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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

We could see the mountain

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

It was a sunny day in Zermatt, so we could see the majestic Matterhorn.

The flowers along the Bahnhofstrasse again this year did not disappoint.

My mom would have loved these guys!

Zermatt, in southern Switzerland’s Valais canton, is a mountain resort renowned for skiing, climbing and hiking. The town, at an elevation of around 5,249 ft (1,600m), lies below the iconic, pyramid-shaped Matterhorn peak. Its main street, Bahnhofstrasse is lined with boutique shops, hotels and restaurants.

We were to take the 10:05 train to Spiez. Oh, that is the German train!! All together now. How many minutes will it be late?? Well, today, it was 10 minutes late. Interlaken West is 5 minutes away from Öst. When a train starts its journey late, you will miss your connections. Wonder how late it will be arriving in Berlin later today?

For first class, the seats are uncomfortable.

We changed trains in Spiez for Visp. It is a very quick trip between Spiez and Visp since they built the Lötschberg tunnel 9 miles(16 kilometers) long. The train picks up speed once inside the tunnels. I remember the trip used to take double the time it does now.

The trip from Visp to Zermatt is on a cog wheel train. It climbs and climbs and climbs to Zermatt. There is one track so the trains wait for each other in designated pull outs.

Most everything is brought to Zermatt by train.

Grapes are grown in and around Visp. They cling to the mountainsides.

Zermatt has been car-free since the 1970's. For private vehicles, access is allowed until Täsch (5 km from Zermatt). The road from Täsch to Zermatt is closed to normal traffic.

People coming in by train are met by bellmen driving electric vehicles.

This building usually has orange and pink hanging geraniums.

Swiss-Tunisian artist Jasm One has paid tribute to Lucy Walker, the first female climber to conquer the Matterhorn 150 years ago, and to all female climbers. His mural can be seen in the heart of the Swiss mountain resort.

The 59 foot, 18 meter, high work is opposite the train station and welcomes visitors. In the foreground is a blue triangle symbolising the Matterhorn and climbing. Inside the triangle is an archive image of Walker during her exploit.

In the background, the fresco shows a faceless woman wearing a dress and leather gloves and carrying a mountaineering rope over her shoulder.

The title of the work, No peak rise above her, appears in the middle of the mural. The phrase refers to a poem dedicated to Walker’s achievement.

Jasm One (real name Issam Rezgui) said that through Walker he also wanted to highlight “the problem of melting glaciers and the need for humanity to change its behavior in the face of climate challenges”.

On July 22, 1871, 35-year-old British mountaineer Lucy Walker made climbing history. Six years after her compatriot Edward Whymper, she reached the peak of the iconic Matterhorn.

People were coming back from skiing in the morning.

They had to be walking on the glacier. Look closely. She has ice cleats.

"The Matterhorn straddles the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a large, near-symmetric pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 14,692 ft. (4,478 m.) high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Furggen, Leone/Lion, and Zmutt ridges. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt, to the north-east and the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Just east of the Matterhorn is Theodul Pass, the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides, which has been a trade route since the Roman Era."

"The Matterhorn was studied by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the late eighteenth century, who was followed by other renowned naturalists and artists, such as John Ruskin, in the 19th century. It remained unclimbed after most of the other great Alpine peaks had been attained and became the subject of an international competition for the summit. The first ascent of the Matterhorn was in 1865 from Zermatt by a party led by Edward Whymper; it ended when four of its seven members fell to their deaths on the descent. This disaster, later portrayed in several films, marked the end of the golden age of alpinism. The north face was not climbed until 1931 and is among the three biggest north faces of the Alps, known as "The Trilogy". The west face, which is the highest of the Matterhorn's four faces, was completely climbed only in 1962. It is estimated that over 500 alpinists have died on the Matterhorn, making it one of the deadliest peaks in the world."

