Weisshorn - Climbing History - 1860 Attempt

1860 Attempt

In 1860 an attempt was made by C. E. Mathews by the southern face. He came to Zermatt with Melchior Anderegg, and engaged Johann Kronig as second guide. They slept at the huts of Schallenbergalp and started at half-past one on the morning of the 1st July. Crossing the moraine, they walked until they reached a steep and rugged portion of the glacier, which hid the mountain from their view; and rounding this obstruction with some difficulty, they reached the upper portion of the glacier about five o'clock. They saw that the ridges were thickly coated over with fresh snow, and, except a little patch of rock some 700 or 800 feet (240 m) below the summit, the whole mass was of brilliant and dazzling whiteness. They decided to try the southern side which seemed less steep and more practicable to Melchior but an avalanche stopped them:

"For six mortal hours we toiled up the steep face of the mountain...A great many steps had to be cut, but for the most part we were able to tread out our foot-holds in the snow. About half-past nine the difficulties became much greater - ten or twelve inches of snow rested upon the ice. We could get not safe footing upon it, and my clinometer indicated an angle of 48 or 49 degrees. The necessity of clearing away the snow before the step could be cut in the ice beneath it, made Melchior's work very arduous, and the higher we got the greater the difficulties became. We had to take off veil and spectacles, and use all our eyes, the footholds were so insecure, and this, though the sun was extremely hot and there was not a cloud to be seen. Suddenly the heat of the sun loosened some snow just above us, and down came a little avalanche quite near enough to be exceedingly unpleasant.

The guide Kronig asked Mathews to give up the expedition. They turned back and reached Zermatt in the evening, after nineteen hours of walking. They experienced other avalanches on the descent and the eyes of Mathews were severely burnt.

Read more about this topic:  Weisshorn, Climbing History

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