Skier Falls 1,000m to his Death on the Matterhorn

A 34-year-old Italian died while attempting to ski down the East Face of the Matterhorn yesterday morning.

The victim was Luca Bernini, a climber and instructor at the Italian Alpine Club (CAI), Ansa news reported. Bernini climbed with another partner up to 4,050m. (The summit is 4,478m.) Then they started skiing down until Bernini lost his balance and plunged nearly 1,000m down the face.

The surviving skier called the rescue services, but the team airlifted to the base of the face by Air Zermatt could only confirm the skier’s death.

The East Face of the Matterhorn, in front of Zermatt, Switzerland, is the most photographed side of the mountain. Steep and smooth, it is rarely doable on skis in winter not only because of its steepness but because the snow compacts into hard ice. Even in the right conditions, such as late spring this year, it is a challenge only for highly skilled extreme skiers ready to tackle 50˚-60º slopes.

As noted in Snowbrains, professional skiers and Freeride World Tour (FWT) champions Nadine Wallner and Arianna Tricomi skied the face on May 26. They reported some tricky snow conditions on the upper part but otherwise a good descent nearly back to Zermatt. They also posted an amazing set of pictures, below.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.