Matterhorn Mountain, Switzerland
Situated on the border of Switzerland and Italy, the Matterhorn is like a pyramid in the center of Europe, with four triangular faces meeting at its summit. Like any other pyramid (whether it be the famous pyramids in Egypt or a bit less famous pyramidal structures in Mexico), the Matterhorn Mountain is also full of mysteries and tragic stories.
Being 4478 meters high the Matterhorn is only the fifth highest mountain among the Alps. Nevertheless, it is one of the most tough and tricky peaks to climb in the world. Its faces are so deceptive, that even the most experienced climbers could not ascend them until 1865; and the southern slope remained unconquered for another 66 years.
Time after time results of those ascents were rather ambiguous. For example, Edward Whymper (British) and his fellow climbers made the very first successful ascent of the mountain. And as they began their descent, rope broke and killed four of the brave pioneers... In 1933, three French climbers were first to finish one of the Matterhorn routes, but they all died on the way back.
Hermann Perren, a mountaineer and a guide, became famous thanks to the Matterhorn too. His goal was to ascend the mountain 150 times, but he fell and died 10 ascents short of his goal.
Although all of the Matterhorn ridges and slopes have been climbed by now, and guides take large tourist groups to the peak (which makes some of the routes really crowded) — still about 10 to 15 people die climbing the Matterhorn every year.
The Matterhorn has its character. At least, that's what the residents of the nearby town of Zermatt are sure of. They say that even the weather in Switzerland, in this part of the country, depends on the mood of the legendary mountain. When the sky is gloomy and the 4478-meter tall Matterhorn peak is hidden behind the clouds: the mountain is out of humor. When the Matterhorn wants to play a joke, it pretends to be Vesuvius: clouds are covering up only part of the mountain making you believe the peak is smoking, as if before eruption. But when "his highness" is in a good mood: it is showing off, gleaming with its glacier hat, as if inviting you to take an unforgettable picture of the Matterhorn.
The town of Zermatt (situated at 1600 meters altitude) enjoys the proximity of such a popular neighbor. Not only is it one of the most popular ski resorts in Switzerland. It is, in fact, the tourist landmark of Switzerland. It offers activities all year round. Even summer activities, as one can guess, are related to vacationing in the mountains. Zermatt even has a so-called sunrise train, which takes you to the Matterhorn peak to witness the sunrise of unparalleled beauty.
The bordering country benefits from the mountain pretty much in the same way. The southern slope of the Matterhorn is home to a small town called Brueil Cervinia, an extremely popular ski resort in Italy located at 2006 meters above sea level. It does not need to compete with Zermatt. They simply have to accept the fact that they share the mountain. That is why both resorts have shared ski routes, tourist routes, and a great number of tourists coming here for an active outdoor time and ski tourism in the Alps.
...There is a saying: everyone, who sees the Matterhorn mountain, will be successful and wealthy. Perhaps, this is the reason why Swiss banks have so much money in their volts. Come visit the Matterhorn, the famous landmark of the nature of Switzerland, and who knows, the local saying may just come true for you.
AirPano team would like to express our gratitude to Frédéric Sidler for perfect organization of the video shoot, and warm welcome.