Open Air Cinema Riffelalp

First Everest climbers on the Riffelalp

Story 57

In 1957, the Alpine Club London celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Riffelalp Resort. Celebrations that attracted famous mountaineers, many guests and the press to Zermatt and are still considered an important part of the history of the hotel and the Alpine region today.  

Cristina straightened her hair and smoothed her skirt. In this story, she is one of the maids welcoming guests at the Riffelalp Resort that weekend in 1957. It was still early when the staff got ready that August morning.  

From the roof of the world to the Riffelalp 

Several hundred climbers were invited to the 100th anniversary celebration of the Alpine Club London. But the highlight for Cristina was the visit of Sir Edmund Hillary. Four years earlier, the New Zealand mountaineer had made the first ascent of Mount Everest. When he arrived, Cristina became nervous. Hillary was accompanied by Tenzing Norgay and George Band, who had accompanied him on his expedition to the highest mountain in the world. She could hardly believe that Hillary was standing right in front of her and greeted her kindly.  

A festival with proud traditions 

The festivities took place from 4 to 6 August 1957 and included various events and activities. A highlight was certainly meeting the first people to climb Everest, which was an unforgettable experience for many of the guests and not only Cristina.  

“The Riffelalp, that hospitable haven high up in the Alps, has been celebrating its centenary in a manner befitting its proud traditions, with some of the most illustrious mountaineers in the world among its guests,” wrote “The Guardian” on 6 August 1957. 

In addition to meeting the first people to climb Everest, there were also a number of sporting activities, including an Alpine competition, a hike and a ski race. Cultural events such as concerts and theatre performances also took place. Celebrations that the guests, as well as Cristina and the rest of the staff of the Riffelalp Resort, will surely remember.  

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