Hervé Barmasse Solos All Six Ridges of the Matterhorn

Earlier this March, Hervé Barmasse became the first alpinist to solo all the Matterhorn’s six ridges by completing the difficult de Amicis route. The other ridges were the Hornli, the Zmutt, the Furggen, the Deffeyes, and the Cresta del Leone.

Previously, the Italian climber made first solo ascents and forged new routes on mountains such as Cerro Piergiorgio and Cerro San Lorenzo in Patagonia, as well as Mont Blanc in the Alps and Beka Brakai Chhok in Pakistan. However, it is the Matterhorn that holds a special place in his heart. His father introduced him to it, and for generations, his family has been mountain guides in the area. 

The Matterhorn. Photo: Pixabay


His quest for all six ridges dates back to 2002. His inspiration came from Luigi Carrel, the first man to climb all six (not solo) in 1942. Barmasse’s own father also climbed them all, accompanied by guides. 

On the summit of the Matterhorn. Photo: Herve Barmasse


The Matterhorn is generally classed as fairly difficult but manageable for experienced climbers. Still, many have died in recent years, and the Via De Amicis is known to be particularly difficult and in need of extra care. It consists of six pitches from 30 to 50m long and is graded 6A+.

This route is infrequently climbed because of its crumbly rock and technical sections. “There was only one stretch, on the famous Crétier passage, where I used the rope for a few metres,” said Barmasse. “[But] in the event of a fall, it was anyway not certain that it would spare me from more serious consequences.” The improvisation worked, and by late afternoon, he was back in town having a celebratory beer with his family.