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New 7 Wonders of Nature Nominees

 

 

 

New 7 Natural Wonders of the World

New Seven Wonders of Nature-One of 28 nominees. Winners will be announced in 2011.

 

Matterhorn/Cervino
Switzerland /Italy, Europe
New Seven Wonders of Nature
Earth's Natural Wonders in Europe & Middle East
Coordinates-45° 58' 35 N, 7° 39' 30 E
Elevation: 4,478 metres, (14,692 feet)
First Ascent: July 14, 1865
 After a number of attempts, chiefly on the Italian side, the Matterhorn was first conquered from the Swiss arête on July 14, 1865, by the British explorer Edward Whymper, but four of his party fell to their deaths on the descent. Three days later it was scaled from the Italian side by a party of men from the village of Valtournanche, Italy, led by the Italian guide Giovanni Antonio Carrel. [2]
Matterhorn / Cervino Slideshow
Matterhorn at dawn [1]

 

The Matterhorn (German), Cervino (Italian) or Cervin (French), is a mountain in the Pennine Alps. With its 4,478 metres (14,692 ft) high summit, lying on the border between Switzerland and Italy, it is one of the highest peaks in the Alps[2] and its 1,200 metres (3,937 ft) north face is one of the Great north faces of the Alps. It is also one of the deadliest peaks in the Alps: from 1865 – when it was first climbed – to 1995, over 500 alpinists have died on it. The mountain overlooks the town of Zermatt in the canton of Valais to north-east and Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Although not the highest mountain in Switzerland, the Matterhorn is considered to be an iconic emblem of the Swiss Alps in particular and the Alps in general.

Geography


The Matterhorn and the Dent d'Hérens seen from westThe Matterhorn has a pyramidal shape with four faces facing the four compass points: the north and east faces overlook, respectively, the Zmutt valley and Gornergrat ridge in Switzerland, the south face (the only one south of the Swiss-Italian border) fronts the resort town of Breuil-Cervinia, and the west face looks towards the mountain of Dent d'Hérens which straddles the border. The north and south faces meet at the summit to form a short east-west ridge.

The Matterhorn's faces are steep, and only small patches of snow and ice cling to them; regular avalanches send the snow down to accumulate on the glaciers at the base of each face, the largest of which is the Zmutt Glacier to the west. The Hörnli ridge of the northeast (the central ridge in the view from Zermatt) is the usual climbing route.

The most well-known faces are the east and north ones, both visible from Zermatt. The east face is 1,000 metres high and, because it is "a long, monotonous slope of rotten rocks",presents a high risk of rockfall, making its ascent dangerous. The north face is 1,200 metres high and is one of the most dangerous north faces in the Alps, in particular for its risk of rockfall and storms. The south face is 1,350 metres high and offers many different routes. Finally, the west face, the highest at 1,400 metres, has the fewest routes of ascent.

The four main ridges separating the four faces are also the main climbing routes. The least difficult technical climb, the Hörnli ridge (Hörnligrat), lies between the east and north faces, facing the town of Zermatt. To its west lies the Zmutt ridge (Zmuttgrat), between the north and west faces; this is, according to Collomb, "the classic route up the mountain, its longest ridge, also the most disjointed." The Lion ridge (Cresta del Leone), lying between the south and west faces is the Italian normal route and goes across Pic Tyndall; Collomb comments, "A superb rock ridge, the shortest on the mountain, now draped with many fixed ropes, but a far superior climb compared with the Hörnli." Finally the south side is separated from the east side by the Furggen ridge (Furggengrat), according to Collomb "the hardest of the ridges [...] the ridge still has an awesome reputation but is not too difficult in good conditions by the indirect finish".

The border between Italy and Switzerland is also the main Alpine watershed, separating the drainage basin on the Rhone on the north (Mediterranean Sea) and the Po River on the south (Adriatic Sea).

The Matterhorn is one of the many 4000 metres summits surrounding the Mattertal valley, with the Breithorn, Zwillinge, Liskamm and Monte Rosa on the south and the Dom and Weisshorn on the north. The region between Matterhorn and Monte Rosa is one of the major glaciated area in the Alps and is listed in the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments.[3]

 

Got up early one morning to catch the sunrise on the Matterhorn. It was so peaceful, all you could hear was the occasional ringing of bells coming from the sheep as they moved about the pasture.

 

geemacm
February 07, 2007

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References
 
1. Flickr-Matterhorn-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/28/2009
2. "Matterhorn." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2009 Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009.
3. Wikipedia-Matterhorn/Cervino-retrieved 7/28/2009  
 
Wikipedia  text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

 

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