Destination Hornli Hut (3260m / 10,695ft)
Route Zermatt – Zmutt – Stafel – Schwarzsee – Hornlihut
Time taken 5hrs 15 min (including breaks)
Distance – 13.3 Km approx.
Altitude variation 1788m / 143m ▼  Map -
My first hike trailed through the Zermatt valley
towards Matterhorn, the beacon of Swiss alps.
The hiking trail slopes gently upwards ascending
through Swiss stone pine forests and across alpine
pastures to the hamlet of Zmutt with the majestic
Matterhorn in the background.
On my way to Stafel, passing through the
mazots (wood and stone structures for keeping
hay), the path emerges out of the forest. I
encountered the impressive north face of  the
Matterhorn and vast mountain slopes. After
nearly 30-40 minutes of steady climbing along a
well maintained footpath, I arrived at
Schwarzsee, an ideal point to admire the
incredible panorama of peaks jutting up from
the valley floor.
In the foreground is an idyllic mountain lake reflecting Breithorn
and Klein Matterhorn. In between there is a small chapel Maria zum
Schnee (St.Mary of the snow).
Once at Hornlihut, there was a distinctive  “climber-
buzz” in the air, with mountaineers hankering
around for their next day early morning climb. For
me it was a relaxed afternoon beneath the
Matterhorn with cold beer and rosti (a typical Swiss  
mountain food)  for lunch, spent rest of the day
admiring many beautiful peaks amidst the sound of
water cascading from the massive glaciers below. It
was a pleasing sight!