BERLIN (AP) — No climbers were allowed on Switzerland's Matterhorn mountain Tuesday, as authorities declared a daylong 'silence' on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top.
A group of seven mountaineers led by Briton Edward Whymper became the first to scale the peak on July 14, 1865. Four members of the team died on the descent.
The solemn silence on the Matterhorn — underlined with the threat of a 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,290) fine — was part of a series of events marking the anniversary, which also included a light display along the route of the original ascent.
Authorities have also taken longer-term steps to calm the crush of mountaineers trying to reach the iconic 4,478-meter (14,692-foot) Alpine peak that Switzerland shares with neighboring Italy. The Hoernlihuette base camp refuge, also reopened Tuesday, has been reduced to 140 beds from 170.
An anniversary ascent by a team of climbers from Britain, France, Italy and Switzerland — reflecting the nationalities on the first ascent — is planned for Friday.