GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Zermatt and Valtournenche-Cervinia in Italy are marking the 150th anniversary of the first successful climb to the summit with a sombre tribute to the 500 people known to have died attempting the climb.
“Out of respect for the mountain and in remembrance of the more than 500 people who have suffered a fatal accident since the first ascent, the Matterhorn is closed for all activities on 14 July 2015,” the Swiss village announced 2 June. The date is the anniversary of the first ascent in 1865 when four Alpinists fell to their deaths.
CHF5,000 fine for climbers who break the ban
Climbers are being asked to respect the ban 14 July – but just in case they don’t the local council has issued a 24-hour ban
on climbing. “In an extreme case, this means that a violation will lead to the police filing charges. Anyone violating this climbing ban will face a fine of up to CHF 5,000 as well as having to pay for the return costs by helicopter,” the council says.
“Since only half of the Matterhorn is on Swiss soil, the same order was worked out with our Italian neighbours in Valtournenche-Cervinia. There, the mountain belongs to two private landowners. They will enforce the ban on the Italian side.”
A more festive commemoration will take place three days later, 17 July 2015. “a star climb over all four ridges of the Matterhorn will take place to mark the first ascent of the Matterhorn from the Italian side. The rope teams come from Italy, England, France and Switzerland – the participating nations in the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. The climbers will meet at the summit and commemorate with an act of friendship and respect.”