Swiss Set To Celebrate Matterhorn Anniversary


Swiss tourism authorities are inviting people to experience some high drama.

July 14 will mark the 150th year of the first ascent of the famed Matterhorn and tourism officials in Zermatt report that a year of celebrating the event will include a play designed for the milestone that will have a stunning and appropriate alpine setting.
The Matterhorn Story will recount the ascent led by Englishman Edward Whymper that summited the 4,478-metre-high Matterhorn on July 14, 1865, and be shown in a setting 2,600 metres high, with the stands for the performances built on the Gornergrat above Zermatt and have a dramatic view of the towering Matterhorn.
Performances will run from July 9 to Aug. 29, with seating provided for 700 people. The seating will be removed after the August end of the showings.
“There will be a perfect view of the Matterhorn. It will be a perfect match for nature,” Damian Constantin of Valais/Wallis Promotion promised of the “beautiful setting” for those taking in the plays.
Constantin – in Toronto for a Switzerland Tourism event – said the play’s lofty setting is a particularly appropriate one for recalling Whymper’s expedition, which saw seven men set out, but only three return alive, and controversy swirling after, with a guide charging that Whymper – who became famous after the landmark climb – recklessly endangered team members in order to be the first to summit.
Constantin, who has scaled the Matterhorn, praises those who climbed the mountain more than a century before him, noting their equipment and mountaineering clothes would be considered very basic by today’s standards.
“What they did back in those times was incredible,” he said.
Pictured at the Toronto event are Ursula Beamish of Switzerland Tourism; Patrick Oberson of Swiss; and Catherina Sitar of Ticino Tourism.