Pippa Middleton has always been the one to experience an adventure. On July 30, the Duchess of Cambridge’s little sister climbed the Matterhorn with her brother, James, but it wasn’t solely for adventure purposes.
Middleton, who recently became engaged to financier James Matthews in early July, decided to do the climb for a charity organization that hits close to home. James and Pippa Middleton climbed Matterhorn to raise money for the Michael Matthews Foundation, as reported by People. Michael is James’ late brother, and he was an adventure-seeking climber who died doing what he loved.
Michael died at the age of 22 while trying to descend on Mount Everest in May, 1999. The climber was the youngest British person to reach the famous summit at the time.
The Matthews family created the Michael Matthews Foundation shortly after his death. The organization distributes funds to build schools in remote areas in countries such as Nepal, Tanzania, and Thailand.
Pippa never got to chance to meet Michael, but she said that she and her brother felt his presence as they climbed Matterhorn to raise money for her future family’s organization.
“Although neither I nor my brother ever met Michael, we both share his spirit and passion for the mountains. We made this climb knowing he would have been there nudging us on, and we are honored to be supporting his memory.”
The Middleton siblings climbed up to the Matterhorn summit on early Saturday morning. The Matterhorn’s peak is at 14,692 feet, and 500 climbers have died while trying to reach its summit over the years.
While Pippa can scratch Matterhorn off her bucket list, the English socialite felt at ease to complete the mission to honor her fiancé’s late brother.
“It was humbling to have been able to climb one of the world’s most beautiful mountains and raise money for a charity created in memory of an extraordinary young man who lost his life on another peak. Although I have raised money in the past for the Michael Matthews Foundation, it has now become even more important to me and my family.”
Pippa’s fiancé, James, did not join the Middleton siblings on their charity climb, but Pippa claims that she and her brother had the Matthews family’s full support over the weekend. Pippa understood that due to Michael’s death, her fiancé is wary to experience mountain climbing.
“It would have been good if James Matthews had been here to share the experience, something I know he would have loved to have done. Mountain climbing, though, has disturbing memories and understandably James kept his feet firmly on the ground, whilst giving us his complete support.”
Pippa and James did everything they could to ensure a smooth mountain climbing adventure prior to reaching the summit of Matterhorn. The Middleton siblings landed in Zermatt, Switzerland, earlier this week so they could acclimate to the environment and prep for their climbing mission.
Last Thursday, the Middleton siblings started their climbing adventure by going with guides to hike on a nearby mountain as a practice point. Pippa and James struggled on the practice climb, and both have stated that the mountain was more difficult than Matterhorn.
On early Saturday morning, the siblings were up by 4 a.m. to begin the final part of their journey to the summit. They were able to finish their climb by 7:30 a.m.
Pippa voiced her concerns that she and her brother might encounter dehydration and the inability to adapt to Matterhorn’s climate, but she is glad that they managed to reach the summit in one piece.
“For all that, though, my brother and I have loved it. Not only do we have the same ethos but we look after each other, each of us pulling our weight and working well as a team.”
[Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]