In 2015, Zermatt, Switzerland, will be celebrating the Matterhorn, the mountain of mountains. Zermatt will mark the 150th anniversary of the first ascent by the Zermatt mountain guides; all year long, celebratory events will take place in Zermatt including an open-air theatre amongst other activities.
The mountain’s history
Once considered too difficult to climb, the Matterhorn, standing 4,478 metres tall, has long been the fascination of many alpinists. On 14 July 1865, father and son, Peter and Peter Taugwalder and British climber Edward Whymper reached the peak of the Matterhorn. During the descent, the accompanying front four-member rope team sadly fell to their deaths.
The danger of the mountain sparked curiosity and controversy worldwide. It was so much so that the then Queen Victoria campaigned to issue a climbing-ban following the loss of Lord Francis Douglas. This only drew more attention to the mountain, with mountaineers and climbers travelling from all over the world to challenge it. Towering over the quaint village of Zermatt, the Matterhorn was regarded as the most desirable trophy for mountaineers.
Today, roughly 4,000 people attempt to climb the peak each year. Many Zermatt mountain guides are in the third, fourth or fifth generation of guides in their family, passing down their knowledge and experiences through generations. Some guides are also part of a musical group of mountain guides called Bergfühermusik Zermatt – imagine that whilst scaling down the mountain. 2015 will see the re-opening of the Hornli Hut, the starting point for a Matterhorn climb, Zermatt’s first open-air theatre will share ‘The Matterhorn Story’, and you can find out more at the Matterhorn Museum.
Zermatt welcomes skiiers, snowboarders, mountaineers and history buffs alike to enjoy the majesty of the Matterhorn, the most-photographed mountain in the world. The Zermatt Alpine Centre provides mountain activities all year round.