Abba star sings about first Matterhorn ascent

Former Abba star Frida is singing again — and these days about her Swiss home high in the mountains.

Abba star sings about first Matterhorn ascent
Frida, from ABBA, and Dan Daniell. Photo: Zermatt Tourismus

With local singer Dan Daniell, the Swedish pop star has recorded a song dedicated to Zermatt, the mountain resort town in the canton of Valais, and the first ascent of the Matterhorn, 150 years ago.

The song “1865” is set to be released on Friday, as part of the commemorations this year for the the climb of the fabled 4,478-metre peak by British alpinist Edward Whymper and his team.

Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, a resident of Zermatt, recorded the official song for the anniversary with Daniell, the town’s tourist office said in a news release this week.

The pair were backed by a Zermatt group called Wintershome, who provide a chorus to the song composed by Daniell, the stage name for Urs Biner, the release said.

Biner, owner of the Chez Heini restaurant, is described as a top chef, author and singer, who has been recording under the name Dan Daniell for more than two decades.

“The song brings the dramatic race to the summit of the Matterhorn to life with the power of the chorale and its impressive lyricism,” the tourist office said.

Proceeds from the sale of the single will go a foundation for children set up by Frida and Daniell that supports small projects in Switzerland, elsewhere in Europe and around the world.

The song will be available through and

Since 2008 Frida has shared a home in Zermatt with her partner Henry Smith, a British aristocrat, having previously been married to Heinrich Ruzzo Prince Reuss of Plauen, a German Prince who died of lymphoma in 1999.

She is also the ex-wife of Abba's Benny Andersson.

For more information about the Matterhorn jubilee celebrations, click here.

Also, a fan has downloaded to YouTube an unofficial version of the "1865" song:

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‘Too dangerous’: Calls for Switzerland’s Matterhorn to be closed to climbers

Switzerland's iconic Matterhorn mountain should be closed to climbers, mountain guides have told a Swiss newspaper in comments that have divided the climbing community.

'Too dangerous': Calls for Switzerland’s Matterhorn to be closed to climbers
Is the Matterhorn now too dangerous to climb? Photo: AFP

Read all the latest on this story here

“The mountain has become “too unstable and therefore too dangerous to be a tourist attraction climbed by loads of people every day,” one unnamed guide told Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung.

The comment comes ten days after two climbers died on the mountain in the canton of Valais after a rock fall. So far, six people have died on the mountain this year. Last year it was eleven.

READ ALSO: How heatwaves are making the Swiss Alps more dangerous

Now some climbers want to the mountain closed to climbers as was the case after a huge rock slide during the extremely hot summer of 2003.

It is still not clear what caused the rock fall that killed two climbers recently but geologist Hans-Rudolf Keusen with the Swiss Alpine Club told SonntagsZeitung that hot conditions were “very probably partly responsible”.

Keusen said that permafrost was thawing at increasingly high altitudes.

He said that this was why rock falls and avalanches were increasingly common above 2,500 metres – especially on the exposed north faces of mountains.

But Keusen is against closing mountains to climbers. He says climbers have to take personal responsibility for risks and must inform themselves about local conditions.

Closing the Matterhorn 'a laughable idea'

Meanwhile, Raphaël Mayoraz, head of the natural hazards department in the canton of Valais called the idea of closing the Matterhorn “laughable”.

He said climbing was a “private activity” and that authorities should instead ensure climbers are aware of the risks.

But, as Keusen admitted, this risk is hard to measure. He noted increased instability at higher altitudes was an issue across the Alps as a whole, affecting cable car stations, hiking tracks and climbing routes.

No plans to close mountain

In comments made to Swiss national broadcaster SRF, Zermatt commune president Romy Biner said a closure of the mountain was not being considered.

She noted there were 38 4,000-metre peaks in the commune and that the issue of thawing permafrost was not only applicable to the Matterhorn.

“We can't take responsibility for everything,” the commune president said.

READ ALSO: 'Now I know what hell is like' – survivor of Swiss Alps tragedy