The famous Matterhorn Mountain is an iconic feature of the Swiss Alps that lies on the border between Switzerland and Italy,
overlooking the Swiss town Zermatt.
It’s one of the highest peaks in the Alps, with a 4478 meter (14692 foot) tall summit.
Despite its towering height, it’s been climbed countless times,
so much that all of its ridges and faces have been ascended in all seasons by now.
Mountain guides also take large groups of people up a route each summer.
However, that said, the climb up the Matterhorn is rather difficult, with an AD difficulty rating.
But the Swiss Alpine Club, the largest mountaineering club in Switzerland, has various huts on mountains throughout the Swiss Alps for climbers to use for shelter and emergencies.
Yet, shelter or not, I’m not sure just how many people would want to make the trek to the Solvay Hut on the Matterhorn. It’s the highest hut owned by the Swiss Mountain Club, sitting at over 13000 feet above ground level. It’s also in a shocking location, perched on the side of the enormous mountain.
The hut features rather humble construction and is pretty tiny, accommodating about 10 people at a time. It was built in 1915 and took only 5 days to complete. The building materials were brought up, with the help of animals, to another hut on the Matterhorn, the Hornli Hut, which is about 2500 feet below the Solvay Hut. From there, a temporary cable car was used to haul the materials.
It was rebuilt in 1966, and an emergency telephone was installed in 1976. Of course, what the hut lacks in luxury it certainly makes up with a jaw-dropping view!
The Solvay Hut was named after Ernest Solvay, a Belgium inventor and business man who was also an avid adventurer and clumber. He donated the hut on Hornli ridge after realizing that sudden storms could lead to deadly situations on the ridges. The Solvay Hut was built for the same purpose.
Of course, getting up to the hut that’s used in emergencies can practically cause an emergency itself. There are certainly more difficult mountains to climb than the Matterhorn, but it’s still no easy feat and definitely not something the average hiker could attempt.
Over 500 people have died while climbing the Matterhorn, many on the descent. To avoid hurting yourself, or worse, the trek requires good stamina and physical condition, plus enough rock, snow, and ice climbing experience to move efficiently enough in various mountain terrain.
The assent is also best attempted during a “good nick”, one of the 30 or so days a year when the weather is dry and the terrain free of snow and ice. Regardless of how nice the weather is though, the temperatures are still likely to dip down to frigid temperatures at night.
Still, the amazing view from the Matterhorn is certainly worth the climb for those that can successfully attempt it. You get incomparable views of the cloudy peaks of the Swiss Alps and the picturesque towns in the valleys bellow. Plus, you can take a stop at the impressive Solvay Hut. But, while it is there for emergencies, if you ever get to see it in person, let’s just hope you’re only using it for the view.
Question of the Day:
Would you climb this mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!