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Jamaican conquers iconic Swiss mountain

Wednesday, August 29, 2012    

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JAMAICAN climber Darren Jordon achieved another mountaineering landmark when he successfully summited the Matterhorn, Switzerland’s iconic peak last week.

At 14,690 feet (4,478 metres), the Matterhorn is one of Europe’s most recognised landmarks, and is widely regarded as one of the continent’s toughest and most challenging mountains to climb.

After a gruelling and demanding ascent, the former Jamaica Defence Force officer, turned Al Jazeera news presenter, finally stood at the icy summit at 11:15 am on Wednesday, August 22, and unfurled the Jamaican Flag on the Swiss side of the mountain.

“It certainly has to be one of the proudest moments of my life, to scale the Matterhorn, and to do so as we celebrate 50 years of Independence makes it even more special for me as a Jamaican mountain climber,” Jordan said while recovering in Geneva after his extraordinary feat.

“I am deeply grateful to my amazing French guides Yves Salino and Stephane Moussard, who guided me there and back safely. They helped me to join the select group of climbers who have been privileged to stand on top of this unique Swiss mountain,” he added.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Wayne McCook, welcomed news of Jordon’s successful climb and commended the Jamaican climber for his achievement, the first recorded by a Jamaican mountaineer.

“We can be proud of this achievement, which has come through hard work, arduous preparation and determined effort,” said McCook. “This is yet another demonstration of the Jamaican capacity to excel in extraordinary fields of endeavour and we congratulate Darren for adding Jamaica to the list of countries whose climbers have reached the Matterhorn summit.”

Jordon previously scaled a number of famous peaks, including Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Italy’s highest summit, Gran Paradiso.

Since the Matterhorn was first climbed in 1865, more than 500 people have died trying to scale it, and every year up to a dozen climbers perish on the mountain, mostly on the treacherous descent. Many die from rock falls, climbing accidents, bad weather or fatigue.

In preparation for the Matterhorn climb, Jordon put himself through an arduous physical training regime in Qatar where he now resides. In addition, Salino guided him on a number of highly demanding technical climbs in the French Alps, including the traverse of the Cosmique Ridge in Chamonix.

“I wish to dedicate this successful climb to Jamaica as our proud country celebrates its 50th birthday,” said Jordan. “In a remarkable year where we have gained extraordinary sporting success at the Olympics, we have been reminded that, as a people, we are capable of achieving anything we put our hearts to. I trust that this climb will help to reinforce this spirit and remind us that no summit is too high for us to climb”.

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