Liskamm

The Liskamm is almost 50 m higher than the Matterhorn and has a very long ridge. The mountain is nicknamed the “Man-eater” because in former days many climbers fell to their deaths from the snow cornices along the ridge. Locals attributed the numerous accidents to the forces of darkness.

Description

Height
4,527 m

First ascent
19 August 1861

First climbed by
William Edward Hall, Jean-Pierre Cachat, Peter Perren, Josef-Marie Perren, J.F. Hardy, J.A. Hudson, C.H. Pilkington, A.C. Ramsay, T. Rennison, F. Sibson, R.M. Stephenson, Franz Josef Lochmatter, Karl Herr and Stefan Zumtaugwald

Tips for visitors

  • Gornergrat

Tips for hikers

  • Gornergrat: Rotenboten – Riffelberg hike
  • Gornergrat: hike to the Monte Rosa hut (glacier trek, mountain guide necessary)

Liskamm: tips for mountaineers

  • Mountain guide necessary
  • Multi-day trip
  • Ideal ridge climb, length approx. 2.5 km
  • East and wet summits
  • North face with interesting ice cliffs, ascents of 700 to 1,300 m
  • Medium-difficulty ridge traverse

Long and difficult ascents
The Liskamm (often written as Lyskamm) is located to the west of the Monte Rosa group. The east summit (4,527 m) is the highest point of the ridge, which is about 2.5 km long and crowns the ice-covered north-east face, nearly 1,000 m high. Ridge ascents are long and dangerous as the ridge has a tendency to form cornices – even though, technically speaking, the climbs are not particularly difficult.

Origin of name
Until the 1940s, the Liskamm still bore names such as Monte Rosa, Monte Rosa summit, small Monte Rosa and Rosenhorn. Another name that the mountain still carries today is “Silberbast”. “Silber” means “silver”, and “Bast” designates the wooden pack-saddle that pack-mules carried when transporting goods. This saddle has raised parts at the front and back, rather like the Liskamm with its two summits. This name derives from the imagination of Canon Berchtold and was readily adopted by the Zermatt guides. Nevertheless, the name “Liskamm” suggested by Freiherr (Baron) Ludwig von Welden became established. The Lys is a river, 40 km long, which rises from the Italian side of the glacial arms of the Liskamm.

Story: the man-eater
Due to lack of knowledge about the danger of cornices, many tragedies occurred on the Liskamm in the 19th century. Rope teams were much too large, and as they walked across deposits of snow that had built up on crests and outcrops, these collapsed under the weight. But the superstition of the local people attributed the frequent accidents to the dark forces of the Liskamm. On 6 September 1877, for example, a single cornice fracture sent three brothers to their deaths: Niklaus, Johann and Peter-Josef from the well-known Knubel mountain guide family from St. Niklaus.

Film star
Arnold Franck, the German director and pioneer of mountain films, shot his first mountain film on the Liskamm in 1921: “Im Kampf mit dem Berge” (“The fight with the mountain”), with Hannes Schneider and Ilse Rohde as the leading actors. Behind the camera was Sepp Allgeier, Franck’s first cameraman, who also filmed “Der Kampf ums Matterhorn” (“Fight for the Matterhorn”) in 1928.

Map

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