Hervé Barmasse


Born in the shadow of the Matterhorn to a family of mountaineers, Hervé is one of the world's most accomplished and respected alpinists. A love of the mountains is buried in his DNA (he is the fourth generation of his family to work as a mountain guide) but what really motivates him is the search for the unknown. He is fuelled by a desire to discover places nobody has been to before and by a determination to explore the limits of what is possible. 



Birthdate: December 21st, 1977

Hometown: Valtournenche, Italy

Homebase: Valtournenche, Italy

Favourite Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Favourite Movie: "La vita è bella” di Roberto Benigni.

Favourite Song: I’ve Got A Feeling - The Beatles

Favourite Food: Spaghetti - I'm really a 100% Italian boy!

Biggest Dream: Spending 365 consecutive days doing mountaineering/outdoor activity

Best advice ever received: We have only one life, let's make it memorable

What inspires me? Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895) “The true mountaineer is the man who attempts new ascents, and equally, whether he succeeds or fails, delights in the fun and joy of the struggle.” Valentino Rossi: “To win is not a matter of age, but a matter of willpower.”

Words to live by: Emotion, dream, fear, joy, family, reality, friends, success, failure.

I don’t leave home without my …. The North Face Summit L3 Down Jacket 

Matterhorn Obsession

Watch Herve's short film, "Matterhorn Obsession", that commemorates the Matterhorn’s anniversary and how for him, it is the only mountain worth climbing more than once. July 14th, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn - the renowned mountain in the Alps straddling the border between Italy and Switzerland which has captured imaginations of explorers around the world. In the countless narratives of fearless ambitions, earned successes, and heroic failures on the Matterhorn, Herve Barmasse, accomplished alpinist and mountaineer, plays an indispensible role. This is not just because Barmasse holds the record for making the most first ascents on the Matterhorn, but more so for his fascinating relationship with the mountain.

Movie: Matterhorn Obsession 



As a child he preferred descending mountains to climbing them, competing in downhill and alpine ski races until a bad accident at the age of 16 left him with knee injuries that threatened his future ambitions. But when his father took him to climb the Matterhorn, the experience changed his life forever and he committed himself to a life of exploration.

He is now a true master of mountaineering, embracing the fear of first solo ascents, the technical challenges of new routes, and the risks of winter climbs. His favourite expeditions include his first solo ascent of the Matterhorn South Directissima, the first ascent of Cerro Piergiorgio west face and the establishment of a new route on Cerro San Lorenzo, both in Patagonia, and the first ascent of Beka Brakai Chhok in Pakistan. Above all he cherishes the memory of creating a new route, the Barmasse Couloir, with his father, Marco, on the south face of the Matterhorn in 2010. He believes the mountain is not a theatre of heroic deeds, but a place where you can experience great emotions through honest confrontation with nature. As he says, you don’t conquer mountains, they decide to make themselves known.

Hervé's passion has taken him on global adventures from Patagonia to Pakistan and his stories have been shared in his popular book ‘In The Mountains’, his movies ‘The Continuous Line’ and ‘Not So Far Away’, and at business conferences worldwide. His next goal is to take on new challenges in high-altitude locations, to open new routes on 8000m peaks, and to complete projects which others think impossible. He is particularly keen to revive the spirit of ‘classic alpinism’ evoked by Walter Bonatti and Reinhold Messner, pushing the limits of mountaineering with pure and ambitious expeditions. The great Messner has said of him: “Some time ago I said that mountaineering had failed, but today I say no, that’s not true, because there are young people like Hervé Barmasse. The young like him defend the true values of traditional mountaineering.” 

