The Matterhorn 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 high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe. The four steep faces, rising above the glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Leone. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt in the canton of Valais to the north-east, 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. The Matterhorn was studied by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the eighteenth century. It remained unclimbed after most of the other great Alpine peaks had been attained, 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, portrayed in 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 ‘The Trilogy’, the west face, which is the highest of the four, 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. The current shape of the mountain is the result of erosion due to multiple glaciers diverging from the peak, such as the Matterhorn Glacier at the base of the north face. Sometimes referred to as the Mountain of Mountains, the Matterhorn has become an emblem of the Swiss Alps. Since the end of the 19th century, when railways were built in the area, each year a large number of mountaineers try to climb the Matterhorn from the Hörnli Hut via the northeast Hörnli ridge, the most popular route to the summit. Many trekkers undertake the 10-day-long circuit around the mountain, the Matterhorn is part of the Swiss Federal Inventory of Natural Monuments since 1983.
Decomposing Matterhorn yields Matter and Horn, here Matter is Matte in the case. Commonly, prepositions related to Zermatt are dropped as in Matterhorn, Mattertal, in Sebastian Münsters Cosmography, published in 1543, the name Matter is given to the Theodul Pass, which seems to be the origin of the present German name of the mountain. On Münsters topographical map this group is marked under the names of Augstalberg, the French name Cervin, from which the Italian term Cervino derives, stems from the Latin Mons Silvanus where silva, means forest which was corrupted to Selvin and Servin. The change of the first letter s to c is attributed to Horace Bénédict de Saussure, servius Galba, in order to carry out Caesars orders, came with his legions from Allobroges to Octodurum in the Valais, and pitched his camp there. It is unknown when the new name of Servin, or Cervin, replaced the old, the Matterhorn is named Gran Becca by the Valdôtains and Horu by the local Walliser German speaking people
The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4000 metres, the altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe, in the mountains precipitation levels vary greatly and climatic conditions consist of distinct zones. Wildlife such as live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era, a mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991. By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established, Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, and the Romans had settlements in the region.
In 1800 Napoleon crossed one of the passes with an army of 40,000. The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists, writers, in World War II, Adolf Hitler kept a base of operation in the Bavarian Alps throughout the war. The Alpine region has a cultural identity. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, French, at present, the region is home to 14 million people and has 120 million annual visitors. The English word Alps derives from the Latin Alpes, maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator of Virgil, says in his commentary that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts. The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp and this may be consistent with the theory that in Greek Alpes is a name of non-Indo-European origin. According to the Old English Dictionary, the Latin Alpes might possibly derive from a pre-Indo-European word *alb hill, Albania, a name not native to the region known as the country of Albania, has been used as a name for a number of mountainous areas across Europe.
In Roman times, Albania was a name for the eastern Caucasus, in modern languages the term alp, albe or alpe refers to a grazing pastures in the alpine regions below the glaciers, not the peaks. An alp refers to a mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found. The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km arc from east to west and is 200 km in width, the mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km. The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po basin, extending through France from Grenoble, the range continues onward toward Vienna and east to the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. To the south it dips into northern Italy and to the north extends to the border of Bavaria in Germany
A mountain hut is a building located high in the mountains, generally accessible only by foot, intended to provide food and shelter to mountaineers and hikers. Mountain huts are usually operated by an Alpine Club or some organisation dedicated to hiking or mountain recreation, Mountain huts can provide a range of services, starting with shelter and simple sleeping berths. Mountain huts usually allow anybody to access their facilities, although some require reservations, the Swiss Alpine Club has built huts since 1863. In the United States, the Appalachian Mountain Club built its first hut at Madison Spring in New Hampshire in 1888-89, the construction of refuges and shelters in the Alps date back to ancient times, when Roman roads led across the mountain passes. In the High Middle Ages, hospitales were erected along the routes, cottages. The long history of mountaineering from the 19th century onwards has led to a number of Alpine club huts as well as private huts along the mountaineering paths.
