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Swiss declare Matterhorn off limits to honor dead mountaineers 150 years after 1st ascent

  • The peak of the Matterhorn moutain is pictured during sunrise, Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Authorities in Switzerland have declared the iconic Matterhorn mountain off-limits for a day on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent. The so-called “Matterhorn silence” is intended to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top. (Dominic Steinmann/Keystone via AP)

    The peak of the Matterhorn moutain is pictured during sunrise, Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Authorities in Switzerland have declared the iconic Matterhorn mountain off-limits for a day on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent. The so-called “Matterhorn silence” is intended to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top. (Dominic Steinmann/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • The peak of the Matterhorn moutain is pictured during sunrise, Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Authorities in Switzerland have declared the iconic Matterhorn mountain off-limits for a day on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent. The so-called “Matterhorn silence” is intended to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top. (Dominic Steinmann/Keystone via AP)

    The peak of the Matterhorn moutain is pictured during sunrise, Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Authorities in Switzerland have declared the iconic Matterhorn mountain off-limits for a day on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent. The so-called “Matterhorn silence” is intended to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top. (Dominic Steinmann/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lamps illuminate the path of the first ascent on the Matterhorn mountain, seen from the Hoernli mountain hut, in Zermatt, Switzerland, Late Monday, July 13, 2015. Authorities in Switzerland have declared the iconic Matterhorn mountain off-limits for a day on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent. The so-called “Matterhorn silence” is intended to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top. (Dominic Steinmann/Keystone via AP)

    Lamps illuminate the path of the first ascent on the Matterhorn mountain, seen from the Hoernli mountain hut, in Zermatt, Switzerland, Late Monday, July 13, 2015. Authorities in Switzerland have declared the iconic Matterhorn mountain off-limits for a day on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent. The so-called “Matterhorn silence” is intended to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top. (Dominic Steinmann/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities have declared the iconic Matterhorn mountain, on the Swiss-Italian border, off-limits for a day on the 150th anniversary of the first ascent to honor more than 500 climbers who have died trying to reach the top.

A group of seven mountaineers led by Briton Edward Whymper became the first to reach the top on July 14, 1865. Four members of the team died on the descent.

Swiss ceremonies commemorating the anniversary Tuesday included the re-opening of the Hoernlihuette base camp refuge.

Authorities have reduced the number of beds there to 140 from 170 in an effort to calm the crush of mountaineers trying to reach the 4,478-meter (14,692-foot) Alpine peak.