Matthias Zurbriggen

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Matthias Zurbriggen
Matthias Zurbriggen, Monte Moro Pass, (Switzerland)

Matthias Zurbriggen (15 May 1856 in Saas-Fee – 21 June 1917 in Geneva) was a Swiss mountaineer, one of the great 19th-century alpinists and mountain guides. He climbed throughout the Alps, and also the Andes, the Himalayas and New Zealand. He made a considerable number of first ascents, the best known of which is Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas and outside of Asia, which he climbed alone on 14 January 1897, during an expedition led by Edward FitzGerald. During the same expedition Zurbriggen also made the first ascent of Tupungato with the Englishman Stuart Vines.[1]

The Zurbriggen Ridge on Aoraki/Mount Cook in New Zealand is named after him. On 14 March 1895, Zurbriggen made the first ascent of the ridge and in the process made the second ascent of the mountain and the first solo ascent. He missed the honour of claiming the first ascent of Mount Cook, which was achieved on Christmas Day 1894 by a party of New Zealanders determined to prevent the first ascent being credited to a foreigner.

Later in life, his fortune declined. He lived his last decade as a vagrant in his home country, and was found hanged in Geneva in 1917, an apparent suicide.[2]


  1. ^ FitzGerald, Edward. The Highest Andes. Methuen & Co., 1899
  2. ^ Stettler, Peter (January 2004). "Matthias Zurbriggen 1856–1917" (PDF). Les Alpes: 26–28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2011.