There are some mountains in the world which are truly distinctive - and the Matterhorn is certainly one of them. The famous triangular shape stands out in the alpine panorama and on a clear day can be seen from far afield. It is the trademark of Zermatt, the beautiful alpine town which grew up at its base. This summer Zermatt is celebrating the first ascent of the mountain by a roped team - which took place on 14th July 1865.
©Zermatt TourismusThe team was led by two Zermatt mountain guides - father and son Taugwalder - and included famous Chamoniard Michel Croz and Briton Edward Whymper. It was Croz and Whymper's eighth attempt at the summit and tragically was to claim the life of Croz and three others in the party following their victory and success at the the top. After this tragedy, Queen Victoria tried to outlaw further attempts by British climbers but without success. Nowadays around 3000 climbers a year reach the summit at 4478m.
This first successful expedition led to many more and can be seen as the catalyst for the growth of tourism in the area. So it's only fitting that Zermatt should honour and commemorate the event.
Events are taking place throughout the summer with exhibitions and festivals. From 9th July - 29th August there will be open air theatre performances of a specially written dramatisation of the first ascent on the Gornergrat. Each evening solar powered lights will illuminate the route of the first ascent - with white lights to show the route and red lights to show where the 4 deaths took place.
There is also the re-opening of the Hornlihutte base camp on 14th July - now extended and improved to accommodate more climbers. In Zermatt itself there will be pop-up events throughout the summer as part of the celebrations.
So it's a great time to visit Zermatt - as beautiful in the summer as it is majestic and awe-inspiring in the winter. Explore the area and learn about the men and the events who helped to make this mountain famous. Check out the summer accommodation available in Zermatt on Chalets Direct and for more information on the special events see the Zermatt website.