The Matterhorn - m. 4,478
Description of the route
The Matterhorn (4,478 meters), called Mont Cervin in French and Monte Cervino in Italian, is considered one of the most famous mountains in the Alps and also one of the most familiar due to its special and accentuated pyramid shape.
It is located in the Central Alps, on the border between Italy and Switzerland, in the Pennine Alps range where it towers over the other peaks.
it has four faces which face the four compass points: the north face overlooks Zermatt in Switzerland, the west face, the Gorner glacier, the south face towers over Breuil-Cervinia in Italy and the east faces Dent d’Hérens.
After fifteen attempts on the Italian side over the the Lion ridge and almost as many on the Swiss Hornly ridge, on July 14, 1865, Whymper, Hudson, Douglas and Hadow, with Croz and the two Taugwalders as guides, were the first to set foot on the summit.
Three days later, the Italians J.A. Carrel (nicknamed “the Bersagliere”) and J.B. Bich, reached the summit along the Lion ridge. The difficult ascent was only completed thanks to Aimé Gorret (later called ”’Ours de la Montagne”), who participated in the expedition with Jean-Augustin Meynet.
From 1867 to 1877, Giuseppe Corona, accompanied by guides J.A. Carrel and J.J. Maquignaz, set several records on the Grandes Murailles and Petites Murailles.
In 1879, A.F. Mummery along with guides A. Burghener, J. Petrus and A. Gentinetta, reached the summit of the Matterhorn from the Zmutt ridge, the natural or easiest ascent, where there the artificial means currently along the Hornly and Lion ridges were not considered.
The White Point, Carrel Point and Dent d’ Hérens were first ascended by Ryan and Lochmatter over Colle Tournenche in 1906. A few years later (1911), Mario Piacenza, with guides J.J. Carrel and J. Gaspard, climbed the Matternhorn from the Furggen ridge avoiding, however, the end walls. Only in 1942, in the midst of the war, Luigi Carrel (nicknamed “Carrellino”) fully completed the Furggen ascent with Giacomo Chiara and Alfredo Perino.
The north face of the Matternhorn was conquered between the two world wars by brothers Franz and Toni Schmid (1931) and, in the same year, the first ascent of the south face was completed by Enzo Benedetti with guides Luigi Carrel and Maurizio Bich.
Two parties ascended the difficult and treacherous east face in 1932: Luigi Carrel with Antonio Gaspard and Enzo Benedetti, followed by Maurizio Bich, Luciano Carrel and Giuseppe Mazzotti. At the end of the Second World War, Carrellino had already set firsts on the Matterhorn, which he considers “his mountain”, on the Furggen and two east and south faces. The west face, a 1,500 wall, still remained unconquered (including the Lion and Zmutt ridges). Carrel dreamed of this expedition and started off in 1947 with Carlo Taddei. They clung to the wall for 90 hours, passing three camps without succeeding in climbing the last part of the wall due to a sudden change in the weather. The first ascent on the Matterhorn’s west face was completed in 1962 by the Valtournenche guides Giovanni Ottin and Renato Daguin.
In 1953, Walter Bonatti and Roberto Bignami completed the first winter ascent on the Furggen ridge and, three years later, Bonatti completed the first solo ascent on the Matterhorn’s north face.
Lastly, on September 11, 1985, Marco Barmasse climbed the Matterhorn’s four ridges solo in 15 hours: ascending Furggen, descending Hornly, ascending Zmutt and descending Lion.