Do you know any interesting facts about Matterhorn? Sitting at 14,692 feet | 4478 meters, the Matterhorn straddles the Swiss/Italian border. As the King of the Alps, the Matterhorn is one of the world’s most striking mountains. This iconic and recognizable peak beckons mountain enthusiasts from around the world. It’s unlike any other mountain on Earth.
Matterhorn | Pixabay ImageFrom every angle in the region, the Matterhorn’s pyramidal shape dominates the skyline. Split by four sharp ridges, the sheer and rocky faces point toward the four cardinal direction: North, East, South, West. The result is a breathtaking mountain that will inspire and motivate you to spend more time in the great outdoors. Are you ready to learn more about the Matterhorn?
Matterhorn Quick Facts:
- Elevation: 14,692 feet | 4478 meters
- Prominence: 3399 feet | 1036 meters
- Isolation: 8.69 miles | 13.99 kilometers
- Lat/Long: 45°58’36″N, 7°39’28″E
- Range: Pennine Alps, Southern Alps, Alps
- First Ascent: July 14, 1865 by Edward Whymper, Douglas R. Hadow, Charles Hudson, Francis Douglas, Michel-Auguste Croz, Peter Taugwalder Sr., Peter Taugwalder Jr. via Hornli Ridge
- Weather Forecast: Mountain-Forecast.com or Meteo.ch
Let’s look at some interesting facts about Matterhorn:
- The Matterhorn is located between Zermatt in Valais, Switzerland and Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley of Italy.
- This defining landmark is the 12th highest of the 4000 meter peaks in the Alps.
- The Matterhorn is part of the Pennine Alps in the Southern Alps of the Alps mountain range.
- There are 2 distinct summits along a 100 meter long rocky crest at the top of the Matterhorn. The Swiss summit at the top of the Hornli Ridge at the eastern end of the mountain measures 4,477.5 meters or 14,690 ft. The Italian summit on the western end measures 4,476.4 meters or 14,686 ft.
- In August 1792, Horace Bénédict de Saussure became the 1st person to measure the height of the Matterhorn.
- Matterhorn is the one of the world’s most photographed mountains.
- The Matterhorn formed millions of years ago when the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. It’s unique pyramidal shape is due to cirque erosion.
- Aegidius Tschudi was the first to mention the mountain in his 1538 work, De Prisca ac Vera Alpina Raethi.
- The Italians call the mountain “Cervino,” the French call it “Mont Cervin,” and the German’s call it “Matterhorn.
- Matterhorn means “Peak In The Meadows.”
- Since 1983, the Matterhorn has been part of the Swiss Federal Inventory of Natural Monuments.
- The Matterhorn is a mountaineering mecca and is a huge economic driver for the local economy.
- In 1903, Emil Cardinaux designed the iconic poster of the Matterhorn. It is considered the 1st modern travel poster.
- It takes roughly 10 days to trek around the Matterhorn.
Let’s look at some climbing stats for the Matterhorn:
- The four faces of the Matterhorn point in the four cardinal directions (North, East, South, West). The North, East, and West faces are on the Swiss side, while the South face is in Italy. The faces include:
- North face: 1200 meters – It is considered one of the most dangerous faces in the Alps. The North Face of the Matterhorn is one of the Big Three walls of the Alps. The Trilogy includes the north face of the Matterhorn, the north face of the Eiger, and the north face of Grandes Jorasses.
- South face:1350 meters
- West face: 1400 meters
- East face: 1000 meters
- Four prominent ridges divide the faces. They are:
- NE: Hornligrat – The normal route on Swiss side
- NW: Zmuttgrat – The longest ridge
- SW: Liongrat – The normal route on the Italian side
- SE: Fruggengrat – The last ridge climbed
- The Matterhorn was the last unconquered 4000 meter peak in the Alps. This created fierce competition for its summit.
- The 1st ascent of the Matterhorn is marred in tragedy. On July 14, 1865 a 7-man team including Edward Whymper, Douglas R. Hadow, Charles Hudson, Francis Douglas, Michel-Auguste Croz, Peter Taugwalder Sr., and Peter Taugwalder Jr. made the 1st ascent of the Matterhorn via the Hornligrat or NE ridge on the Swiss side. Unfortunately, 4 of the 7 climbers plunged to their death on the descent. The bodies of Hadow, Hudson, and Croz were found the next day, but the body of Douglas is missing to this day.
- Three days later on July 17, 1865, Jean-Antoine Carrel and Jean-Baptiste Bich reached the summit from the Italian side.
- Published in 1871, Whymper’s book, Scrambles Amongst The Alps, became a worldwide best seller.
“The Matterhorn is climbed for a variety of reasons, but first and foremost it is climbed because it is the Matterhorn.” — Gaston Rebuffat
- The most popular route to the summit is the Hornligrat or NE ridge. At the base of this route is the Hornli Hut at 3260 meters. In 1912, the Swiss Alpine Club built the Solvay Hut on the NE Ridge at 4003 meters | 13,133 feet.
- Over 500 people have died while climbing the Matterhorn since 1865. This makes it one of the world’s deadliest mountains.
- Approximately 300-400 people attempt to climb the Matterhorn with a guide each year. Only about 20 fail to reach the summit.
- Roughly 3500 mountaineers attempt the climb without a guide – about 65% do not make the summit.
- On good weather days, roughly 300 climbers will attempt the peak.
Let’s take a look a number of 1st ascents on the Matterhorn:
- 1857 – Jean-Antoine Carrel, Jean-Jacques Carrel, and Amé Gorret made the 1st attempt to climb the Matterhorn via the Italian side.
- 1865 – Whymper and his team make the 1st ascent via the Hornli Ridge. (See Above.)
- 1865 – Carrell and Bich make 1st ascent via the Italian side.
- 1871 – On August 22, Lucy Walker became the 1st woman to climb the Matterhorn. Her rival Meta Brevoort summit a few weeks later.
- 1931 – From July 31-August 1, Franz and Toni Schmid made the 1st ascent of the legendary north face.
- 2013 – Kilian Jornet set the FKT by going from Breuil-Cervinia to the top in 1 hour 56 minutes and made a round trip time of 2 hours, 52 minutes.
- 2015 – On April 22, Dani Arnold climbed the north face of the Matterhorn in a record time of 1 hour, 46 minutes.
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Feel free to contact us if any of the above information is incorrect or if you know of additional interesting facts about Matterhorn.