22 Summits Stories

The flash fire from the Dom

One of Zermatt's most beautiful light phenomena is the alpenglow of the Mischabel. The third largest mountain massif in the Alps lies between the Mattertal and the Saastal. The spectacle can be easily observed from the morning sun rooms of the 22 SUMMITS at dusk. Alpenglow, that is the illuminated mountains during sunset: Täschhorn (4491m), Dom (4545m) and Lenzspitze (4294m) glow as if from within. With so much magic, it is hardly surprising that the rich world of Valais legends has produced a story to go with the shining trident. The meaning of "Mischabel" has two variants: Valais German from "Mischtgabla", meaning "pitchfork", or from Arabic "Mudjabal", meaning "mountain range". It is assumed that in the 10th century Arab tribes came over the passes and immortalised themselves in field and mountain names.

The Dom is the highest mountain in Switzerland that lies entirely on national soil. It was first climbed on 11 September 1858 by J. Llewellyn Davies and the local mountain guides Johann Zumtaugwald, Johann Kronig and Hieronymous Brantschen. The first ski ascent was made on 18 July 1917 by the British Sir Arnold Lunn with guide Joseph Knubel, the first ascent of the Eiger north-east face. According to legend, an unknown mountaineer had already climbed the dome before these alpine achievements. He took a bale of straw with him and promised to set it on fire if he reached the top, so the story goes. Three days later, a straw fire was seen burning on the summit. But the foreign climber was never seen again.

Our reading tip

"Zermatter Sagen und Legenden" the book by Karl Lehner and many other interesting books can be found in our in-house library on the first floor in 22 SUMMITS.
Dom & Täschhorn - Crown of the Mischabel. Daniel Anker, Caroline Fink, Marco Volken. German. AS Verlag, ISBN 978-3-9091-1194-7 / Zermatt sagas and legends by Karl Lehner. Mengis Verlag, 1982.