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Switzerland’s Matterhorn mountain 'will not be closed'

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Switzerland’s Matterhorn mountain 'will not be closed'
File photo: Depositphotos
10:14 CEST+02:00
Local authorities in the Swiss resort of Zermatt have dismissed calls for the Matterhorn to be closed after a mountain guide said the peak was too dangerous.

“Only the commune of Zermatt can decide if a closure [of the Matterhorn] will take place,” said commune president Romy Biner-Hauser in comments made to Swiss regional daily Walliser Bote.

“We don’t understand the media hype that has been created out of the statements of a number of individuals,” she added.

READ ALSO: 'Too dangerous' - calls for Switzerland' Matterhorn to be closed to climbers

The comments from the Zermatt president come in the wake of recent calls from an anonymous mountain guide for the 4,478-metre peak to be closed because it is “too dangerous” and “too unstable” to be climbed.

Two climbers died on the Matterhorn recently because of a rock fall and a geologist with the Swiss Alpine Club told Swiss media that hot conditions were “very probably partly responsible for the accident”.

In total, the mountain has claimed six lives this year.

'Absurd'

But Zermatt’s local council, local tourism authorities and the commune’s mountain guiding association have all come out against the idea of a closure.

Mountain guide Benedikt Perren described the idea of closing the mountain as “absurd”. He said climbers knew they were undertaking “a high-risk sport” but that all attempts were made to “minimize and reduce risks”.

Speaking to Swiss tabloid Blick, the guide added that no services were offered to climbers when conditions were too risky and that all decisions to offer guided services on the mountain were based on years of experience with the Matterhorn.

“Closing the mountain would spell an end to the principle of personal responsibility,” Perren said.

“The Matterhorn would either be ‘open’ or ‘closed’, although the mountain being ‘open’ would be no guarantee of safety,” he said.

The Matterhorn was closed during the extremely hot summer of 2003 after a huge rock slide, but this was not a precautionary measure.

READ ALSO: How heatwaves are making the Swiss Alps more dangerous

 
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