Climbing in Zermatt: A Guide for Climbers at Every Level

April 18, 2024
The Matterhorn

Explore climbing opportunities in Zermatt, tailored for different skill levels. This guide details what climbers can expect, including the duration and logistics of climbs from beginner to advanced stages.

Beginner Level: Breithorn – Your First 4,000-meter Peak

Breithorn (4,164m) offers a straightforward introduction to high-altitude climbing. It's ideal for those new to mountaineering, providing a practical first experience in the Alps.

What to Expect

Breithorn is typically a 4-5 hour climb, involving a mixture of glacier walking and basic snow climbing. The ascent starts from the Klein Matterhorn cable car, making it possible to complete the round trip from Zermatt in one day without the need for a mountain hut stay.


Participants should have moderate fitness levels. While technical skills are not strictly necessary, a good comfort level with high-altitude environments is beneficial.

Duration and Logistics

Total climbing time is approximately 4-5 hours, making it a popular choice for a day trip. The cable car facilitates quick access to and from the peak.

Top of the Breithorn with the Matterhorn on the background. Image: Maison Gorret.

Intermediate Level: Expanding Horizons with Pollux and Castor

Pollux (4,092m) and Castor (4,223m) are excellent next steps for climbers looking to build on their initial experiences. These peaks offer more challenging routes that require a blend of stamina and basic alpine skills.

What to Expect

These climbs involve navigating steeper snowfields and some rock scrambling. Climbers can complete these ascents in one day, but the effort is more demanding than beginner routes.


Good physical fitness and some prior mountaineering experience are necessary. Climbers should be prepared for longer durations and more physical exertion.

Duration and Logistics

Each ascent typically takes 5-7 hours, depending on conditions and the climber's experience. These climbs are usually accessible via a combination of hiking and cable car services, allowing for return to Zermatt the same day.

Pollux (4,092m)

Advanced Level: The Challenges of Matterhorn, Dufourspitze, and Weisshorn

For experienced climbers, the Matterhorn, Dufourspitze, and Weisshorn represent the pinnacle of alpine climbing in Zermatt. These peaks require advanced preparation and skills.

What to Expect

These demanding climbs involve long, arduous ascents through steep, rocky, and icy terrain. They often require an early morning start and can extend into full-day expeditions.


Climbers must have excellent fitness, advanced technical climbing skills, and experience in high-altitude mountaineering.

Duration and Logistics

Climbs can last from 8 to 12 hours depending on the peak and route. Most of these climbs require staying in mountain huts the night before the ascent due to their early start and length.

Image: Gabriel Perren


Zermatt caters to all levels of climbers, offering everything from accessible day trips to challenging multi-day adventures. Whether you're just starting out or are looking to challenge yourself on some of the highest peaks in Europe, Zermatt's mountains have something for you.

Plan your climbing trip and find more information on what Zermatt has to offer at Guidezone. We connect climbers with experienced mountain guides - for both advanced and beginner tours. Check out our tours in Zermatt.

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