Alps Trilogy

This is the Grand Tour of the High Alps. Combine Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and the Eiger into a 12-day tour de force!

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Alps Trilogy

Sunrise on the Mont Blanc.

Sunrise on the Mont Blanc.


For experienced, fit, and skilled mountaineers looking for a great first reconnaissance to the Alps, this is the very best. The classic Alps Trilogy starts in Chamonix, France, the alpine climbing epicenter of the world. Chamonix has limitless options for climbing and acclimatizing. Our time there culminates with an ascent of Mont Blanc. The next stop crosses cultural barriers into the German-speaking Wallis region of Switzerland and bases in Zermatt. Climb timeless classics on the Monte Rosa massif and finish the stay with an ascent of the Matterhorn. The trip finishes in the Bernese Oberland Region of Switzerland with a climb of the iconic Eiger.

Have no illusions: to complete the Alps Trilogy is a rare and impressive feat. All of the variables of weather, conditions, logistics, and your endurance of course have to come together to summit these 3 peaks in 12 days. We’ll take care of the logistcs, you take care of your training, and we’ll let nature help us out with the rest. The trick is to be flexible with your itinerary. Regardless, this is regularly described by SMG guests as “the best 12 days of climbing” of their lives. Whether or not you manage to summit all 3 of these mountains, we average 8-9  awesome climbs in the 12 days. Our slogan for the SMG Alps Trilogy: “9 out of 3 ain’t bad!”

TRIP ITINERARY: Alps Trilogy: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger * This itinerary is flexible to accomodate weather, conditions, and ability levels
Day 0 5pm meet in Chamonix at our hotel in town for an apertif. This evening we will discuss our agenda, look at the maps, and do a quick gear check. Chamonix is a great place for shopping if you need specific gear that you have difficulty finding in the states. Anyone who is not struggling too much with jet lag is invited to join us for dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants.
Day 1 Climb in Chamonix. Depending on weather and conditions we will have an outing using one of the many lifts that allow us access to the high peaks. There are countless options for climbing to choose from. We will focus on having a quality climb while reviewing the skills that we will be using for the upcoming climbs, such as crampon & ice axe technique, snow, ice, rock, and mixed climbing, glacier travel and other roped climbing techniques. We will return to Chamonix for the evening.
Day 2 Chamonix climbing. More acclimatization and training. Return to Chamonix.
Day 3 Chamonix climbing from the Aiguille du Midi tram. Spend the night in the Cosmiques Hut.
Day 4 Early morning start to attempt Mont Blanc (4810m/15,781’) via the Trois Sommets Traverse. This is an amazing route that goes over the shoulders of both Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit en route to the summit of Mont Blanc. It is a long and physically demanding route that usually involves a short section of technical snow and ice climbing. Depending on conditions we may “reverse the traverse” and return to the Cosmiques Hut. We may also decide to continue traversing down the more crowded Gouter route to spend the night at the Tete Rousse Hut. (It is possible if things go very well that either option would put us in Chamonix that evening.)
Day 5 Descend to Chamonix. Enjoy the town. Possible afternoon rock climbing for the energetic. Evening in Chamonix.
Day 6 Travel by train in the morning to Zermatt to arrive mid-day. Optional rock climbing or via feratta (“iron path”) adventure in the afternoon. Evening in Zermatt.
Day 7 Half-traverse of the Breithorn (4164m/13,658’). This is one of our favorite day climbs in the area which summits a high alpine peak via a knife-edge, technical, mixed, ridge traverse. This is excellent training for the Matterhorn. Return to Zermatt for the evening.
Day 8 Relax and prepare for the Matterhorn in the morning. Arrive at the Hornlihutte in the afternoon. We will spend a couple hours to recon the lower mountain which we will have to climb in the dark the next day.
Day 9 Climb the Matterhorn (4478m, 14,693’) via the Hornli Ridge. This is a very demanding technical climb that requires great fitness and climbing efficiency. The most difficult sections have fixed lines to expedite the ascent. This climb will take us 7-10 hours to complete roundtrip and takes about the same amount of time to ascend as to descend. We will descend to Zermatt for the evening and to celebrate our trip so far.
Day 10 Travel by train from Zermatt to Grindelwald. Relax, explore town, optional afternoon rock climbing.
Day 11 Take the incredible Jungfraujoch Railway which tunnels through the depths of the Eiger past the Eigerwand and stops at the Eismeer where we get off. Here the adventure begins! We go through a tunnel to the East face and exit onto the glacier. After a couple technical rock pitches and lots of exposed scrambling, we arrive at the Mittellegihutte, perched atop the Eiger’s North Ridge.
Day 12 Climb the Eiger (3970m/13,025’) via the Mittellegi Ridge, traversing the South ridge to the Eigerjoch col. We travel the glaciers around to the Monchsjoch col then easily down to the Jungfraujoch where the train will take us back to Grindelwald. Celebrations and the end of the trip.


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