Matterhorn, Italian Monte Cervino, French Mont Cervin, one of the best-known mountains (14,692 feet [4,478 metres]) in the Alps, betride the frontier between Switzerland and Itly, 6 miles (10 km) southwest of the village of Zermatt, Switzerland.
Though from the Swiss side it comes into sight be a secluded horn-shaped peak, it is actually the butt end of a ridge. The Swiss slope is not nearly as precipitous or as difficult to climb as the grand terraced walls of the Italian slope. The name Matterhorn means roughly “the peak in the meadows,” from the German words Matte (“meadow”) and Horn (“peak”); the Italian and French names likely allude to the antlers of a red deer (Italian: cervo; French: cerf).
After a number of attempts, mainly on the Italian side, the Matterhorn was first won from the Swiss arête on July 14, 1865, by the British explorer Edward Whymper, but four of his party fell to their deaths on the descent. Three days later it was scaled from the Italian side by a party of men from the village of Valtournanche, Italy, led by the Italian guide Giovanni Antonio Carrel. It is frequently ascended in summer, especially from Zermatt.