Zermatt, home of the most famous mountain in Switzerland, The Matterhorn. With so many mountains ending in ‘horn’ we joked around saying it got its name because it’s the only one that ‘matters’. The Matterhorn is the main attraction in Zermatt, there is no doubt about it. The whole town revolves around the iconic mountain and rightly so, it truly is astounding. Upon arrival, our first day and a half were wet, rainy and very cloudy. After two nights in Zermatt, we still hadn’t seen the peak of the Matterhorn and we started to wonder if it would ever appear. Fortunately for us and the many others that had traveled all around the boutique town of Zermatt, the skies cleared, the sun shone bright and the Matterhorn appeared in all it’s glory. Once again, it feels like an eternity ago that I wrote about our time in Engelberg and Jungfrau, but it was only last week! We had to clear the ‘mental cache’ and make room for new experiences in what turned out to be densely filled week of adventure.
I like Zermatt, a lot. It certainly has it’s ‘touristy’ feel but more importantly, there is a buzz in the town that is unmistakable. An adventure buzz. What Byron Bay is to hipsters, or Santorini is to romantic lovers, Zermatt is that for adventures. Zermatt is a town which had ruled out all cars, meaning it is only accessible by train or shuttle bus. Furthermore, it means that the streets are filled with electric bikes, peculiar hotel buggies and people in compression gear. To really put added emphasis on the ‘adventurous bubble’ that Zermatt is, it was also hosting a multi-day extreme running festival. As a result, Zermatt had a real buzz about it. It was like Bondi Beach but less flashy and more ‘real ‘deal’. People in Zermatt don’t put an ice-pick in their backpack to look trendy, or wear down-filled jackets as a fashion statement – what they wear is highly functional and purpose driven. Jackson and I weren’t hiking with an ice-pick of jackets capable of handling -10 degree conditions, but we did take hiking poles and purchase a pair of crampons (mountain spikes) each. At street level, Zermatt is situated at 1605m above sea level, so it doesn’t take long before you find yourself at 2000m, 3000m or walking along a spectacular glacier.
WHEN THE SUN CAME OUT
I didn’t think I’d find myself at 3900m above sea level walking my way along a glacier during my Switzerland but I did, and it was out of this world. For someone that has never spent any time in the snow, walking across a glacier was a completely new experience for me. Earlier in the week, Jackson and I caught the cable car to the Glacier Paradise from the town in Zermatt. This took us from 1600m up to 3800m, an easy way to cheat the hike.
Up at the glacier paradise, we had panoramic views of many 4000m peaks, it was utterly amazing. The lookout became busy quickly so we decided to go grab a hot chocolate and plan the rest of our day. Whilst sipping on the hot chocolate, I couldn’t resist heading out onto the glacier for a quick stroll. Equipped with my new hiking-poles, I ventured out into the arctic-like conditions.
I went out to snap some photos of the superbly smooth and elegant glaciers, the edges of the glaciers against the horizon were so ‘clean’.
MATTERHORN GLACIER TRAIL
From the glacier, we went along the Matterhorn Glacier Trail. For such an easy trail, it was ‘bang for buck’. The views of the Matterhorn were on show from every angle of the hike, and we even scored a couple lake reflections.
It’s a very arid landscape at times deep in the ‘valley’ under the Matterhorn. Lot’s of big boulders and demolish stones scatter the landscape. Here are a couple of my favorite photos.
MATTERHORN ULTRAKS EXTREME
After the early adventures, it was time to rest and prepare for the race. You can read all about my race here, I’ve done a full race review with everything you need to know.
FINAL SWITZERLAND HIKE
On my last day in Switzerland, we went out for the 5 lakes hike. We were greeted with pleasant weather, a clear sky, and more unbelievable views. I really do my best to appreciate every hike with new eyes and a heart full of gratitude for the environment I’m in.
I’ll be back, Switzerland.