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Hornlihuette & Children

Has anybody taken the route to Hornlihuette above Zermatt? It is sort of the basecamp for those climbing the Matterhorn.

I have a 4-1/2 year old, who has been to 5+ mountain huts, and am wondering how strenuous the route is. She is tough, and capable of a LOT, and the other huts required a lot of hiking too, but I have never been to Hornli before.

Thanks!

Posted by
16877 posts

Our best hikers are out of town and/or have not done that route. Other readers may have experience, but not with small kids. Have you seen this info from the Zermatt tourist office for the Hörnliweg?

Posted by
3319 posts

This completely depends on the child and your nerves as a parent! The first part of the trail isn't bad at all. After you get off the lift, you walk down a lovely trail and then up a number of switchbacks with a little light scrambling. At the top you get to an abandoned ski-lift shelter that is frequented by excessively cute Valais Blacknose Sheep. Your daughter will LOVE them if you are lucky enough to be there at the same time that they are!
After this, the trail gets a little dicey...you'll cross what's left of the glacial field at the base of the Matterhorn. Sadly, the glacier has melted away. From there the trail starts going uphill. Parts of the "trail" turn into steel ramps with chain railings that are bolted into the face of the rock - there are some pretty steep drop-offs to one side. The trail continues with switchbacks and some more scrambling before you get to the hutte, which sits on an outcropping of rock that juts out from the side of the Matterhorn. It is truly spectacular.
I've stayed at quite a few huttes and refugios in the Alps and the Dolomites. The hike to this hutte isn't terribly long, it's just that there are a few sections of the trail that would make my palms sweat as a parent and give me nightmares later on! At the very least I would hike to the ski-lift shelter and see what you think as you look at the trail from there...maybe just start up it and see how it goes? The view of the Matterhorn from the ski-lift shelter is one of the best and it is worth going at least this far...

Posted by
12530 posts

I have not done that hike, as I suffer from vertigo/balance issues and have read enough about the exposure on the last part to deter me from attempting it. Also, according to the link Laura posted, Hörnlihütte is closed for the 2014 season, re-opening in 2015. Maybe there is another hut close by that would work.

Posted by
3319 posts

The hutte was closed last summer because they were completely gutting it and modernizing. Lots of helicopters flying back and forth with concrete and other supplies! It is slated to open July of next summer. You can still hike the trail though.

Posted by
270 posts

First, thank you for everyone's information. I appreciate info from people who have been or were just there. Feet on the ground information, if you know what I mean.

Strangely enough Hornlihuette being closed is why we are going to Zermatt this time. It turns out that while Hornli is closed for refurbishment and an addition (a cube dormitory area it looks like although I have not seen the actual plans) they have created a new thing: Basecamp Matterhorn. They built it, opened it on July 14, 2014, and will close it on September 14, 2014. Two months.

We have been planning to go to Hornli, and then to Solvay, but don't want to with a young child--at least to Solvay right now. It came up that Basecamp Matterhorn was being built on the Hirli and we decided to try it. Couldn't resist, really.

Check it out, especially if you are going to be there in that window of time:

http://www.hoernlihuette.ch/base_camp_3.html?directlink=basecamp

Thanks again!

Posted by
3319 posts

Looks like origami! Have a great time...

Posted by
87 posts

Base Camp Matterhorn is worth seeing - a 1 hour trek from the Schwarzsee cable car station. It's pretty short of climbers, though, as the Matterhorn is still covered in snow (http://www.cosleyhouston.com/matterhorn-conditions.htm); on July 29th they only had 3 guests, for example. You can also see one of the tents outside the museum in Zermatt.