The Matterhorn is one of the tallest mountains in the Alps. The Matterhorn has a pyramidal shape with four faces facing the four compass points: the north and east faces overlook the town of Zermatt; the south face overlooks the resort town of Breuil-Cervinia; and the west face looks towards the mountain of Dent d'Hérens, which straddles the border. The north and south faces meet at the summit to form a short east-west ridge.
The Matterhorn's faces are steep, and only small patches of snow and ice cling to them; regular avalanches send the snow down to accumulate on the glaciers at the base of each face, the largest of which is the Zmutt Glacier to the west. The Hörnli ridge of the northeast (the central ridge in the view from Zermatt) is the usual climbing route.