"The Matterhorn is mainly composed of gneisses (originally fragments of the African Plate before the Alpine orogeny) from the Dent Blanche nappe lying over ophiolites and sedimentary rocks of the Penninic nappes. The mountain's current shape is the result of cirque erosion due to multiple glaciers diverging from the peak, such as the Matterhorn Glacier at the base of the north face. Sometimes referred to as the Mountain of Mountains, the Matterhorn has become an iconic emblem of the Alps in general. Since the end of the 19th century, when railways were built in the area, the mountain has attracted increasing numbers of visitors and climbers. Each year, numerous mountaineers try to climb the Matterhorn from the Hörnli Hut via the northeast Hörnli ridge, the most popular route to the summit. Many trekkers also undertake the 10-day-long circuit around the mountain. The Matterhorn has been part of the Swiss Federal Inventory of Natural Monuments since 1983."

"The Matterhorn has two distinct summits situated at either end of a 100-meter-long (330 ft) exposed rocky crest which forms the Italian/Swiss border. In August 1792, the Genevan geologist and explorer Horace Bénédict de Saussure made the first measurement of the Matterhorn's height, using a sextant and a 50-foot-long (15 m) chain spread out on the Theodul glacier. He calculated its height as 4,501.7 m (14,769 ft). In 1868, the Italian engineer Felice Giordano measured a height of 4,505 m (14,780 ft) by means of a mercury barometer, which he had taken to the summit. The Dufor map which was afterwards followed by the Italian surveyors, gave 4,482 m (14,705 ft) as the height of the Swiss summit."

"In 1999, the summit height was precisely determined to be at 4,477.54 m (14,690 ft) above sea level by using Global Positioning System technology as part of the Tower Project (Top of the World Elevations Remeasurement) and to an accuracy of less than one centimeter, which allows future changes to be tracked."

The topographic prominence of the Matterhorn is 1,042 meters (3,419 ft) as the ridge connecting it with a higher summit (in this case the Weisshorn, which is the culminating point of the range west of the Mattertal Valley) sinks to a height of 3,436 m (11,273 ft) at the Col Durand, a saddle between the Pointe de Zinal and the Mont Durand. The topographic isolation is 13.9 km (8.6 mi), as the nearest point of higher elevation is the one-meter (3 ft 3 in) higher Western Liskamm.

Today, Zermatt was quite crowded with people.

Love these benches. Had a wonderful view of the Matterhorn from one of them. Don't even have to move to take a great picture of the Matterhorn.I thought it would be more difficult to get out of the lounger.

We usually have lunch at the Alpenrose but the hotel and the restaurant could not make it due to Covid. They had tasty food and what a view you had with your meal. I hope someone purchases the building and makes a go of it. It is a distance from the train station but you are so close to the chairlifts. They even dismantled some of the light fixtures. So sad!

So many crocuses growing in the fields. In one section of the field, they were watering. We really haven’t had much rain since we have been here. Cloudy skies and a few drizzles but not days of constant rain. It is one of the reasons we enjoy coming here in September.

Since the Alpenrose was closed, we decided on pizza after our long walk. Stopped at Pizzeria Ristorante Molino.

I had a Lorenzo - Prosecco, soda water, fig syrup or liquor (will have to check the recipe) with a slice of lemon and fresh mint leaves. This may be a new favorite!!

Michael had a beer.

Michael and I both started with the Margherita and added spicy salami. I also added buffalo mozzarella. Delicious!!

Always garnish with chili peppers in olive oil. Yummy topping for the pizza.

I had two favorite flower places. They have had the same type flower growing in their window boxes for years. It is still beautiful to see.

I think 90 percent of people walking by, stopped and took pictures. Even men stopped and admired these flowers. Quite spectacular in person. The sun wasn't exactly in the correct position but it is still stunning to see.

Many cheese houses around the town. The rocks prevent rodents from climbing up and into the house

Wonderful time in Zermatt, today!!!!!!!!

Interesting sight as we walked back to the Adventure Guest House.

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