Zermatt: Our Last Trip in Switzerland (as residents)

He said he wanted to check out the new Monte Rosa Hütte. She said she wanted to see the Matterhorn. Luckily, it's possible to enjoy views of the Matterhorn during the hike to and from the Monte Rosa Hütte! And yes, the only way to get to the hut is by foot because that's the whole point! Throughout the mountains of Switzerland, hard-core hikers find refuge at huts that are more like hostels than hotels. Meals are nothing more than hot and accommodations are minimal because the purpose of staying at a hut is to rest up for the next leg of your hiking trip.

Because I don't consider myself a hard-core anything, the deal was we'd take the train to Zermatt, ride the Gornergrat Bahn to the Rotenboden stop, hike to the hut, stay the night and head back to Zermatt the next day to explore the town a bit. Every website I checked said the hike would take 2.5 hours. Well, it took us 5. (As in we got off the mountain train around 3 p.m. and didn't get to the hut until 8 p.m. just as it was getting dark.) This "hike" involved crossing a glacier and scaling a mountain, people! We certainly dealt with some scary bits. Moments when crampons would have been helpful. But we took in some breathtaking views of the Gorner Glacier and the Matterhorn, so all was well in the end. Plus, we lived to tell the story. Amen!

Also, be aware that we took this trip in late June of 2010, so you can imagine the conditions during winter. (In fact, the hut is closed during winter.)

You expect me to cross that?

Almost there?
Follow these markers for the safest "path" across the glacier...

1. When booking your stay at the hut, opt for the meals. (We thought we hadn't, but thank goodness we did because all we had with us was a can of beans and a wedge of cheese. Tomato soup never tasted so good.)
2. When the person at the "front desk" asks if you want your breakfast at 2 or 7, say 7. That is, of course, if you are one of those crazies who will have breakfast at 2 a.m. so you can get an early start on your hike to the summit.
3. Stop wondering why everyone in the hut is wearing Crocs. They're available to borrow during your stay. No wearing boots indoors!
4. Pack lots of water and snacks to stay hydrated and nourished throughout the hike.
5. Bring and use crampons.

FYI: Hold on to your Gornergrat Bahn ticket because you'll need it to exit at the Rotenboden stop. When you get off at that stop, with your back to the train tracks, start heading down to your left. We didn't see any signs pointing us in the direction of the hut until an hour or so into the hike.

On our way back the next morning...

Happy the sun decided to join us!

Crossing the glacier

Smelly marmot!

At this point my legs were about to fall off.

Finally back in Zermatt


  1. Hi, I just wanted to respond to your question on my blog. I took that picture when we visited Sout Africa. It's taken in the Outeniqua Mountains which stretches along the Garden Route separating the arid Karoo region and the fabulous green and lush Garden Route on the Southern tip of Africa. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    This hike you guys made seems to be quite challenging, but so beautiful!

  2. Now THIS has got to be on the top of my "Must Do" before leaving this place!!!

    So glad to hear from you!

  3. I've got to make a trip to South Africa. Beautiful!

    Juanita - I kept thinking it would be a total shame to leave Switzerland and not see the Matterhorn. It IS a must. Thanks for stopping by!

    What an awesome trip!

    Welcome back to California! If your ever in norcal, look me up!

  5. Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for your comment on my blog and glad to see you are back into blogging! This post was really interesting for me, as I have been making noises recently about a trip to Zermatt. I have been briefly, on a business trip, but strictly in the town, none of that grown-up hiking stuff. Think we will stay on the Gornergrat railway to the top, admire the view, eat something tasty and take the train back down...I admire you for not taking the easy way out! Stay in touch and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  6. Tina - Thanks! I will definitely look you up if we're ever in the area!

    Vicky - Oh, believe me, I would have much preferred to take the easy way out. I'm not sure how I get talked into such things. Anyway... You won't be disappointed with a trip on the Gornergrat railway, that's for sure!

  7. Wow! I can't believe those aren't pics from winter. I don't even wanna imagine what its like right now. I will def have to check it out when it gets warmer :)

  8. Hey American -- Please blog about it if you do go! I'd love to read another person's take on the hike...


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