Swiss climber sets Matterhorn record

Dani Arnold breaks Ueli Steck's record by ten minutes | Christian Gisi

A century and a half after the first ascent of the Matterhorn, Swiss climber Dani Arnold has summited its north face in a new record time of one hour, 46 minutes. 

This content was published on April 30, 2015
Summiting the peak in record time | Christian Gisi

Arnold’s record-setting climb was completed on April 22 – made public on Thursday – and beat the existing record by fellow Swiss Ueli Steck by ten minutes, according to Arnold’s sponsor Mammut. 

“I didn't feel well at all initially," Arnold said after the climb, in a press release. "I almost felt sick and thought about giving up."

However, he soon fell into a “rhythm” and summited by climbing along the so-called Schmid route, first completed by brothers Franz and Toni Schmid in 1931. 

Alpinists usually need eight to nine hours to climb the 1100-metre face via this route. 

2015 marks 150 years since the first ascent of the Matterhorn in July 1865 by Englishman Edward Whymper. This year will be marked by celebrations.

Route of the record climb | Rainer Eder

Previously, Arnold, a 31-year-old mountain guide from canton Uri in central Switzerland, broke Steck’s speed record up the Eiger. He followed the notorious Heckmair route, involving a vertical ascent of 1,800 metres in two hours, 28 minutes. That pruned nearly 20 minutes off Steck’s 2008 record. 

Arnold has made a name for himself by climbing extremely difficult “mixed” routes in Switzerland. These are climbs that involve using ice axes and crampons to latch onto very small rock holds as well as snow and ice.

In 2010 he and fellow Swiss climbers Stephan Siegrist and Thomas Senf made the first winter ascent of Torre Egger in Patagonia.

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