The Dufourspitze at height of 4,634 meters, is the highest peak in the Swiss Alps. The summit lies in the Monte Rosa massif, which has ten 4000 meter summits, Dufourspitze, Grenzgipfel, Ludwigshohe, Nordend, Parrotspitze, Schwarzhorn, Signalkuppe, Vincent Pyramid, and Zumsteinspitze. Depending on how they are counted and the highest peak is the Dufourspitze.
The Dufour peak is the highest summit in Switzerland and one of the ten main summits of the Monte Rosa massif. Its rival is the Dom, the highest mountain located entirely within Swiss territory. The 150th anniversary of the first ascent was celebrated in 2005: Federal Councilor Joseph Deiss, together with Zermatt mountain guides who were descendants of the first conquerors of the mountain, climbed from the old Monte Rosa cabin to the peak in a seven hour tour. There he met up with the Italian minister of agriculture, Giovanni Alemanno.
Until the 1940s, the peak was also commonly called the Gornerhorn or Hochste Spitze. Once again, it was the Austrian general and topographer Ludwig von Welden who named the summit. Thanks to the accomplishments of General Dufour in the field of cartography, the Federal Council decided in 1863, on the request of leading mountaineers and members of the SAC or Swiss Alpine Club, to rename the mountain to Dufourspitze.
The first ascent took place on August 1st 1855 by a rope team led by Charles Hudson. Hudson was subsequently a member of the team that completed the first ascent of the Matterhorn, in 1865 and one of the four climbers who fell l to their deaths during the descent. On the Dufourspitze, Hudson was accompanied by John Birkbeck, Edward J.W. Stephenson and the brothers Chrisotpher and James G. Smyth. One of the great achievements, but by no means the only one, of General Guillame Henri Dufour was his Dufour map. Made between 1845 and 1865, it won worldwide recognition and the highest honors at the Paris world fair in 1855. Dufour achieved eminence during the Sonderbund civil war of 1847, the last war fought on Swiss soil, which lasted only 27 days, by his adherence to humanitarian principles in the conduct of warfare. Dufour was a co-founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
If mountaineers or hikers plan on going up this summit, you can try visiting Zermatlantis or the Matterhorn museum where they have relief and photographs and also mountaineer’s cemetery. At Gornergrat, hikers may try going up the Sonnenweg trail or hike from Rotenboden to Riffelberg. The hike up Dufourspitze is a multi-day trip and in order to ascent, hikers must have a mountain guide. Depending on fitness levels, it is suitable for single or multiple ascents in the Monte Rosa massif.