The recent heat wave in the alps made a lot of summits tricky to be climbed. The Matterhorn seemed to be a safe option for a very aesthetic mountain I have never been on top of.
Together with my friend Laurent Soyris we hit the road to Breuil Cervinia with the Lion’s ridge in mind, up and down. Le Lion’s ridge is supposed to be less crowded and less people means less chance to have rock falls. The weather forecast was ok for two days with some possible thunderstorms in the afternoon of the second day.
We left Breuil Cervinia (2050m) in the morning, took the cable car to Plan Maison (2500m) and hiked up to the Carrel hut, filling some water at 3 300m (after this point there is no more water and no water at the hut), meet up with a lot of Ibex and few alpinists already going down.
The really last part before to reach the Carrel hut is more steep and got fixed ropes. We tightened and were impressed by the men who climbed here for the first time 150 years ago.
We got to the hut around 1pm which gave us time to look at the route for the next days, relaxed, eat, drink, have a nap, look at the topo, speak with other alpinists, all this not necessarily in this order. And watching the great view from the sunny deck from Dent d’Hérens, Dent Blanche and the Weisshorn (we can’t see it on this pano)
3:30 am the next morning. It’s time to get up, boil some water, gear up. We started to climb a bit after 4 am, just behind a Swiss party who woke up first. It was only 5 minutes we were out and already a big rock falls happened somewhere. Not close to us at all but it was huge and the noise was terrific. This heat wave definitely made lots of things too dangerous.
Right after the hut you have some steep fixed ropes called the “wake up” rope. After those it got easier but in the dark you can lost yourself. The Swiss went a bit wrong and so we did so we had to back up and find the right way. We chose to climb a diagonal ramp that looks fine. By that time an Italian guide from Breuil Cervinia who knew the route passed us with his client. In one had it was easy because we just had to follow him, in the other hand we had to wait a bit on the steep parts. On an easy terrain they let us pass them very kindly. The rest of the ascent got easy terrain, some down climbing, and again, near the end, some steep part with fixed ropes and even a ladder.
After a bit more of 3 hours of climb we reached up the Italian summit and got welcomed by the sun and a beautiful view. We “crossed the border” to go on the Swiss summit where there was already a lot of people and decided to head down since there was a possible storm coming in the afternoon. Going down can sometimes be more tricky than going up but all went well and faster than we thought. At 2pm we were down in Breuil Cervinia, at the same time that the first drops, happy with this long and great day on an iconic mountain drawn by aesthetic lines.
I could not finished this post without thinking of the incredible performance from Kilian Jornet on this ridge : 2h52mn02s to go up and down from Breuil Cervinia to the summit. This is so unreal and fantastic!