Zermatt Honours the Unknown Dead
The “Grave of the Unknown Climber” is located in the Mountaineers’ Cemetery. It reminds us of the more than 500 deaths, which have taken place on the Matterhorn since 1865. And of the missing and dead, who could not be found or completely removed after their fall.
Alpinists often experience nasty surprises: falling rocks, avalanches, changing weather. The residual risks of climbing are always there – and for many, it ends in death. Those who have fallen in the Matterhorn are fragmented through the force of falling on the exposed rock ledges. The full recovery of the deceased is often not possible. Decades later, the fragments of bodies are often found at the foot of the Matterhorn, and these cannot be correctly assigned to the deceased. Until today, there are 27 climbers still missing.
Respectful caring for the dead
The Zermatt mountain guide Harry Lauber has often found fragments at the basement of the north face of the Matterhorn. He has assembeld them and made it his responsibility to make this resting place. “Those who are killed in an accident deserve respectful treatment and a place, where their remains can rest in peace,” he emphasises. The grave reminds us of them with words in German, English, French and Italian. The grave has been established in summer 2015 for the 150th anniversary of the first ascent on the Matterhorn in 1865.