Fly London to Geneva. We continue by private minibus or train to Zermatt. The journey takes 3 hours. Those not flying with the group from London will join us at the hotel in Zermatt (but see 'Airport Transfers' above).
We start our trek from the small village of Tasch from where we climb steadily through shady forest. Our walk takes us high above the main valley, through the tree line and passes some of the winter ski slopes. There are spectacular views of the fairytale peaks of the Weishorn, Obergabelhorn and Zinalrothorn. We spend the night in the refuge at FlueAlp (2600m) with beautiful views of the Matterhorn.
Continuing south we head over small passes to a fantastic viewpoint. Below is the huge Gorner Glacier - a jumble of crevasses, moraines and deep-blue glacial ponds. The scenery is breathtaking, dominated by an impressive snow-covered mountain chain stretching 12km from Monte Rosa (4634m - second highest in Europe) to Liskamm, Pollux and the Breithorn. We descend via a balcony path through flower filled meadows back to Zermatt for a well-earned shower.
We set off on our 3-day expedition with arguably the toughest trekking day of the trip. Heading steeply out of Zermatt towards Trift we follow a crashing waterfall that has carved a steep-sided gorge. This is classic alpine scenery awash with Alpine flowers. At Trift, we are above the tree line and cross a wild open valley before heading up a moraine to the Rothorn hut at 3200m. At this altitude we are really amongst the mountains - this is a wild, rocky place situated only metres from the glacier. There are spectacular views towards the Monte Rosa massif and the Matterhorn.
We retrace our steps to Trift and then make a high level traverse opposite the towering north face of the Matterhorn. This is wild country with large glaciers and panoramic views inhabited by marmots. We spend the night at the Schonbiel hut (2694m), situated under the Matterhorn's great northwest ridge.
We have a choice of routes back to Zermatt that will be decided by the prevailing conditions and the desires of the group. Either we can take a gentle descent along the valley via Zmutt or make a side trip up towards the Hornli Hut where mountaineers stay before climbing the classic route on the Matterhorn. This is rocky, harsh mountain country where one can imagine Whymper's first ascent of the great mountain. We return to the relative luxury of Zermatt and a shower or bath. For those wishing to climb the Breithorn the following day, arrangements have to be made at the Alpine Guides Office in the centre of Zermatt.
An early start for those climbing the Breithorn (4164m). This involves taking cable cars to the Klein Matterhorn - the highest station in the Alps at 3883m - and then crossing a large crevassed plateau before the climb up snow-covered slopes. The ascent is straightforward - taking 2 hours - but requires stamina and determination. The Alpine Guides provide all the ropes and lead the way. On a clear day, the views from the summit are outstanding giving a complete overview of our trek and hundreds of Alpine peaks. To the west, one can usually see Mont Blanc, to the east the Monte Rosa massif, north to the Bernese Oberland and south to Italy. If the weather is bad, the Alpine Guides will not be able to take you to the Breithorn and so you may consider hiring a Guide for the traverse of a gorge close to Zermatt. This is an exhilarating trip involving abseiling and easy climbing and is a perfect alternative for those who have the confidence. Those who do not want to climb the Breithorn are free to explore Zermatt or take a walk on their own.
We travel back to Geneva Airport by minibus or train. Those who are not travelling with the group to the UK will leave us in Zermatt.