After the conquest of the Matterhorn in 1865, more and more people arrived to explore this unique mountain, now shown to be climbable. A consensus soon emerged that overnight accommodation needed to be constructed at the foot of the Matterhorn.

The first accommodation facility, the Hörnlihütte or Hörnli lodge, offering seventeen beds consequently came to be built at an altitude of 3260 metres in 1880. It was constructed under the supervision and on the initiative of the Swiss Alpine Club, Monte Rosa Section. Since its construction it has served many mountaineers as a starting point for ascents of the Matterhorn and as a refuge during changes in weather conditions.

In 1911 the civic community of Zermatt built the Matterhorn mountain hotel (Belvédère) in its immediate vicinity. Until 1987, both mountain lodges were managed independently of one another – which proved difficult at times. In 1987 the Monte Rosa Section of the Swiss Alpine Club and the civic community of Zermatt agreed that the warden of the Bélvèdere mountain hotel would also look after the Hörnlihütte.

Both lodges were rebuilt several times over the following decades to meet the increased demands placed on them and have been able to accommodate 170 mountain climbers since their most recent modernisation and enlargement in 1982.


The Hörnlihütte has now been a destination and starting point for hikers and climbers for over 130 years, the Matterhorn mountain lodge for 101 years. Both lodges no longer meet current-day requirements with respect to eco-friendliness and infrastructures.

In view of the forthcoming special 2015 anniversary that will mark the first ascent of the Matterhorn, the civic community of Zermatt together with the "Hörnlihütte 2015" Foundation have decided to modernise the Hörnlihütte and undertake alternations to the Matterhorn mountain lodge to enable it to meet today's requirements for eco-friendliness, safety, hygiene and functionality. The Zermatt-based architects perren / zurniwen / arnold, architektur& design received the commission to design the Hönrlihütte.

To enable a comprehensive modernisation of both buildings to take place, the Monte Rosa Section has decided to transfer the Hörnlihütte to the civic community of Zermatt. The new facility will be operated under the name 'Hörnlihütte'.

The modernisation of the future Hörnlihütte requires a considerable commitment by friends and climbers, far beyond the borders of Zermatt. Investments totalling eight million francs are needed.



Sustainability is the foremost priority. The Hörnlihütte project will not seek to maximise the performance of discrete components of the building envelope, the building services or energy generation. Instead, the aim will be to optimise the entire system.

This conversion will contribute significantly to a reduction in environmental impact, notably through the implementation of an eco-friendly water and waste management concept, and by an improvement in the energy balance. The manner in which the building will operate means that it will largely supply most of own water and energy.

Since there isn't a spring in the vicinity of the hut that supplies water throughout the year, water is currently obtained laboriously from three places on the Matterhorn. The conversion of the mountain lodge will serve to improve and safeguard the collection and supply of water.

Today's sanitation is also no longer appropriate. Wastewater and faeces are currently channelled, in an untreated state, to the north face. With the new wastewater treatment system, water will not only be purified, but will also be able to be used multiple times.

A diesel generator set currently ensures that the lodge is supplied with energy. The lodge is neither insulated nor heated. The new energy supply system will guarantee sustainable, efficient and trouble-free operation of the lodge.



The 132-year-old Hörnlihütte will be dismantled; the foundations and other structural elements will be re-used for the new building. A glass structure will connect the new building and the converted Matterhorn mountain lodge, so forming a single entity.

The 100-plus year old Matterhorn mountain lodge will be the first to be freed from the extensions and additions that have been added over the years. The Hörnlihütte will be dismantled; the foundations and other still-functional components will be re-used for the new building wherever possible.

After the conversion work, the kitchen will be situated on the ground floor of the former Matterhorn mountain lodge. Furthermore, an underground service extension will be added to the buildings. The replacement building will be constructed on the existing foundations. The replacement building will contain the dining room and the sleeping areas for guests.

The roof surfaces exposed to maximum sunlight will be fitted with photovoltaic modules which will serve to produce electricity. The terrace will be equipped with solar thermal collectors to generate hot water.

Construction project PDF for download 


Facts & Figures

The new Hörnlihütte has 130 seats and is always open from July to September.

Total of 34 rooms
    4 rooms with 8 beds
   10 rooms with 6 beds
    6 rooms with 4 beds
    3 rooms with 3 beds
Wet / toilets and shower on the floor
In addition, 2 suites with private shower / wet room / WC
The two suites have a private shower / wet room and toilet
Common room for 130 people
WiFi on the terrace and in the lounge


Peak Week Matterhorn - a once-only experience

Realise your dream of climbing the Matterhorn. All you need to bring is fitness and some climbing experience. We will take care of the rest. Join us for Peak Week Matterhorn and make your summer 2016 one to remember. On the way to the summit, you will stay overnight in the new Hörnlihütte at 3,260 metres above sea level. An incredible experience.

Peak Week Matterhorn by Grand Hotel Zermatterhof


Online donations

Only widespread support will make completion of the Hörnlihütte 2015 possible. Thank you for your support! We shall be holding a prize draw in 2015 amongst all the donors for a night's accommodation in the new Hörnlihütte 
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