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Alps' most famous living legend turns 100

Zermatt's famous son, Ulrich Inderbinen, turns 100 Keystone

The resort of Zermatt has been celebrating the 100th birthday of one of its best-known citizens, Ulrich Inderbinen. Dubbed by some "King of the Alps", Inderbinen has won international acclaim as a mountain guide.

This content was published on December 2, 2000 - 18:48

Zermatt's famous son made his last ascent of the famous Matterhorn peak 10 years ago and only stopped work as a guide when he turned 95.

Inderbinen estimated that he stood on the summit of the 4,477-meter-high Matterhorn - "the most beautiful mountain in the world" - at least 370 times. Even in his 90s, he regularly climbed peaks of 4,000 metres.

"I have no special wishes and I don't want for anything," he told Swiss television as he made his way to the community hall where a special exhibition has been mounted in his honour. "A happy, healthy life is all you need."

On December 3 1900, Inderbinen was born into a family of nine children. He first climbed the Matterhorn in 1921 with his younger sister. Four years later, he became a mountain guide.

Proving that age is no barrier, Inderbinen took up skiing at the age of 80. He always won skiing competitions as he was the only competitor in his age category.

When he turned 90, he was given a pair of skis, and for his 95th birthday, he was presented with a mountain-climbing ice axe.

The mountain man has remained under the spell of the Matterhorn, one of Switzerland's most famous landmarks.

"It's simply a fascinating mountain which was as appealing to me on my last climb as it was on my first," he wrote in his 1996 biography, "As old as the Century".

swissinfo with agencies

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