Andreas Steindl has set a new record in speed mountain climbing. On 27 August 2018, the 29-year old mountain guide and alpinist sprinted from Kirchplatz in Zermatt (1616 m above sea level) to the summit of the Matterhorn (4477.5 m above sea level) and back to Zermatt in four hours. The total time for 2861.5 metres of ascent and 22.8 kilometres: 3:59:52. This is the same time as it takes normal mountain climbers to reach the summit starting from the Hörnlihütte (3260 m). In his solo run, Steindl managed to beat his previous 2011 record for the Zermatt-Matterhorn route by almost 20 minutes. He also improved his best time from the Hörnlihütte to the summit and back, set in 2011, by 10 minutes, completing it in 1:45:37.
"The challenge on this route was remaining constantly focused. In some places, that’s not always easy," says Steindl about his latest Matterhorn record. "You need to really concentrate, particularly on the descent. The air is thin and you've reached the summit, but you’ve got to keep up the pace for the way back down." Descending the mountain at high speed, unsecured, was definitely the hardest and most dangerous part of the journey, according to Steindl.
He needed every ounce of his willpower to brave the cramps that hit during the descent. He reached the end eight seconds inside the target of four hours. "Setting this record has long been a dream of mine. I am absolutely thrilled, even if my whole body hurts right now," says Steindl, smiling.
A dream since 2012
Prior to his record-breaking attempt, Steindl had already stood on the summit of the world’s most photographed mountain 88 times, the first of which was with his parents when he was only 14 years old. Steindl had been trying to attempt the Zermatt-Matterhorn-Zermatt route in four hours since 2012. However, either the conditions weren’t favourable or his physical health wasn’t quite up to the attempt.
Since his 5 x 4000 record in 2015, when he conquered 5 four-thousanders between Zermatt and Saas Fee in less than eight hours, Andreas Steindl has been well-known throughout the alpinist scene. The same year, Steindl also completed the "Spaghetti Tour" with Ueli Steck, covering 18 four-thousanders in 14.5 hours.
This was Andreas Steindl’s route for the record: Kirchplatz in Zermatt (1616 m above sea level) – Schwarzsee (2578 m) – Hörnlihütte (3260 m) – Matterhorn summit (4478 m) and then the same route back.