At just 18 years old, Matthew Pace has become the youngest Maltese to climb the Matterhorn mountain. He completed the climb in memory of his second cousin who died of cancer earlier this year.
The Matterhorn is one of the toughest mountains in the Alps to climb, right in between Switzerland and Italy.
His second cousin, the 15-year-old Rebecca Zammit Lupi, battled cancer earlier this year, and sadly passed away. Her courageous journey was documented by her father, the award-winning photographer Darrin Zammit Lupi.
Pace hopes that his climb will help raise awareness about the children’s cancer support group Puttinu Cares.
Earlier this year, Zammit Lupi’s friend Tommy Walkbank ran 1,000 km for Rebecca, raising €10,000 in aid of Puttinu Cares.
Pace climbed the mountain with his friend Daniel Lichy, keeping Zammit Lupi both on his mind and his shirt. He said he took her with him “high up, close to the skies”.
“Rebecca is a couple of years younger than me, but she is one of the most inspirational people I know,” Pace said to the Times of Malta.
“She kept fighting with all her might”, he said, which he kept in mind while climbing the mountain.
Pace and Lichy have trained for six months to get in shape, both physically and mentally. They even secured the advice of two mountain guides, read up on the climb, and watched professional mountaineers who scaled it before.
The journey up and back down should have taken the two teenagers around 10 hours.
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Cover image: Matthew Pace (right) and his friend, Times of Malta