150 Years
  First Ascent

Matterhorn 2015

The First Ascent of the Matterhorn from Zermatt on July 14th 1865 was not exactly carefully planned. It was a chain of chance events that led to those seven climbers reaching the summit, then four perishing on the mountain and leaving Edward Whymper and Peter Taugwalder the subjects of intense speculation ever since.

Matterhorn 2015 takes the opportunity of its 150th Jubilee to re-live that epic event in mountaineering history. Follow Whymper on the journey across the Alps that culminated in the First Ascent of the Matterhorn and, along the way, work out what really led to the deaths of Michel Croz, Lord Francis Douglas, Charles Hudson and Douglas Hadow.

Read and experience the entire story via a Videobook, especially designed for tablets. A free App is available for download and enables you access to the history of the Matterhorn’s first ascent in any place and at any time.

Week by Week: A weekly Newsletter reports on the adventures of Summer 1865 ... as told by a contemporary of Edward Whymper. You can follow events “online” or pick up a printed version in Zermatt.

Day by day – Each afternoon an update on our website will be your gateway to the alpine exploits of that day 150 years ago.

As the action unwinds, we will keep you ud-todate either via our Live-Ticker or Twitter.

Become a Facebook friend of Edward Whymper, and hear what he has to say about the path towards the summit.

Exchange thoughts about the climb on our “Matterhorn 2015” Facebook community of adventure and nature lovers. Here you will also learn interesting fun-facts about Edward Whymper as well as his fellows, and reawaken your enthusiasm for wild adventures!

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Biography

 
 

Franz Biner

(1835-1916)

 
 

Biner was often called by his nickname of ‘Weisshorn Biner’. He had been up the Weisshorn four times by 1864, although he wasn’t on the 1st Ascent in 1861. Until 1864, Biner was not known for ascending the tougher peaks, although his reliability and warm personality were commented on by tourists he accompanied over the Theodule. Then, he was employed by Tuckett in 1864 and Whymper in 1865 and his career took off.

After 1865, he climbed a lot with Julius Elliott, who made the 2nd Matterhorn ascent from Zermatt in 1868. But when Elliott asked Biner to accompany him on that expedition, the guide refused. It seems he was supporting his mother and two unmarried sisters, and his mother begged him not to have anything to do with that mountain.

Biner worked with Whymper again, when the Englishman came back to Zermatt in 1866 to study the stratification of snow and the formation of glacier ice. They spent the cold nights in a tent up the glacier and the days cutting holes in ice. Franz Biner lived all his life in Zermatt, marrying Barbara Lauber in 1869. He had many successful years of mountain guiding ahead after 1865, well into older age, as can be seen in the picture.

  • Franz Biner
Franz Biner worked in the mountains, still a popular guide into a healthy old age