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Ulrich Inderbinen, 103, Swiss Mountain Guide, Is Dead
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Jun 16, 2004, 6:58 AM
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Ulrich Inderbinen, 103, Swiss Mountain Guide, Is Dead
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June 15, 2004
Ulrich Inderbinen, 103, Swiss Mountain Guide, Is Dead

GENEVA -- Ulrich Inderbinen, a legendary Swiss mountain guide who made his last ascent of the storied Matterhorn at the age of 90, has died. He was 103.

Inderbinen died in his sleep Monday at his home in the southern Swiss resort of Zermatt, his family said in a death notice published Tuesday.

The ``King of the Alps,'' as Inderbinen was known to admirers around the world, spent 70 years leading mountaineers up Switzerland's most forbidding peaks. He was 95 when he finally retired.

Even in his 90s, he regularly climbed peaks of more than 13,000 feet and estimated that he stood on the summit of the Matterhorn -- ``the most beautiful mountain in the world'' -- at least 370 times.

``I have never felt bored,'' he once said in an interview with The Associated Press. ``That is unless my clients walk too slowly.''

Inderbinen was born into a family of nine children Dec. 3, 1900, and spent most of his childhood tending animals in the mountains above Zermatt, at that time still an impoverished farming community.

He made his first ascent of the 14,700-foot Matterhorn in September 1921 with his younger sister. He got his first job as a mountain guide four years later.

``Mr. Inderbinen showed himself thoroughly safe and reliable, so I hope to climb with him more frequently,'' wrote his first customer, a German doctor.

He was extraordinarily healthy, only taking time off once -- when he was grounded for 10 days with a shoulder injury after slipping on ice. He made his first trip to the dentist at 74 and never needed glasses.

``My good health I attribute to my positive attitude to life, my enjoyment of nature and my profession. As a child I learned to be satisfied with little, to make no demands on life and always to work,'' he said in the 1996 biography ``As Old As The Century.''

``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. Among my colleagues I am known for not liking to stop before I reach my destination,'' he said.

Inderbinen said one of the best periods of his life came after his 80th birthday, when he took up competition skiing. He always won as he was the only competitor in his age category.

He received a pair of skis for his 90th birthday -- a gift he put to regular use -- and a mountain-climbing ice ax when he turned 95.

A deeply devout Roman Catholic, he fulfilled a lifelong dream by traveling to Rome to receive Pope John Paul II's blessing when he was 96.

Despite his international reputation, Inderbinen remained modest. Foreign television crews wanting to interview the living legend found he was a man of few words.

He rarely took vacations and never saw the sea. He never owned a car or bicycle.

``I am the only person in Zermatt without a telephone,'' he would say proudly. His clients knew they could find him in Zermatt's church square in the early evening.

Throughout his life he remained under the spell of the Matterhorn, Switzerland's most famous landmark.

``It's simply a fascinating mountain which was as appealing to me on my last climb as it was on my first,'' he said.

His only regret in life, he would always say, was when his family vetoed his plans to climb Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro at the age of 92.

``I've really no idea why they were all against it,'' he sighed.

A journalist once asked him if he was afraid of dying.

``Not really,'' he replied. ``When I look at the death notices in the paper I scarcely see anyone of my own age.''

The funeral will be held Thursday in Zermatt, according to the announcement in the daily Waliser Bote of Brig.


Jun 3, 2005, 4:01 AM
Post #2 of 3 (3173 views)

Registered: Jun 3, 2005
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Re: Ulrich Inderbinen, 103, Swiss Mountain Guide, Is Dead [In reply to]
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Reportedly, when interviewed after his 300 something ascent of the Matterhorn - with another guide - at age 90, Inderbinen was asked 'Sir, do you know how many times you've climbed the Matterhorn?' To which he replied: 'No, but I can tell you one zing: This was the last!'

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Jun 3, 2005, 4:29 PM
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Registered: Dec 13, 2003
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Re: Ulrich Inderbinen, 103, Swiss Mountain Guide, Is Dead [In reply to]
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fuckin' inspiring man :shock:

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