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Matterhorn

Photo © AC Frieden

Travel Guide Europe The Alps Matterhorn

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Introduction

The Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a huge and near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Furggen, Leone, and Zmutt ridges. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt, in the canton of Valais, to the northeast and the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Just east of the Matterhorn is Theodul Pass, the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides, and a trade route since the Roman Era.

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Geography

The Matterhorn has a pyramidal shape with four faces nearly facing the four compass points. Three of them (north, east and west) are on the Swiss side of the border and watershed (Mattertal valley) and one of them (south) is on the Italian side of the border (Valtournenche valley). The north face overlooks the Ober Gabelhorn across the Zmutt Glacier and valley (above Zermatt), the east face overlooks the Gorner Glacier system between the Gornergrat and Monte Rosa across the Theodul Pass, the west face overlooks the upper basin of the Zmutt Glacier between the Dent Blanche and the Dent d'Hérens and the south face fronts the resort town of Breuil-Cervinia and overlooks a good portion of the Valtournenche. The Matterhorn does not form a perfect square pyramid, as the north and south faces are wider than the west and east faces. Moreover, the latter faces do not actually meet on the summit but are connected by a 100-metre-long horizontal west–east ridge between the north and south faces.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 9:37 on May 1, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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