The high point of a trip to Zermatt, physically and visually, summer or winter, is a cable car trip to the top of Klein Matterhorn (3883m or 12,740ft). In Summer this is the starting point for climbs of the Breithorn, Castor and Pollux. In winter this is the top station for skiing. From here you can ski continuously down to Zermatt, or down to Cervinia in Italy. An amazing ski run. Click on any image in this post to see a higher quality enlargement.
Breithorn, centre, Kl Matterhorn, right, from the Matterhorn Paradise ski area. The top station of the Lift can be seen just below the summit on the Lt skyline (enlarge the image to view)
Of all the high points accessible from the Zermatt valley this is the ‘must do’ place to visit. It’s an expensive trip so pick a clear day. On a clear day the views are truly stupendous. On a cold, windy, cloudy day it will be bitterly cold and you will have wasted your money.
A gondola (small cable car) followed by a larger cable car will carry you up to Trockener Steg from where the final super-size cabin will transport you in an improbable and breath-taking sweep to Klein Matterhorn summit.
The final Cable car approaches. Kl Matterhorn dead centre.
I was up here on a perfect day on my recent Zermatt ski trip. No wind and a perfect blue sky: it felt like a summer’s day. I was in no hurry to start skiing so I took the lift and then the staircase up to the viewing platform.
The view of the Breithorn was superb. To my surprise there were a few figures on the summit roof of the Breithorn. Possibly mountaineers or maybe enterprising skiers. What struck me particularly was the way the light was picking out the laminated snow in the colossal summit snow-cap. Each layer compressed like the annular rings in a tree trunk.
To the right of the Breithorn the familiar peaks of Pollux, Castor and Liskamm with their interwoven ridges made a beautiful composition.
The long ridge of the Breithorn leads in from the Lt edge to the tall twin peaks of Liskamm. Pollux is the small rounded summit dead centre, Castor is the main summit on the Rt.
The view in the opposite direction of the Matterhorn was equally superb.
Matterhorn with Dent Blanche (Rt)
And just to the left of the Matterhorn the massive bulk of Mont Blanc towered over everything else at a distance of 40 miles as the crow flies. Two versions of this for you.
Finally looking down into Italy – the view seemed to stretch for ever. Time to ski. From Kl Matterhorn, the vertical drop to Cervinia is almost 6,000ft. Much of it on one of the best red runs in the Alps – No 7 ‘Ventina’. In half an hour I was in Cervinia – waiting for the ride back up. Days don’t get much better than days like this.
There is an interesting article on the Kl Matterhorn lift on Wikipedia. Click here to go to the page. I’m not sure how the article describes this as ‘the second highest peak of the ski area’. It is the highest reachable point of the entire area from which you can ski, unless you count the little bump in the centre of this last image at the end of a drag lift - but I’ve never been up here when that lift is working and to call that insignificant point ‘the highest peak’ would seem a travesty to me.