Thanks everyone! We’re back home and had a great time climbing this iconic mountain.
Radio-wise, our activation was not as successful as we would have wished it to be – we only had a few minutes on the summit and were there early in the day with modest radio equipment (KX2, MFJ whip, counterpoise thrown down the south face). Nevertheless, we each got two QSOs, making this a valid activation according to SOTA rules, but we’ll have to obtain our 10 points elsewhere
We were especially delighted to have an S2S with Jürg @HB9BAB, who made his 1054th activation of Altberg HB/ZH-015 that day – as luck would have it, just at the right time.
Matt and I decided to climb the Matterhorn with mountain guides (a first for both of us – so far we have done all ascents on our own), for safety and as the correct route on the Hörnli ridge is not so easy to find, especially in the dark. Straying off route causes rockfall that endangers other parties. Last year at least 10 people died attempting to climb the Matterhorn.
Both ascent and descent each took 3½ hours and were relatively strenuous, but except for a fierce wind on exposed sections and on the summit, the weather was fine and conditions were quite good given that the season had just started. However, the final ~200 meters below the summit were delicate due to fresh snow from the past few days.
Of note, just as we started our descent, a group below us went the wrong way and dislodged a huge rock, which bounced down the steep slope with impressive speed and only barely missed another group of climbers further down below – it would have certainly been instant QRT for them had it hit them. Maybe it’s good that we played SOTA for a few minutes longer, otherwise we could have been at that particular wrong place at the wrong time?!
@HB9DST What’s next… Well, there’s no denying that SOTA activations on mountains like these are mostly ego trips, and while I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to be on top of Matterhorn, I’m looking forward to activating some more easily reachable summits in the near future, where a proper SOTA activation with at least one hour QRV, decent radio equipment and lots of QSOs is possible
@DF6MH Good luck with the weather! It really is a nice climb. Hopefully you’ll have more time on the summit for a proper activation
Manuel HB9DQM and Matt HB9FVF
Climbing in the dark
Sunrise at the Solvay Hut (emergency shelter) at 4000 m
Matt and his mountain guide on the final approach to the summit
At the Swiss summit, 4478 m
Looking back over the Hörnli ridge, Hörnli Hut base camp marked with red circle
Posing on the “photo tower” with a third group on the way back
The start of the route