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Peter Knubel

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Peter Knubel
Peter Knubel.jpg
Personal information
St. Niklaus, Switzerland
St. Niklaus, Switzerland
OccupationMountain guide
Climbing career
Type of climbermountaineering

Peter Knubel (1832 – 6 April 1919) was a Swiss mountain guide. He was born in 1832,[1][2] in St. Niklaus, in the Canton of Valais, and died on April 6, 1919 in the same place. He was the first climber of Europe's highest peak Mount Elbrus.


The Knubels are a large family of guides. Their ancestor Niklaus Peter, originally from Gressoney-La-Trinité in the Valle d'Aosta, had settled in St. Niklaus in the first half of the XVIIIth century.[3] Peter was the eldest of five brothers, three of whom, Niklaus, Johann and Peter-Josef died on September 6, 1877 with their clients WA Lewis and NH Paterson, swept away by a fall from a ledge on the summit ridge of the Lyskamm.[4] He had four sons, Solomon who was swept away by an avalanche at the Wetterhorn in 1902, Cesar, Rudolf, and the famous Joseph Knubel. He also made many races with his brother-in-law Johann Petrus, who was killed on July 19, 1882 at the Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey with the English biologist Francis Maitland Balfour.[5].


The second half of the XIX th century was the golden age of the conquest of the Alps, during which almost all the peaks were climbed, mostly by British accompanied by Swiss guides, including those of Saint-Nicolas Josef Marie Lochmatter (de) (1833 - 1882), Peter Knubel, his cousin Josef Imboden (1840 - 1925) and Alois Pollinger (1844 - 1910).

On July 24 and 25, 1868, Peter Knubel and Josef Marie Lochmatter with their client the Reverend Julius Marshall Elliot made the sixth ascent of the Matterhorn, repeating for the first time the Hörnli ridge, route of the dramatic first ascent of Whymper and his companions in 1865 (the other climbs having been made by the Lion ridge on the Italian side).

In 1868 he participated in the construction of the first Matterhorn hut, made the first from the Trifti ridge to the Breithorn (September 15, 1869 with R. Fowler and C. Ruppen. In 1874, he was the first Swiss guide of an expedition in the Caucasus, which made the first ascent of the highest point of Elbrus (leading the English Horace Walker and Frederick Gardiner with the Balkar guide Akhia Sottaiev). In 1881 he made an attempt at the Giant's tooth with the guide Johann Petrus. Three. of his brothers died in Lyskamm with their two clients in 1877.

In the Ecrins massif he participated in the first ascent of the Rouies on June 18, 1873 and Roche Faurio on June 21, 1873 with T. Cox, F. Gardiner, R. and WM Pendlebury, C. Taylor and Guides Hans and Peter Baumann, and Josef Marie Lochmatter.

The August 18, 1873, with Marco Maglionini, Albert de Rothschild and guides Nicolas Knubel and Édouard Cupelin and 3 porters, he made the first ascent of the Corno Nero (Schwarzhorn) to Monte Rosa.


  • Christian Imboden, Berge: Beruf, Berufung, Schicksal. Die St. Niklauser Bergführer als Wegbereiter des internationalen Alpinismus , Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013 (ISBN 3-907624-48-3 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png. ) , "The High Mountain Guide" pp. 81-83, “First climbs” pp. 110-142
  • Carus Dunlop Cunningham and Sir William de Wiveleslie Abney, The pioneers of the Alps , Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1887
  • John Percy Farrar, Historical documents IV: The Führerbücher of Peter Knubel. Reprinted from 'The Alpine Journal', February 1918. [With plates and illustrations, including portraits.] , 1918
  • Charles Gos, Propos d'un alpiniste , Payot & cie, 1922 “Peter Knubel (1832-1917)”, pp. 176-177


  1. Christian Imboden, Berge: Beruf, Berufung, Schicksal. Die St. Niklauser Bergführer als Wegbereiter des internationalen Alpinismus, Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013 ISBN 3-907624-48-3 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png., pp. 81, 166
  2. J. Ruppen, V. Summermatter, St. Niklaus: Familienstatistik und Chronik der Gemeindeverwaltung St. Niklaus, Saint-Nicolas, 1975, Familienstatistik 6
  3.  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
  4. Charles Gos (1940). "Le mangeur d'hommes". Tragédies alpestres. Les Éditions de France. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png, pp. 129-146
  5. Charles Gos (1940). "Des morts à l'aiguille de Péteret". Tragédies alpestres. Les Éditions de France. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png, pp. 189-204

Others articles of the Topic Switzerland : Frewitt, Bellevue Group AG, Metaltex, Axalp Technologies AG, Nicaragua–Switzerland relations, FlyBAIR, ADIA

Category:1832 births Category:1916 deaths Category:Swiss mountain climbers

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