The dress of the visitor and the inhabitant in Zermatt is as much influenced by the Matterhorn as is the nature of the town itself. The streets are lined with shops selling climbing shoes (about $30 per pair) and all of the paraphernalia of the Alpinist. They are filled with visiting climbers: American GIs in uniform, Frenchmen in shorts too short for the devoutly Catholic Zermatt townsfolk, Austrians in lederhosen, everyone in climbing shoes, almost everyone else in knickers, reinforced at the seat, of durable leather or corduroy, and set off by a pair of hand-knitted socks enlivened by edelweiss and snowflakes. Typical of mountain-climbing enthusiasts is the Viennese gentleman wearing his sturdy leather knickers, designed to last a lifetime, his Loden cloth jacket, his powerful binoculars. The look is seen on the children, who hike through the foothills of the mountains, knapsack on back, Tyrolean hat on head, mountain flowers in hand, as well as on the leather-suited and knickered Austrian climber. It is epitomized by the guide, whose first task once you've hired him is to see that you are also correctly outfitted for your climbing adventure.
Guide Max Julen displays the equipment he takes on a Matterhorn ascent. Bottom row: sunglasses, sun oil, canteen of absinthe, butter can, egg can, metal cup, saucepan, metal tea bag, soap dish, first-aid kit. Second row: map and compass, altimeter, monocular, four pitons, two rings, two 9-foot ropes. Third row: Thermos, canteen, lantern, candle, rock gloves, mittens, small pick, gaiters. Top row: ice ax, crampons, 90-foot nylon rope, rucksack. Julen wears rubber-soled climbing shoes, wool socks, gabardine knickers, windbreaker, woolen sweater and shirt. Total cost: about $250.