11 Matterhorn Facts You May Not Know

By Caitlin Hornik

You’ve likely seen photos of Europe’s most majestic mountain, but how much do you know about the Matterhorn?

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1. The Matterhorn was formed millions of years ago when two land masses crashed into each other, forcing the ground upward. Geologists claim that the mountain was formed when the African continental plate smashed into the European plate, meaning that the mountain is technically formed from African rock.

2. The Matterhorn stands over 14,000 feet tall!

3. Despite its towering reputation, the Matterhorn is neither the tallest mountain in Switzerland nor Europe. It’s the 10th highest in Switzerland and the 12th highest in Western Europe.

4. The Matterhorn is situated on the border of Switzerland and Italy and can be accessed from both countries.

5. It is estimated that around 3,000 people climb and successfully summit the Matterhorn each year.

6. The first ascent of the Matterhorn took place by a group of seven people in July 1865. Four of the seven climbers died on the descent.

7. The first woman to summit the mountain was Lucy Walker. She completed the ascent in 1871 while wearing a white dress.

8. In older times, it averaged two days to climb the 3608 feet to the top of the Matterhorn’s North face. Today, it takes between eight and ten hours.

9. The four “faces” of the mountain face the four cardinal directions.

10. The name Matterhorn comes from the German words matte, meaning “meadow,” and horn, meaning “peak.”

11. The Matterhorn has been on the packaging for popular candy Toblerone since 1960.

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