The High Point

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.

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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.

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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.

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Breithorn

To the right of the Breithorn the familiar peaks of Pollux, Castor and Liskamm with their interwoven ridges made a beautiful composition.

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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)

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.

_DS78635_wp_DS78635_bwFinally 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.

_DS78630_wpThere 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.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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28 Responses to The High Point

  1. A superb set of images Andy!!

  2. ShimonZ says:

    Ah, it is beautiful, and you’ve captured it well. I’ve ‘wasted my day’ so far as scenery is concerned, on many occasions. But it was always thrilling.

  3. Nelson says:

    I love those photos with a crispy blue sky and a white blanket of snow, very winter

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Nelson. Actually it doesn’t look much different than this in summer – the snow cover is the same. Just more ‘tourists’ in summer to go with the climbers and skiers. In winter it’s only skiers up here usually.

  4. Len says:

    I so enjoyed my only trip to Switzerland and so want to revisit there. Thanks to your fabulous images of Zermatt, I hope to get there in the next few years.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Len. The two neighbouring valleys of Saas Fee and Zermatt really should be on your shopping list of places to visit if you head that way again.

  5. mark says:

    Wow, just gorgeous vistas every which way you turn.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Mark – it really is a three-sixty panorama on a day like this. A superb vista. It’s rare to be able to get to this height in the Alps without leg power.

  6. oneowner says:

    Beautiful shots, Andy. Looks like you had that clear, perfect day to ski and photograph.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. It was hard to drag myself away from here, I have to admit. But there was so much good snow to ski down towards Cervinia, And it had taken the best part of an hour if not a little longer to get up to this point from Zermatt, I needed to max out the skiing time!

  7. Fantastic series of images Andy. My favorite is the 3rd image, Breithorn. Simply stunning.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much Edith. Yes – that really is a rather special shot of the Breithorn. I don’t recall having such a clear view of the layered snow on previous visits and I must have been up there about ten times over the years to climb or ski.

  8. Chillbrook says:

    I’m truly envious Andy. The pictures are fantastic. What a wonderful way to spend a day indeed!

  9. John Linn says:

    Very nice Andy.

    We took the ride to Klein Matterhorn when we visited and it was very windy on top. The gondola was swinging in the wind to the point that the operator had to time the final (what seemed like) crash into the top station. We were tourists… up for a look… back down an hour later. I suppose it was expensive but when you have a once in a lifetime trip you just pay the price. It was in unfamiliar currency so “who knows how much it cost!”.

    The view was still very nice up top but not compared to your photos. And on that summer day we started in town at 80F and then on top the skiers had lots of snow and it was truly winter.

    Hope someday to return.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for that comment, John. I had no idea you had been there. You’ll find a lot of images of Zermatt on my blog. Sometimes the final lift is closed due to high winds – the wind chill can make it an extremely cold place up there, even in summer. I’m glad you got the view despite the weather. Did you make it up to Gornergrat too?

      • John Linn says:

        We did not do the Gornergrat, but when we were in Interlaken we went up the Jungfrau which was a wonderful day trip. A great way to climb mountains (take the train to the top)!!

        • LensScaper says:

          Ah Yes – the trip up to the Jungfraujoch is an amazing journey too. We did that many years ago one summer. We were staying in Wengen which is where I learnt to ski as a teenager

  10. Truly amazing series of images Andy! 🙂

  11. Jim Nix says:

    beautiful work Andy!

  12. Awesome shots Andy, what a place

  13. janina says:

    Wish I’d been there! The Breithorn pic, with those tiny people, really brings home its majesty and beauty. As for the three in “the long ridge of the Breithorn” pic says to me, with their indentations, they could be relics of volcanoes in the past! Extraordinary place. Great pix Andy!

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