Revel in your closeness to the Matterhorn today as you descend the Theoduls glacier to Trockener Steg before leaving the rugged mountain landscape behind for alpine meadows and quaint chalets in the valley leading into Zermatt. There are no route notes for the glacier crossing as this is guided. Once your glacier crossing and time with the guide has come to an end, please refer to the route notes below.
The final day of the Tour crosses the border from Italy back into Switzerland and involves a crossing of the Theoduls glacier. Meet your guide at the ticket office of the cable car station in Breuil-Cervinia and take 3 cable cars to Testa Grigia at 3479m, before getting prepped for the descent over the glacier. The glacial descent takes about 1.5 hours and the trail brings you out at the large Trockener Steg cable car station. The guide will leave you at the trailhead heading towards Zermatt, after saying your goodbyes you may prefer to head into the station for some refreshments in the restaurant which has a great view of the Matterhorn before leaving. From here there are cable cars that travel all the way into Zermatt, but if you still have the energy, walking the rest of the way is highly recommended. The trail follows pleasant footpaths meandering through hamlets dotted with traditional wooden chalets and small churches. Make the most of the calm and quiet before reaching the hustle and bustle of Zermatt.
Information on the guided glacier crossing:
You will be the closest you’ve been to the Matterhorn on the Tour on today’s route. It will be behind you a lot of the time so don’t forget to look back, while trying to spot the iconic Hornli Hut located on the NE ridge.
Outwith the guided glacier crossing this route descends from Trockener Steg to Zermatt over ~1300 m fairly gradually. The rocky path higher up can be slippery when wet but the rocks are also a bit polished here due to the routes popularity. There are some worn sections of path once you descend to the alpine meadows – take care of the drop on the right here. Some of the trails are shared with mountain bikers, do take care and listen out for approaching cyclists who are normally considerate of walkers. The remainder of the descent into Zermatt is easy going.
Although today is spent mostly descending, and part of the route is with a guide - it is a serious day in the mountains including altitudes above 3000 m so please bring appropriate clothing – even if it’s a sunny morning the weather can change to rain or thunderstorms in the afternoon. For the glacier crossing we recommend wearing trousers, and a long-sleeved layer on top also. Bring plenty of food and water (at least 2 litres) for the day’s walk, along with waterproofs, warm layers and comfortable stiff-soled walking boots for the glacier crossing. You may also wish to bring poles to help with balance, and the ascents and descents.
Points of Interest
The Theodul Glacier descends the west flank of the Breithorn (4164 m), one of the most straight-forward 4000 m peaks to climb in the area, and splits to the Upper and Lower Theodul glaciers just above Gandegg. At one time theses were joined to the Gorner Glacier which is the 2nd longest in the alps, this glacier descends from the flanks of the nearby Dufoursitze, the highest point of the Monte Rosa range and indeed the highest mountain in Europe after Mont Blanc.
Zermatt Matterhorn Museum
The Matterhorn Museum is located in Kirchplatz in the heart of Zermatt beside the church. If you have an extra day or a spare afternoon the museum is well-worth a visit (entry costs approximately 10 CHF per person). The interestng glass roof over the entrance hides an underground museum containing historical articfacts, explains the town's history, and goes into great depth about the race between the Italian and Swiss for the first ascent of the Matterhorn. During the summer they are open 7 days a week from 2-6 pm.
Tel: 027 967 41 00
If you decide to add extra days at the beginning or end of your tour, or have a free morning or afternoon in Zermatt in fine weather then the Gorner Gorge walk (approximately 20 mins, and entry at approximately 5CHF person) is a lovely way to pass some time. The path from the ticket office soon becomes a series of wooden walkways and steps built onto the side of the natural gorge, stoll along and admire the deep pools and turquoise waters as they surge through the deep slot in the landscape. After the short walk you can extend this to take in the nearby Blatten Bergrestaurant (https://blatten-zermatt.ch/Bergrestaurant/?L=1), a charming place to lunch with excellent mountain views on the side of the valley.
Food & Drink
There are a couple of small supermarkets, 1 just 5 minutes from the cable car station, where you can collect snacks and a picnic lunch in Breuil-Cervinia before making your way to the cable car station. Additionally, you can refuel at the Trockener Steg restaurant before walking down into Zermatt where there are plenty of places to eat and drink and celebrate the end of the Tour. On your way into Zermatt you will pass some small delightful-looking restaurants around Furi.
This tour is available on the following itineraries: WSTOTM, WSTOTMS