Magalie climbs her way to the top of the Matterhorn

Project Matterhorn

I grew up in Zermatt, a small but famous mountain village in Switzerland, I got the chance to be surrounded by 38 mountains with an altitude of 4’000 plus metres above sea level. One of those is probably the most known and iconic mountain in the world. The Matterhorn.

As “little Magi” I spent most of my days on the ski slopes and enjoyed the fresh mountain air. Looking at all those mountains day in day out it was no wonder I was transforming into a so-called mountain goat and a complete nature lover.

Zermatt 2017

As a real local from Zermatt, called “es Matti”, I had the desire of climbing the 4’478 metres high “Toblerone” mountain. I thought the opportunity may come up once sooner or later. And this is exactly what happened to me a few years back. From a drunk & silly idea to really concretizing the attempt with Mäni, my friend and mountain guide, took me about 4 years to put my plans into action.

Zermatt July 2021

2021, was finally the year, I decided (super spontaneously and with encouragement of my best friend Tamara) to go up to the top, to climb the Matterhorn. Together with Mäni, the busy mountain guide, we found a date early September, Sept 04, where he was able to squeeze me into his tight schedule. ?

So, from July 10 onwards my project started. First, I had to buy suitable shoes and soon I started hiking up hill, climbed & crossed the Breithorn (4’164 m.a.s.l.), went climbing at the Riffelhorn (2’927 m.a.s.l.) literally left my comfort zone by getting to know new elements (and muscles ?)

Of course, not only stamina is required but also working on that full body strength, was on my weekly training plan. So, I started hitting the gym more regularly and began to do my daily pull ups at home. From a humble 1-2 I managed to do 5 consecutive ones. ?

The Matterhorn project finally came closer. After some talks with fellow climbers who had succeeded to the top, I felt confident enough to do it myself. But at the same time, I also got extremely nervous as I had no clue what to expect up there.

Unfortunately, just 2 days before the day, the weather was not on our side. Mäni called me to cancel the project. It was too risky with the expected snow falls and clouds. Disappointment. Tears. Emotions. And a heavy tension building up in my chest…

But then, the call came through, that the weather had turned, and the project could continue. I was so excited.

September 2021 Hörnlihut (3’260m.a.s.l)

On Friday, Sept 03 Mäni and I hiked up to the Hörnlihut where we spent the night.
The Matterhorn is a busy mountain – If it was on a sunny day with perfect conditions, normally hundreds of people try to make their way to the peak (and down). I WAS SO LUCKY! Most of the local guides had cancelled their attempts, which meant we were literally only about 6 people who waited desperately to climb the mountain with their guide.

The night before, it is tradition with all the guides to decide who the lead guide will be. The lead guide has the privilege to leave the mountain hut as the first team. Mäni was the lead guide for Sept 04. You can imagine my mind and nerves going wild…
10pm lights out. Alarm set for 4.15am

I tried to get at least a couple of hours of sleep. In vain. Too excited

Saturday, September 04, Matterhorn

After eating breakfast quickly at 4.30am (I still can’t believe how you can get a bite down at that time of the day) we were ready to rumble. In the morning I was quite calm and decided to just go with the flow. “Let’s see what happens……you’ll do great Mag”.

We started hiking, climbing in the dark which helped a lot to get into the flow. Me and Mani (were working well together) we had a good speed, even though my stomach was not feeling so well, probably the nerves… But we slowly made our way up. He tried to talk to me and from time to time and I was even able to hold conversations, next to being fully focused of what I was doing there. To be honest… I didn’t really know what I was doing. CRAZY!

I was fully in the flow and followed Mäni with every step and every move he did. Although, I thought to myself, “how the hell am I coming back down again?”

Seeing the beautiful sunrise on the horizon and the mesmerizing panoramic view I didn’t feel any nervousness anymore at all. It was enjoyment. 100%.

However, this enjoyment rapidly passed before we reached the summit. The last climb destroyed me, I was exhausted and for the first time my mental strength left me. I didn’t know if I’m going to make it to the top. Mäni, my inner strength and the Matterhorn pushed me to my limits.

BUT I MADE IT! After about 3h and 35min we reached the summit, WHAT A FEELING.

Unfortunately, at the peak there was no more panoramic views, the weather was cloudy, windy, and cold. We took some pictures, rested, and enjoyed the moment. Now it was time for another tricky bit, the descent. We now had to navigate our way down the mountain. We were at this point only halfway through the project. The descent is just as exhausting as the way up. Focus again. 100%.

I regained my strength from the climb fast and continued in the flow. Everything went well. I enjoyed the view, the mountain, and the conversations we had made me feel more comfortable. Mentally I was not tired at all, physically neither, I could still feel the adrenaline pumping in my veins.

After approx. 7 hours we reached the Hörnlihut again and as soon as I saw my dad walking towards us, I realized that I made it back. He was the first person to take me into his arms and to celebrate this amazing experience (I CLIMBED THE MATTERHORN!) with me. Next to Mäni of course.

I was, I am overwhelmed with emotions and can’t express how proud I am.
SO glad it worked out, SO thankful Mäni brought me home safe and sound, SO impressed of this mountain and SO proud of my performance. CRAZY, INCREDIBLE FEELING!

This won’t be the last peak for me for sure. More to come!

But for now, it’s time to rest and enjoy the triumph. ?