Matthias Zurbriggen

Matthias Zurbriggen (15 May 1856 in Saas-Fee – 21 June 1917 in Geneva) was a Swiss mountaineer. He climbed throughout the Alps, the Andes, the Himalayas and New Zealand.

Matthias Zurbriggen
Matthias Zurbriggen in the Tasman Valley.jpg
Matthias Zurbriggen

(1856-05-15)May 15, 1856
DiedJune 21, 1917(1917-06-21) (aged 61)
Known forFirst ascent of Aconcagua and Tupungato
Matthias Zurbriggen, Monte Moro Pass, (Switzerland)


He made many first ascents, the best known of which is Aconcagua, the highest peak 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 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, the second ascent of the mountain and its first solo ascent. He missed the honour of claiming the first ascent of Mount Cook, which was achieved a few months earlier, on Christmas Day 1894 by a party of New Zealanders who were determined to prevent the first ascent being credited to a foreigner.

Personal lifeEdit

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.