These huts are categorised according to their location and facilities and they may have beds or a mattress room for overnight stays. Many climbing clubs in the UK have such huts in Snowdonia or in the Lake District, a well-known example is the Charles Inglis Clark Memorial Hut under the northern crags of Ben Nevis in Scotland - this is a purpose-built hut, high up the mountain. In the Slovakia there is a network of mountain huts in most mountain and forest regions. In the past they were managed by the official tourist union, official mountain huts are similar to guest houses and are run by full-time managers. The Norwegian Trekking Association operates about 460 cabins mostly in the mountains and in forested areas, many cabins are unstaffed and open all year, while the staffed cabins often are just open during summer. In Poland most of mountains shelters and huts are run by PTTK - Polish Tourist Society, only few of shelters belong to private investors. Most of mountains shelters offer only common sleeping rooms and refreshments, Polish mountain huts are obliged by their own regulations to overnight each person who is not able to find any other place before sunset, though the conditions may be tough.
The hut shall provide each tourist or hiker with free boiling water for hot drinks, there are many huts in the United States, in the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains and other ranges. There are many mountain huts throughout Maine, the Alpine Club of Canada operates what it calls the largest network of backcountry huts in North America. The New Zealand Department of Conservation manages a network of over 950 huts of all shapes and sizes, the mountains of Asia do not have a well-developed system of public mountain huts, although hiking and mountain climbing are common. In 2015, a competition was launched to design huts that could be located along trekking trails of Nepal
Breuil-Cervinia is an alpine resort in the Aosta Valley region of northwest Italy. It is a frazione of the comune of Valtournenche, cervinia lies at 2,006 m above sea level, at the foot of the Matterhorn, in a valley surrounded by high, glaciated mountains and the sheer rock face of the Jumeaux. It shares a ski area with Zermatt in Switzerland, connected through the Plateau Rosa glacier, some of the runs are very long, the longest stretches 22 km from the Klein Matterhorn in Switzerland down to Valtournenche in Italy. Cervinia being one of Europes highest ski resorts means low temperatures and good consistent snow fall, temperatures get very cold through the winter months with daily averages being around -5 - -10 for the winter months and only about 8-10c in the summer months. This maintains the snow in great shape throughout the winter season, december usually averages round 40-50cm in resort and 140-160cm on the mountain, January approx 80cm and 200cm, February approx 90cm and 220cm, march 100cm and 240cm, April 60cm - 200cm.
The town hosted the FIBT World Championships in 1971,1975, official website, & Breuil-Cervinia Downhill Snow Report from Aosta valley official website, &
The Aosta Valley is a mountainous semi-autonomous region in northwestern Italy. It is bordered by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France to the west, Switzerland to the north, covering an area of 3,263 km2 and with a population of about 128,000 it is the smallest, least populous, and least densely populated region of Italy. It is the only Italian region that is not sub-divided into provinces, provincial administrative functions are provided by the regional government. The region is divided into 74 comuni, the Aosta Valley is an Alpine valley which with its tributary valleys includes the Italian slopes of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and the Matterhorn, its highest peak is Mont Blanc. The region is cold in the winter, especially when compared with other places in the Western Alps. Winter temperatures average around −3 °C or −4 °C, and summers between 13 °C and 15 °C, the snow season starts in November and lasts until March. Mist is common during the morning from April until October, the main communities in this area are Gressoney-Saint-Jean and Gressoney-La-Trinité.
The valleys above 1600 metres usually have a Cold Continental Climate, in this climate the snow season is very long, as long as 8 or 9 months at the highest points. During the summer, mist occurs almost every day and these areas are the wettest in the western Alps. Temperatures are low, between −7 °C and −3 °C in January, and in July between 10 °C and 13 °C. In this area is the town of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame. which may be the coldest town in the Western Alps, areas between 2000 metres and 3500 metres usually have a Tundra Climate, where every month has an average temperature below 10 °C. Temperature averages in Pian Rosà, at 3400 metres high, are −11.6 °C in January and 1.4 °C in July and it is the coldest place in Italy where the climate is verifiable. In the past, above 3500 metres, all months were having a temperature below freezing. In recent years there was a rise in temperatures. See as an example the data for Pian Rosà, the first inhabitants of the Aosta Valley were Celts and Ligures, whose language heritage remains in some local placenames.
