The first man to climb the Matterhorn has been commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque.
The plaque was unveiled by current Alpine Club president Mick Fowler at Edward Whymper’s Teddington home on 16 September, the 100th anniversary of his death. Whymper was a prominent member of the Alpine Club, the world’s first mountaineering club , which was established in 1857.
The Matterhorn is one of the most iconic mountains in the world, and its first ascent in 1865 was a landmark in alpine climbing. The ascent is equally famous for the tragedy which unfolded on the descent, when the seven-man party, who were all roped together, slipped; the rope linking them snapped and four climbers fell to their deaths.
Howard Spencer, English Heritage blue plaque historian said: “Whymper stands among the most prominent of early English mountaineers. A solitary man, he was more at home among the inhospitable peaks of the Alps than in the company of others, and the Matterhorn tragedy only exacerbated his tendency to morose introspection. Yet he deserves to be remembered for being the first to plot a successful route up a peak long thought to be an impossible climb, and for inspiring many other similarly brave endeavours.”
Mick Fowler, president of the Alpine Club said: “The Matterhorn is without doubt one of the most spectacular and readily recognised mountains in the Alps. Whymper’s ascent of this outstanding peak has gone down in history as one of the most audacious but tragic first ascents of the golden Victorian era.”
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