Championships preparation at Matterhorn

On July 14, 1865, Englishman Edward Whymper climbed to the summit of the Matterhorn (4478 m), the first person to accomplish this feat. The Matterhorn was one of the last great Alpine peaks to be climbed and its first ascent marked the end of the golden age of alpinism.

Even in his wildest dreams he would never have imagined that this peak would go down in Swiss history as the country's most photographed landmark or conquer the entire world in its chocolate manifestation. The history of the Matterhorn has produced countless tragedies and legends, not least because of the virtually insurmountable North Wall.

The lodge

One other milestone witnessed by the “Höra” (the locals’ pet name for their mountain) was the construction of the Hörnlihütte, or Hörnli lodge, in 1880. Situated 3260 m above sea level, it has since served countless mountaineers as base camp for a Matterhorn ascent. Marking the 150th anniversary of the conquest of the Matterhorn, the Hörnli lodge is being remodeled and expanded in line with current standards of environmental compatibility, safety, hygiene and functionality under the banner of sustainability. The costs of the renovation and expansion project are put at approx. CHF 8 million.

Switzerland’s trade association for tilers and pavers (SPV) was given the go-ahead to carry out the tiling work on the Hörnli lodge as part of its trainee development program. The 13 best tiler apprentices in their year spent 12 days at the Hörnli lodge in preparation for the upcoming SwissSkills vocational championships. In addition to the demands of the job, candidates faced the added challenges of power cuts, trying to sleep at cold nighttime temperatures, snow in August, long working days, and no showers.

To ensure that the lodge can structurally withstand the trials of the next 100 years, all sanitary units were sealed with Sikalastic®-295 Quick. Exposed to somewhat higher volumes of human traffic, the kitchen was treated with Sika® Sealmat l. In the entrance area, the Onsernone granite was laid using ultra-low-emission SikaCeram®-254 Fibre rapid. The special bonding agents it contains ensured high water-binding capacity and fast trafficability even at Alpine temperatures. The budding tilers did an outstanding job at an extraordinary construction site.

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