The relative who most inspired Pen to become an explorer, Douglas Hadow, made the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865, aged just 19.
With next year the 150th anniversary, Pen has just returned from filming in Zermatt (Switzerland) and Breuil (Italy) and on the Matterhorn to present a TV documentary with a fresh perspective on what really caused the deaths of four of the seven climbers on the descent.
The successful ascent of this peak, thought by many to be un-climable, marked the end of the Golden Age of Alpinism. And very nearly the end of mountaineering with Queen Victoria urged by some to ban the sport!
The team, led by one of the world’s leading mountaineers of the time, Edward Whymper (on his eight attempt), Hadow made it to the top despite never having climbed even a hill or mountain before! He had only trekked before.
In this major TV production, Pen introduces new insights and evidence to explain arguably the most controversial episode in mountaineering history. Why did the rope break that fateful day? Broadcast is provisionally scheduled for mid-2015.