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!

Back
Back

Biography

 
 

Arthur Girdlestone

(1842-1908)

 
 

Arthur Girdlestone was another enthusiastic mountaineering clergyman who became known for his controversial book of 1870 “The High Alps without Guides”. Girdlestone met Whymper at the hotel above the Mer de Glace near Chamonix on July 3rd 1865. He was also the Englishman who fell ill at Val Tournenche whom Whymper mentions, but not by name, in Scrambles. Whymper had a deeply ingrained respect for proprieties and probably deemed it inappropriate to name the sick gentleman.

Girdlestone is especially interesting because he crossed from Breuil to Zermatt with Whymper and Lord Francis on July 12th. They were dining together at the Hotel Monte Rosa when they bumped into Charles Hudson and teamed up for the Matterhorn. Girdlestone wrote in his journal that he would have joined the Matterhorn party had he not been recovering from his illness. He then spent time with Whymper in the days after the accident, which makes his forthright statement in his 1870 book especially resonant. Whymper was reticent about details that might upset the relatives of the deceased, but Girdlestone, clearly unafraid of controversial statements, wrote –

..owing to the inexperience of one of the mountaineers, the rope could not be kept taut between him and his guide, and thus the rope was subjected to a sudden strain where the holding of some of the party was good. Bad mountaineering – not a bad rope – appears to have been the cause of that lamentable catastrophe.

  • Arthur Girdlestone