July 14 is usually a day for the French, but this year the Swiss will join in with celebrations of their own. On that day 150 years ago, British climber Edward Whymper and his expedition team were the first to reach the peak of the Matterhorn at 4,478 meters. Throughout this anniversary year the remarkable feat will be celebrated with a variety of mountaineering experiences, classic alpine traditions and plenty of festivity in Zermatt and surrounding villages. Read more here to plan your trip, then pick up some of these fascinating books on the subject.
Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps. Fleming spins lively tales of man against nature in this entertaining history of the eccentrics, adventurers and publicity-hounds who sought to conquer the Alps, including Whymper and his first ascent of the Matterhorn (where four of the seven-man team perished).
Scrambles Amongst the Alps. A classic, Edward Wymper's vivid account of Victorian-era mountaineering captures the geography, beauty and allure of the Alps. The intrepid Whymper made the first ascents of several important peaks in the Andes and the Alps, including the Matterhorn.
The Alps, A Cultural History. Andrew Beattie explores the turbulent past and vibrant present of the Alps, where early pioneers of tourism, mountaineering and scientific research, along with the enduring legacies of historical regimes from the Romans to the Nazis, have each left their mark.
Tour of the Matterhorn. A compact guide to the eight- to ten-day hike around the Matterhorn, as well as shorter variants and peak ascents. With color and black-and-white photos, maps and elevations.
Zermatt Hiking Map. Scaled at 1:50,000, this Swiss-produced map of their famous mountaineering and skiing area is a convenient size (30 x 21 inches) and shows great relief detail. Laminated for use in the field.