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

 
 

Felice Giordano

(1825-1892)

 
 

Giordano was a mining engineer and a founding member of the Italian Alpine Club. The Club was set up in 1863 in the midst of excitement about Italian independence as well as about mountaineering. A spectacular achievement would bring honour to the Club and to Italy. A first ascent of the Matterhorn would be ideal.

Felice Giordano was assigned the task of organising the exploit. In 1864 he travelled to Breuil (passing through Zermatt en route as he had been recently on Mont Blanc) to make plans for the expedition. He engaged Carrel, who had made more attempts on the target mountain than anyone else. By 1865 the Club was sending equipment and funds to the designated leader of the climb. The plan was that Carrel would facilitate a route to the summit so that Giordano would be able to plant the victorious Italian flag.

Having seen Whymper and Croz on the top of the mountain, Carrel brought down the tents and ropes that would have helped Giordano to the top. He refused to take a traveller on the next attempt, but went on the make the second ascent in the company of fellow local men. Giordano tried again to reach the summit in July 1866 but was turned back by stormy weather. He at last achieved his long-held ambition to reach the top of the Matterhorn in September 1868, guided by Jean-Antoine Carrel and Joseph Maquignaz.

For the rest of his life, Giordano worked tirelessly expanding the science of geology. He was employed by the newly formed Italian government and produced important Geological Maps of Italy and Sicily. His later years were troubled by fierce rivalries among fellow geologists and politicians, and he was said to be increasingly embittered. A remarkable life was cut short when he was sixty-seven. He died falling from an escarpment near Vallombrosa in Tuscany.

  • Felice Giordano