Career Highlights

  • Matterhorn 4478m - First winter chaining and solo ascent of the four ridges and first solo winter ascent of the Furggen ridge by way of the overhangs. (March 2014)
  • Patagonia - First winter ascent of Cerro Pollone; first ascent and first winter of colmillos central and colmillos right (south). (July 2013)
  • Pakistan - Sing Gang Glacier / Snow Lake - First ascent of three unclimbed peaks; crossing of Muki 6330 m, ascent and ski descent of a summit of 5966 m on the left bank of Sing Gang Glacier and the ascent of the lower Solu Tower 5880 m.  (July 2012)
  • Monte Rosa 4634 m - South-west face – New route – Viaggio nella Memoria – ED (October 2011) 
  • Mont Blanc 4810 m - South Face or Brouillard side – New route – La Classica Moderna - ED (July 2011) 
  • Matterhorn/Cervino 4478 m - South Face - New route solo ascent – 1200 m – level…ABO (April 2011) 
  • China – Shaklsgam Valley – First ascent in alpine style of Venus Peak 6300 m – ED North/Ridge (July 2010) 
  • Cervino/Matterhorn 4478 m – South Face – new route – Barmasse Couloir 1200 m – M___ ABO (March 2010) 
  • Pakistan Shimshal Valley. First ascent of several ice falls. Creation and execution of courses on safety and progression to porters (men and women) of Shimshal at the Shimshal Climbing School (school born from the collaboration of Qudrat, Simone Moro and Hervé Barmasse, with sponsorship by The North Face, Kong and Camp). (2010) 
  • Patagonia – Hielo Continental Sur – new traverse route from East to West on the third largest glacier on Earth. (January 2009) 
  • China – Miky Sel 6250 m. – First ascent of the mountain in alpine style (September 2008) 
  • Pakistan – Beka Brakai Chhok, 6940m. – First ascent of the mountain in alpine style (July 2008) 
  • Patagonia – Cerro Piergiorgio – First ascent of the Northwest face: “La Ruta de lo Hermano" (grade 6b+/A3, 1000 m) (February 2008) 
  • Matterhorn – First solo ascent of the “Spigolo dei Fiori" (Machetto) route (September 2007) 
  • Matterhorn – First solo ascent and first repetition of the South face via the Super-direct route (April 2007) 
  • Patagonia – Cerro San Lorenzo (3706 m) – New route on the north face: “Caffé Cortado" (ED, 1200 m) (2006) 
  • Patagonia – Cerro Poincenot (3201 m) (2006) 
  • Patagonia – Aguja Guillaumet (2571 m) (2006) 
  • Matterhorn – First solo ascent of the Deffeyes route (ED, 1300 m) in under four hours (October 2005) 
  • Pakistan – Chogolisa Shield – New route: "Up and Down" (grade 6c/7a and A1, 800 m) (June-July 2005)
    Pakistan – New mixed ice route on an unclimbed peak: "Fast and Furious" (700 m) (June-July 2005) 
  • Pakistan – First complete solo ascent of an unclimbed peak (approx. 6000 m) on the Farol Peak ridge (June-July 2005)
    Pakistan – Naysar Brakk (approx. 5200 m) via the "English Route" (June-July 2005) 
  • Dent d’Herin – West Face – First ascent of the "Ammazza Geko" route (grade IV+/5, 800 m) (January 2005) 
  • Pakistan – Sheep Peak (6300 m) – new route (June 2004) 
  • Pakistan – Chogolisa Shield (approx. 5700 m) – New alpine-style "Luna Caprese" route (grade 6c max, 1000 m) (June 2004) 
  • Matterhorn – South Face – First winter repetition of the "Padre Pio Prega per Noi" route (grade 6c/7a max, 1000 m) (March 2004) 
  • Pizzo Badile – South Face – New route: "Ringhio" (grade 6c obbl., 370 m) (July 2003) 
  • Dent d’Herin – West Face – First ascent of the "Petit Lumignon" route (grade IV/4, 800 m) (February 2003) 
  • Matterhorn – South Face – First solo ascent and third complete repetition of the "Casarotto-Grassi" route (ED, 1300 m) (October 2002) 
  • Breithorn (Monte Rosa Massif) – West Face – New mixed route: "Via del Freind" (ED, 600 m) (October 2001) 
  • Matterhorn – South Face – New route: "Per Nio" (grade 6a+ obbl., ED/ 350 m) (August 2000)



  • Paolo Consiglio Award, 2005
  • Paolo Consiglio Award, 2006
  • Grolla d’Oro Award, 2007
  • Paolo Consiglio Award, 2008
  • Award SAT, 2010
  • Award G. Monzino, 2010
  • Paolo Consiglio Award, 2010
  • Premio Luigi Leoni, 2011
  • Best Adventure, 2014
  • Premio Sport e Civiltà Città di Parma, 2015