A really sad bit of news was recently brought to my attention. A very close and old friend of mine, a boy who I had studied with, Eric-Jan passed away in a climbing accident. Last Saturday, Eric-Jan and Andy, one of his best friends, made a successful climb to the top of the Matterhorn in Switzerland. This mountain has been on Eric-Jan's wish list for a long time. During the descent, fate struck. Half way down, the boys were preparing for a long abseil. Eric-Jan went first. He attached his safety ropes to a metal pin in a concrete block in the wall of the mountain. This concrete block then broke loose and fell down, taking Eric-Jan with it.
The Matterhorn (German), Monte Cervino (Italian) or Mont Cervin (French), is a mountain in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Its summit is 4,478 meters (14,690 ft) high, making it one of the highest peaks in the Alps. The Matterhorn is one of the deadliest peaks in the Alps having claimed over a 1000 lives since 1865, when it was first climbed by Edward Whymper. The Matterhorn has become an iconic emblem of the Swiss Alps and the Alps in general.
Like us, Eric was an ardent adventure enthusiast and an amateur mountaineer. The reality is still sinking in and is a harsh reminder of the dangers associated with this sport .
With climbing being one of the fastest growing recreational sports in India, millions of amateur trekking and climbing enthusiasts are exploring the adrenaline rush of this mentally and physically stimulating sport. Thousand's of certified Mountaineers are graduating from the 4 premium National Mountaineering Institutes in India annually and are exploring the largest and youngest mountain range in the world, standing sentinel across the North of our country.