GENEVA – Two Japanese climbers have been confirmed dead after they were caught in bad weather while descending the Matterhorn in the southern Swiss Alps, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Police in the Valais canton said Tuesday they identified the two Japanese men, both in their 60s, but the Japanese ministry said it will withhold their names in the absence of consent from their families.
The two mountaineers had on Saturday scaled the 4,478-meter Matterhorn, whose pyramidal shape makes it one of the world’s most recognizable mountains.
During their descent, they were caught off guard by bad weather and tried to return to the Solvay hut, which lies at 4,003 meters, but were unsuccessful, police in Valais canton said.
A Polish mountaineer who glimpsed one of the climbers on Sunday raised the alarm but the mountain rescue service was unable to reach the site until Monday due to bad weather.
The Matterhorn, which lies on the border of Switzerland and Italy, is one of the highest peaks in Europe and attracts around 3,000 climbers per year.
Since its was first ascended in 1865, some 500 climbers have lost their lives trying to get to the top.