Photo Credit: MATTERHORN Zermatt Bergbahnen

Matterhorn is the name of a mountain in Switzerland. It is the highest summer ski region in Europe and is open throughout the year.

Matterhorn in the Alps straddles in the border between Switzerland and Italy. The pyramidal shaped mountain has four steep faces and rises above the surrounding glaciers.

The mountain overlooks Zermatt the Swiss town in the canton called Valais, and the Italian town Breuil-Cervinia. Theodul Pass is the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides and the pass was also the main trade route since the Roman Era.

Zermatt is the town that lies below the mountain that is pyramid-shaped called Matterhorn.

Zermatt is a popular Alpine holiday resort.

“The Matterhorn and Switzerland are inseparably linked to each other. The pyramid shaped colossus of a mountain, which is very difficult to climb, is said to be the most-photographed mountain in the world. The Klein-Matterhorn (“Little Matterhorn”), which can be reached via a funicular, lies adjacent to the Matterhorn,” says Swtizerland’s tourism website. “The first ascent of the Matterhorn in the year 1865, which cost the lives of four out of seven alpinists, changed the region (which had been isolated until then) forever. The Matterhorn became world-famous, and ambitious mountaineers aspired to climb it. Even today the ascent of the Matterhorn is very challenging and can only be achieved by expert mountaineers with excellent equipment and a competent guide. At the foot of the most popular route stands the Hörnli Hut at 3,260m, home to the Matterhorn Base Camp (reopened in 2015 after a full renovation) and the Matterhorn mountain inn.”

In 1865, Edward Whymper and his team ascended Matterhorn but four of the seven members fell to their deaths on their descent, and that was the end of the golden age of alpinism. The Mountain of Mountains in Europe is also the iconic emblem of the Alps in addition to Switzerland.

O. Henry refers to Matterhorn the mountain more than three times in his short story ‘THE DEFEAT OF THE CITY’: “But the Matterhorn of Robert Walmsley’s success was not scaled until he married Alicia Van Der Pool. I cite the Matterhorn, for just so high and cool and white and inaccessible was this daughter of the old burghers. The social Alps that ranged about her—over whose bleak passes a thousand climbers struggled—reached only to her knees. She towered in her own atmosphere, serene, chaste, prideful, wading in the fountains, dining no monkeys, breeding no dogs for bench shows. She was a Van Der Pool. Fountains were to play for her, monkeys were made for other people’s ancestors; dogs, she understood, were created to be companions of the bind persons and objectionable characters who smoked pipes.”

“This was the Matterhorn that Robert Walmsley accomplished. If he found, with the good poet with the game foot and artificially curled hair, that he who ascends to mountain tops will find the loftiest peaks most wrapped in clouds and snow, he concealed his chilblains beneath a brave and smiling exterior. He was a lucky man and knew it, even though he were imitating the Spartan boy with an ice-cream freezer beneath his doublet frappeeing the region of his heart.”

“This rural atavism, then, seized Robert Walmsley and possessed him. A queer thing he noticed in connection with it was that Alicia, sitting at his side, suddenly seemed to him a stranger. She did not belong in this recurrent phase. Never before had she seemed to him remote, so colorless and high—so intangible and unreal. And yet he had never admired her more than when she sat there by him in the rickety spring wagon, chiming no more with his mood and with her environment than the Matterhorn chimes with a peasant’s cabbage garden.”

“Robert sighed and went near the window. He was ready to meet his fate. A confessed vulgarian, he foresaw the verdict of justice in the shape of that still, whiteclad form. He knew the rigid lines that a Van Der Pool would draw. He was a peasant gambolling indecorously in the valley, and the pure, cold, white, unthawed summit of the Matterhorn could not but frown on him. He had been unmasked by his own actions. All the polish, the poise, the form that the city had given him had fallen from him like an ill-fitting mantle at the first breath of a country breeze. Dully he awaited the approaching condemnation.”


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