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Description

The Matterhorn (German: Matterhorn, [ˈmatərˌhɔrn]; Italian: Cervino, [ˈtʃerˈviːno]; French: Le Cervin, [mɔ̃ sɛʁvɛ̃]) is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a huge and near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres (14,692 ft) high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe.

The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Furggen, Leone, and Zmutt ridges. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt, in the canton of Valais, to the north-east and the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Just east of the Matterhorn is Theodul Pass, the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides, and a trade route since the Roman Era.

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History

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The Matterhorn was studied by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the late eighteenth century, who was followed by other renowned naturalists and artists, such as John Ruskin, in the nineteenth century. It remained unclimbed after most of the other great Alpine peaks had been attained and became the subject of an international competition for the summit.

The first ascent of the Matterhorn was finally made in 1865 from Zermatt, by a party led by Edward Whymper, but ended disastrously when four of its members fell to their deaths on the descent. That climb and disaster, later portrayed in several films, marked the end of the golden age of alpinism.

The north face was not climbed until 1931 and is amongst the three biggest north faces of the Alps, known as "The Trilogy". The west face, which is the highest of the Matterhorn's four faces, was completely climbed only in 1962. It is estimated that over 500 alpinists have died on the Matterhorn since the first climb in 1865, making it one of the deadliest peaks in the world.

Routes

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Grade Route

FA: Edward Whymper, Peter Taugwalder Sr., Peter Taugwalder Jr., Charles Hudson, Lord Francis Douglas & Douglas Robert Hadow, 1865

FA: Albert Mummery, Alexander Burgener, Augustin Gentinetta & Johann Petrus, 1879

FA: V.J.E. Ryan & Josef Lochmatter, 1905

FA: Jean-Antoine Carrel & Jean-Baptiste Bich, 1865

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