June 15, 2004 by

Ulrich Inderbinen

14 comments

Categories: Sports

For seven decades, Ulrich Inderbinen led mountaineers up Switzerland’s highest peaks.
The famed Alpine guide tackled the 14,700-foot Matterhorn when he was 21 years old. He became a mountain guide four years later. At first, business was slow and Inderbinen was forced to support himself by shoveling snow and working as a carpenter, electrician and lumberjack. But after World War II ended, his hometown of Zermatt, Switzerland became a popular destination for winter tourism, and he was able to develop a reputation for offering safe and reliable service.
Known as the “King of the Alps,” Inderbinen reached the Matterhorn’s summit 370 times. He called it “the most beautiful mountain in the world,” and scaled its peak one final time at the age of 90.
In his later years, Inderbinen also took up competitive skiing; as the only competitor in his age group, he always won. His exploits were featured in the biography, “Ulrich Inderbinen: As Old as the Century” by Heidi Lanz and Liliane De Meester.
Inderbinen died on June 14. Cause of death was not released. He was 103.

14 Responses to Ulrich Inderbinen

  1. MaryJo

    I was so impressed by the story in the Times about Ulrich Inderbinen..What an amazing man with a great philosophy of life..
    Never saw the sea, never had a car,bike or telephone…but loved life and enjoyed it to the hilt!!
    He said “Stress and haste are unknown to me.I live as I climb mountains;at a pace that is slow and deliberate but also purposeful and regular”…….
    The only thing I didn’t read was if he had children…..I was really curious to know…..
    Sincerely,
    Mary Jo…in California

  2. kelly

    I have a habit of reading obituaries and this is the best one I have ever laid my eyes on – his spirit, passion, appreciation and pleasure in nature’s gifts is something we should all aspire to. My husband and I climbed the matterhorn last year and it’s not an easy climb – we had heard about a 90 year old man who had done it and it kept me going – how insirational for all ages and all people with both good health and health struggles. You know he had to climb it when he wasn’t 100% and yet was able to put one foot in front of the other – as he say’s “slow and deliberate” -what a lesson for all of us whose tolerance for any discomfort has softened with the conveniences we take for granted. This is humanity at it’s highest form!

  3. John Goodger

    Was in Zermatt on the day of his funeral and am in awe of his accomplishments.
    Climbing the Matterhorn once is amazing – climbing it 370 is awesome – but climbing it at 90years of age does not have a suitable adjective.
    He was a trully SUPERMAN!

  4. Steven W. King

    To Urich’s family and friends, we send our condolences. My parents, Virginia and Bill King, visited Zermatt many times, meeting him in 1990 and seeing him every year for 10 years in a row. They had many meals with him and visits to his home to see his wonderful memorabilia. They purchased many of his books and posters to give as gifts to friends. I myself, have a signed posted that my parents gave me for Christmas. My folks were lucky enough to have hiked with him on occasions also. He will always live on in our hearts and memories and he was a dear man. What a hero he was. The King Family Bakersfield,CA

  5. Zermatt & Ulrich fan

    My condolences to Mr. Inderbinens’ family and many friends throughout the world. I had the opportunity (as have hundreds of visitors to Zermatt) to meet Mr. Inderbinen a few years back in Zermatt, where he chatted multi-lingually with visitors and personalized the signing of copies of the book about his life as a mountain guide – “Ulrich Inderbinen: as Old as the Century”. Thank you to Heidi & Liliane (authors) for such a treasure of a book. The book is my favorite book about Zermatt, Blatten, Herbrigg, Zum See, Zmutt, and their beautiful mountain peaks. What a very special person and mountain guide indeed!
    25JUN04-USA

  6. Mike

    I met Mr. Inderbinen twice in Zermatt in 2000 and 2002. He signed copies of his autobiography and Scrambles in the apls, Mr. Whympers book for me. I also have a signed poster of him. I was hoping to see him again in Zermatt in a couple of years. My parents met him and shook his hand about 1 1/2 years ago as he was going to church. I heard there is a statut of him now in Zermatt. Is that true?

  7. Mike

    I published the Mike 7/10/04 comment. I have seen his signed book a cpouple of times on ebay. You may want to check their every couple of months. Also, a book store in Zermatt was selling them along with a shop that had signed poster of him.

  8. kent holliday

    Urich Inderbinen was my personal guide for an ascent of the Matterhorn in July, 1967. His sense of humor, knowledge of the mountain, and encouragement kept us both going, reaching the summit by 8:30am. I have wonderful memories of that day spent with this remarkable gentleman, who replied, when I asked how many times he’d climbed the Matterhorn: “I stopped counting after 300”! Thank you again, Ulrich, for your kindness and patience and may you rest in peace. God bless. . .

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