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Hotel Riffelberg: Exhibition of mountain guide portraits

15.03.2013

In Zermatt, there's tradition at nearly every turn. The Hotel Riffelberg (2,600 m) has sat enthroned over the village on the Gornergrat since 1855. Old traditions are surfacing again here in the form of painted portraits of famous Zermatt mountain guides.

As a living witness, the Hotel Riffelberg is part of the golden age of alpinism. Mountain climbing and hotel history were written here. Painted portraits of mountain guides from then to now are a testimony to this tradition.  A small inn was built on the Riffelberg in 1854 under Pastor Joseph Ruden's leadership. The hotel on the Riffelberg was the second hotel ever in Zermatt and opened even before the Gornergrat Bahn was built. Construction of the 18-bed building was difficult and costly, since aside from austere beauty and sublime views, there was little to be found at this altitude. The most famous mountain climbers in the world lodged at the "Riffelhaus." In 1855, for example, the summit of the highest mountain in Switzerland, Dufourspitze (4,635 m), was reached for the first time from here.

Today, the Hotel Restaurant Riffelberg honours the tradition, hospitality and mountain guiding history of this house. It shows that famous Zermatt mountain guides have been leading their guests up to the surrounding mountaintops for generations - and continue to do so. The Burgergemeinde (Bourgeoisie of Zermatt), which owns the hotel, commissioned a series of portraits from graphic designer, illustrator and artist Tino Steinemann. In his paintings, he allows the images of mountain guides to shine forth in lively colours thanks to his sensitive brushwork.

For example, you can view the striking portrait of Matthäus Zumtaugwald, the mountain guide who led his guests up Dufourspitze for the first ascent on 1 August 1855 and who was also part of the first ascent at Dom, Täschhorn and Rimpfischhorn. Another portrait depicts Rudolf Taugwalder (1867-1953) who often travelled abroad as a mountain guide, such as in Himalaya expeditions, in the Caucasus or in Peru.  A portrait of the first female mountain guide and first female president of the mountain guide association of Zermatt, Bettina Sulliger-Perren, is also on display - along with many others. The portraits are not for sale.

Vernissage: Saturday, 23 March 2013, 11:00 a.m.
Length of exhibition: 23 March until further notice


Sulliger-Perren Bettina

Taugwalder Rudolf

Zermatt Tourismus | Tel +41 27 966 81 00 | info@zermatt.ch