Zermatt, Switzerland, is a quaint, fairytale village wreathed in the majestic Swiss Alps and boasting a picturesque beauty befitting a post-card. It also serves as a launching point for adventurous travelers daring to tackle one of the world's most famous and challenging mountains - the Matterhorn.
The Matterhorn is nearly 14,000 feet tall, making it easily one of the highest peaks in the Alps, and was one of the last alpine mountains to be conquered in 1865. The challenge presented by the pyramid-like mountain is significant.
Explorers have thoroughly mapped the mountain's face, providing a number of different paths to the summit ranging from linear fixed rope courses to more difficult freestyle paths. Due to the extreme height of the mountain, the average ascent is typically split among two days, with the first consisting of a lengthy hike to a nearby mountain lodge, and the second consisting of an early morning climb allowing climbers to reach the peak and return before the afternoon clouds and storms roll in, according to GoEurope.com.
The mountain is considered to be a difficult climb for even experienced climbers, leaving analysts to advise that anyone attempting to reach the summit be in excellent physical condition and have undergone a significant amount of training before attempting the climb.