Thus, the name Valle dAosta literally means Valley of Augustus, saint Anselm of Canterbury was born in Aosta in 1033 or 1034. In the mid-13th century Emperor Frederick II made the County of Aosta a duchy, the region remained part of Savoy lands, with the exceptions of French occupations from 1539 to 1563, in 1691, between 1704 and 1706. As part of the Kingdom of Sardinia it joined the new Kingdom of Italy in 1861 and it was ruled by the First French Empire between 1800 and 1814
Second ascent of the Matterhorn
The second ascent of the Matterhorn was accomplished in July 1865, only three days after the successful expedition led by Edward Whymper on the Zermatt side. The second was effected on the Italian side by Jean-Antoine Carrel and Jean-Baptiste Bich with the abbé Amé Gorret, the party started from Breuil on 16 July and reached the top the following day. The successful ascent followed a series of attempts that took place on the southwest ridge of the Matterhorn. The Italian side was considered easier than the Swiss side but despite appearances, the routes were harder. On the first fine day they began their work, and about midday on the 14th got on to the Shoulder, the counsels of the party were divided. Two —Jean-Antoine Carrel and Joseph Maquignaz wished to go on, the others were not eager about it, a discussion took place, and the result was they all commenced to descend, and whilst upon the cravate they heard Whymper and others crying from the summit. Upon the 15th they went down to Breuil and reported their ill-success to Giordano, wrote the latter in his diary, dating the entry the 15th.
Early in the morning Carrel, more dead than alive, came to me he had been forestalled. He had reckoned on climbing to the top today, and expected to be able to force a passage not by the highest tower, which he considers impossible, but on the Zmutt side, where the snow is. I have decided that he and others shall at least try and ascend, so Giordano attempted to recruit men from Breuil to make another attempt. He was in a most unfavourable position, he was at any rate uncertain whether the last bit was passable, the men who had been with Carrel steadily refused to try again, as if they were overcome with terror of the mountain. The guides replies were most discouraging but the abbé Amé Gorret came forward, the latter accepted the volunteer, and thus two of those who, eight years before, had taken the first steps towards climbing the Matterhorn, were together in the last attempt. Carrel and Gorret would have set out by themselves had not Jean-Baptiste Bich, for his own credit, desired Carrel to state as much in writing.
At the end of the day he makes the note in his pocket-book, Walked a mile. A very bad night with fever, on Sunday, the 16th, after hearing mass at the chapel of Breuil, the party started. Giordano was left sad and lonely at Breuil, I have once more made the great sacrifice of waiting at the foot of the peak instead of climbing it, he wrote in another letter to Sella, and I assure you that this has been most painful to me. The four men, having left Breuil at 6.30 a. m. arrived at the third tent platform at 1 a. m. and there passed the night. The passage of the cleft that separates the Pic Tyndall from the peak, named the enjambée
Jean-Antoine Carrel was an Italian mountain climber and guide. He had made climbs with Edward Whymper and was his rival when he attempted to climb the Matterhorn for the first time, Whymper ultimately succeeded in making the mountains first ascent in July 1865 while Carrel led the party that achieved the second ascent three days later. Carrel was in the group became the first Europeans to reach the summit of Chimborazo in 1880. He died from exhaustion when guiding a party on the side of the Matterhorn. Carrel was born on 16 January 1829 in Valtournenche, in the Aosta Valley and he served in the Bersaglieri, a light infantry unit of the Piedmontese army. Carrel first attempted to climb the Matterhorns Lion Ridge in 1857—by which time the mountain was the tallest unclimbed peak in the Alps—with his uncle, Whympers party outclimbed the Italians and reached the summit on 14 July 1865, marking the first ascent of the Matterhorn. Carrel and his Italian party successfully summited the Matterhorn three days later, Carrel died in August 1891 while guiding a party on the south side of the Matterhorn.
After ensuring that his clients descended the mountain safely and easily in a storm, he collapsed from exhaustion. The manner of his death strikes a chord in hearts he never knew