Matterhorn (Fr. Mont Gervin; Ital. Monte Silvio), a mountain of the Pennine Alps, between the canton of Valais, Switzerland, and the Val d'Aosta, Italy, 14,835 ft, high. It is one of the grandest peaks in the world. In the view from the Riff el its precipices rise 4,000 ft. to a summit which appears like the wall and steep roof of a house. From Breuil, in the Val Tournanche, the whole Italian face is a series of terraced walls. From the north and south the mountain appears like a tower, and from the east and west it has the form of an obelisk. At the height of 11,096 ft. is the pass of Mont Cervin, traversed in summer by mules and horses, and exhibiting the remains of rude fortifications, supposed to have been erected two or three centuries ago as a defence against incursions from the Valais. Up to 1865 the Matterhorn was the last of the great Alpine peaks that remained unsealed. The first attempts to ascend it were made by guides from the direction of Breuil in 1858 and 1859, and the highest point attained was the "Chimney," about 12,650 ft. In July, 1860, three Englishmen, Alfred, Charles, and Sandbach Parker, of Liverpool, without guides, ascended 12,000 ft. In August Prof. John Tyndall and Vaughan Hawkins accomplished 12,992 ft.
In July 1861, the Messrs. Parker made another effort, and reached a few feet beyond the point attained by them the previous year. In August Edward Whymper ascended to the "Chimney." In July, 1862, Tyndall ascended 13,970 ft. In 1863 and 1864 Whymper made unsuccessful attempts to reach the summit. On July 14, 1865, Mr. Whymper, Lord Francis Douglas, the Rev. Charles Hudson, Mr. Hadow, and four guides started from Zer-matt, and on the day folloAving accomplished the ascent. In descending the Matterhorn the rope connecting the party broke, and Michel Croz, one of the guides, Lord F. Douglas, and Messrs. Hudson and Hadow were plunged down a precipice 4,000 ft. The body of Douglas was never found; the others were buried at Zer-matt. Three days later (July 17) a successful ascent was made from Breuil by Jean Antoine Carrel and others. The next ascent was made in August, 1867, by Craufurd Grove. In July, 1868, Mr. Elliott with two guides reached the summit from the north side; and in the same summer Prof. Tyndall was the first to effect the passage of the mountain across the crest from Breuil to Zermatt. The crest of the Matterhorn is a line of snow, 580 ft. long, and 6 ft. higher toward the east than toward the west.
On the eastern face a hut lias been built at a height of 12,526 ft., and since 1868 numerous ascents have been made.
The Matterhorn, from the Eiffel.