 7,000 feet. We still had a lot of elevation to gain!
A "hotel" partway up the trail called Hotel Trift. Lots of people were taking a break here and having snacks and drinks. I believe it was the turn around point for many of the hikers.
Approaching Trift Glacier en route to the Rothorn Hut which is located on a rocky rib between the Trift and Rothorn Glaciers.
Wellenkuppe (3,903 meters) as seen on the approach to the Rothorn Hut.
The Rothorn Hut at 10,500 feet finally comes into view. Its approximately 4.5 miles from and 5,200 feet above Zermatt. The hike took us just under 4 hours at a very leisurly pace.
Helicopters fly around the Zermatt area on a daily basis delivering supplies to the mountain huts. We were surprised to see this one swoop in and land on the small ledge very close to where we were sitting.
Two climbers in the gully near the start of the rock climb portion of Zinalrothorn's normal route. The terrain gets a rating of about 5.3. The hutkeeper allowed everyone to get up an hour earlier than usual (3am) because bad weather was predicted for the afternoon. The skies are already very cloudy and a few flakes of snow are falling.
Looking back at Dominic as we climb up the final exposed ridge. The fog masked the huge drops on either side.
Our guide Simon leading an exposed traverse below the ridge crest.
Simon belaying us across the exposed ridge.
Us with Zinalrothorn's summit cross. The weather was quickly deteriorating so we headed back down less than five minutes after summitting. The first boom of thunder came just a few minutes later (around 7am).
Looking back at the final portion of the ridge from near rhe summit. Several climbers can be seen near the crest. Notice the fresh snow on the rocks. It was really starting to pick up.
A closer look at the climbers on the narrow ridge. It was seconds later that the thunder and lightning began.
A party ahead of us retreating back down the ridge.
The descent was a slippery one and we soon donned crampons. Most parties downclimbed or lowered weaker members down everything and we only saw one pair of climbers rappelling. We downclimbed most of it but Simon did lower us over a few tricky spots to save time.
How can I be so happy in the middle of an electrical storm? We were finally off the most exposed part of the ridge, but we definately weren't out of the woods yet! Look at all that new snow.
Fairwell view of the Rothorn Hut.
View on the descent back to Zermatt. Hotel Trift can be seen through the low clouds.