The 150th anniversary of the first time the famed Matterhorn mountain was climbed was marked with a dramatic display of lights planted by a team of mountain climbers along the mountain’s sharp ridge. Staged by Swiss mountaineering and trekking company Mammut last month, the photos show were taken on the Matterhorn, also known as Monte Cervino or Mont Cervin, in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy.
When English mountaineer Edward Whymper first ascended the peak of the Matterhorn in 1865, he and his crew had very little protective gear or tools for the trek. They wore shoes with nails in them, used hemp rope, and had very little by with which to navigate. Four people from Whymper’s Matterhorn party died on the descent.
Just six years after Whymper made his climb, another English national made history again. In 1871, Lucy Walker became the first woman to climb the Matterhorn. She did it in a long, flannel skirt to boot.
For the anniversary shoot, photographed by Robert Boesch, the process of the climb also included a few other playful shots along the way. Boesch is known for taking photographs of mountain climbers in stunning locations.
One of the most dramatic images — which was also one of the hardest to capture — was made by the team of climbers activating a series of bright red lights along the Matterhorn’s backbone ridge to the top of the mountain. The photo will be used for Mammut’s 2015 ad campaign, and is part of Switzerland’s plans to celebrate the historic climb.
The elevation of the Matterhorn is 14,692 feet (or 4,478 meters) making it one of the tallest mountains in the Alps. It also has the distinction of having a Disneyland ride modeled and named after it.
In the years since Whymper and his group made the first climb, the Matterhorn has attracted thousands of other climbers. An astounding 450 people have died while ascending or descending the peak. The promotional climb for Mammut and photo shoot involved mountain guides from the village of Zermatt. Next year, Zermatt will have big festivities of their own to mark the anniversary with events, festivities, and more.
A video that was also made to go with the photos features an interview with photographer Boesch and interspersed re-enactment footage of the first Matterhorn climb and their sparse equipment as well as historic footage of the climbers as they set out in suits.
Known as the “mountain of mountains,” the Matterhorn remains one of the most iconic and recognizable peaks in the entire world.
[Lead image via Wikimedia Commons]