Three local guys from Sunapee, New Hampshire, USA summited the Matterhorn via the Hornli Ridge. Although it’s been a few years since the team summitted, a story that happened on the ascent bears worth mentioning here. It’s about boundaries, keeping your cool, and international relations.
Scot Bergeron, Bob Boyce, and I decided to do the standard route from the Hornli Ridge Hut. Scot and I were playing music just over the hill in Saas Fee for the summer and took a few days off. I’d done the Haute Route once with a group of Austrian young guns from Strolz Ski Boots in Lech, and another time with a couple of clients, but hadn’t done any climbs in the area, and thought the Matterhorn would be a good place to start.
We were the first out of the hut in the early darkness. We soon found ourselves overtaken by few of the local guides and their clients, not because of our slowness in climbing but the rather slow going in keeping on route which none of us had climbed before. We’d see headlamps off to our south and figured they were a bit more on route than us, so we’d veer in their direction. As the sun was coming up we came to a roped section just below the Solvay Hut at 4000 m. I was belaying Scot, who was just about half-way up the pitch, when a Swiss mountain guide came up to our belay (more…)