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Mountain High

March 07, 1993

Your story ("Hanging on for Dear Life Up the Matterhorn," Feb. 14) was an excellent piece of work. This aging mountaineer was amazed to learn how much it costs to climb a famous peak in this day and age. Half a century ago, college students like myself used to hike all the way in from Brig to Zermatt to conserve funds for the actual ascent.

A capable Alpine porter was willing to accompany my climbing buddy and me to the summit of the Matterhorn for $12 each. What we faced was an upward three-hour scramble in darkness by the light of flickering candle lanterns. When we finally reached the rocky ridge that forms the top of the peak at about 6 a.m., our jolly porter shared a jug of Swiss cognac with us.

Looking back over a lifetime of traveling, my own Matterhorn adventure still stands out as the best bargain I ever found. Believe it or not, in July of 1938, that mountain cost less than $35 to climb.

JOHN HART

Woodland Hills

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