Hello Disney people! My name is Shelby, a classmate of Kinley’s, and a fellow Disney lover. Today I will be talking about a little known Disneyland fact, the Matterhorn Climbers! In this blog we’ll take a look at the history of the Matterhorn in Disneyland as well as look at the people who climbed it!
How did the Matterhorn end up in Disneyland anyway? The ride was contrived from the 1959 Disney film “Third man on the mountain”. The film was based on the first people to summit the peak, and the films production took place on the actual Matterhorn mountain in the Swiss Alps. While filming on location Walt Disney, in awe of the mountains beauty, decided to recreate the mountain in his newly opened theme park. The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction would open in 1959 standing at 147 feet, about 1/10th the size of the actual mountain. Soon after the ride’s opening, Disney would introduce the Matterhorn Mountain Climbers!
The Matterhorn mountain climbers would begin their first accent in 1959. The climbers would typically scaled the mountain in groups of 3 and were even given names by the company, Hans, Otto, and Fritz! Climbers were required to wear bright red Lederhosen and had to climb the mountain several time throughout each day. A bigger wall climbs difficulty is measured on a scale from roughly 5.5- 5.15, with 5.5 being incredibly easy, and 5.15 being so difficult that only a handful of climbers in the world can send them. Before getting the job, Disney’s rock climbers are required to prove their efficiency on routes 5.9 or harder. There are many different routes to take up the Matterhorn Mountain, all of which range between 5.7 to 5.10. The biggest requirement of any Disney rock climber is DO NOT FALL. Even though they are clipped in, the smallest slip can terrify the park guests below!
From the start of their first assent in 1959 the climbers would be consistently seen in the park all the way into the late 1970’s, when the matterhorn attraction would undergo its first major renovation. From then on the climbers appearances would remain scarce, and began being reserved for mainly special occasions throughout the year. After a long hiatus the climbers would make their return for a limited time in 2012 in order to christen the newly renovated Matterhorn. Although the climbers have yet to return to the mountain since 2012, for those who remember them, they continue to serve as a reminder of the original magic that Disneyland had to offer.
Thanks again to Kinley for letting me write on her blog!