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Swiss close Matterhorn 150 years after 1st ascent

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How the Matterhorn Was Conquered


BERLIN (AP) — No climbers were allowed on Switzerland's Matterhorn mountain Tuesday, as authorities declared a daylong 'silence' on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top.

A group of seven mountaineers led by Briton Edward Whymper became the first to reach the top on July 14, 1865. Four members of the team died on the descent.

The solemn silence on Matterhorn — underlined with the threat of a 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,290) fine — was part of a series of events marking the anniversary, which also included a light display along the route of the original ascent.

Authorities have also taken longer-term steps to calm the crush of mountaineers trying to reach the iconic 4,478-meter (14,692-foot) Alpine peak that Switzerland shares with neighboring Italy. The Hoernlihuette base camp refuge, also reopened Tuesday, has been reduced to 140 beds from 170.

An anniversary ascent by a team of climbers from Britain, France, Italy and Switzerland — reflecting the nationalities on the first ascent — is planned for Friday.

SEE: Photos of Matterhorn mountain:

10 PHOTOS
Matterhorn Mountain closes
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Swiss close Matterhorn 150 years after 1st ascent
A photo taken on June 30, 2015 shows the village of Zermatt with the Matterhorn mountain in the background. The resort celebrates this year the 150th anniversary of the iconic Alpine mountain's first climb. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Lamps illuminate the path of the first climb on the Matterhorn mountain late on July 13, 2015 in Zermatt. The resort celebrates this year the 150th anniversary of the iconic Alpine mountain's first climb. For a long time the Matterhorn was considered too difficult to climb but on 14 July 1865, British climber Edward Whymper reached its peak (4,478 meters ), as part of a seven-member rope team. During the descent the front four-member rope team fell to their deaths over the north wall. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 30: A small stream leads to a lake near Sunnegga station as the Matterhorn stands behind on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland. Zermatt is among Switzerland's most famous winter and summer tourism destinations. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND - JULY 01: A hiker walk salong a path as what remains of the Findelgletscher glacier is visible behind under the Matterhorn on July 1, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland. Zermatt is among Switzerland's most famous winter and summer tourism destinations. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
A photo taken on July 1, 2015 in Zermatt shows the Matterhorn mountain at sunrise. The resort celebrates this year the 150th anniversary of the iconic Alpine mountain's first climb. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
A couple of tourists walk on a trail below the Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt on June 30, 2015. The resort celebrates this year the 150th anniversary of the iconic Alpine mountain's first climb. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on July 1, 2015 in Zermatt shows the Matterhorn mountain. The resort celebrates this year the 150th anniversary of the iconic Alpine mountain's first climb. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND - JULY 01: Hikers walk among snow at Schwarzsee lake under the Matterhorn on July 1, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland. Zermatt is among Switzerland's most famous winter and summer tourism destinations. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Lamps illuminate the path of the first climb on the Matterhorn mountain late on July 13, 2015 in Zermatt. The resort celebrates this year the 150th anniversary of the iconic Alpine mountain's first climb. For a long time the Matterhorn was considered too difficult to climb but on 14 July 1865, British climber Edward Whymper reached its peak (4,478 meters ), as part of a seven-member rope team. During the descent the front four-member rope team fell to their deaths over the north wall. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
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