The first mountaineering film in history?

The story of a find

The first mountaineering film in history?

In 1953, in an old cabinet of a former photographer from Zermatt, an early mountaineering film was found. It was a silent film from the first era showing the ascent of the Matterhorn by a group of guides through the Hornli ridge. The film had no titles or credits and, at the time, it was attributed to the American Frederick Burlingham and dated 1901 in what surely was an attempt to identify it as the first mountaineering film in history. The story of the finding was also dressed with a certain aura of legend and mystery since it was told that the original copy of the film had been lost forever in a shipwreck in the Atlantic and that this was the only print copy that left.

The film was re-titled as Cervin 1901 or Cervino 1901, and in 2014, after being restored again, it was shown in several international film festivals, where it was presented as the first mountaineering film in history. But the truth is that all this story, that somehow has been sustained throughout this time, is full of inaccuracies...



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