Hold on to your Toblerone, Switzerland's Matterhorn is at dire risk from rising temperatures and thawing permafrost.

The iconic Swiss mountain near Zermatt which inspired the triangular chocolate may be eventually be unrecognisable Experts warn its frozen core is heating up, making the surface unstable and prone to landslides.

The sharp, 4480-metre peak is one of the world's most recognisable. This might be no small thanks to its depiction on Swiss chocolate bars, that decorate airport duty-free the world over.

The Matterhorn is a prized summit for mountaineers, for its sheer vertical faces and geometric beauty.

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However, a retreat of the glacial fields and year-round permafrost that holds the peak together has put the mountain at threat.

Climate change may crumble the recognisable Matterhorn peak. Photo / Getty Images
Climate change may crumble the recognisable Matterhorn peak. Photo / Getty Images

Rising annual temperatures are beginning to change the conditions of the dramatic mountains in the Swiss Alps, with noticeable physical disintegration.

Geologists and climate scientists have been tracking the alarming progress of this change. This is worrying not just to nature lovers, and beauty-appreciating tourists, but the climb has become increasingly dangerous for mountaineers.

Last month they installed 50 sensors at 3962 metres to survey ground movement and predict the likelihood of rock falls.

The team of scientists from Zurich's ETH university are monitoring the mountains slow decline.

They compared the thawing mountain glaciers to Stracciatella ice cream. Referencing the alpine delicacy in an interview with the Daily Mail, the Zurich scientists say the consistency of the mountain rock is as if it is filled with fine shavings of chocolate.

The Toblerone chocolate bar takes its shape from the triangular Matterhorn peak. Photo / Getty Images
The Toblerone chocolate bar takes its shape from the triangular Matterhorn peak. Photo / Getty Images

"When the high mountains thaw in summer, the stiffness decreases and the ground sediments get soggy and wobbly with water," Dr Jan Beutel said.

"Cracks expand and move. Many continue to move in the same direction every year and then at some point it's too much and a small scale of the surface breaks off."

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In time the hard edges of the angular peak are being worn away, as the snow and ice recedes.

The rock face of Switzerland: A luggage label from Zermatt. Photo /Getty Images
The rock face of Switzerland: A luggage label from Zermatt. Photo /Getty Images

"These changes are subtle but big things are happening," said Dr Beutel.

Publishing his findings in the academic journal Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, the trends show that the effects of a warming climate are making mountaineering more dangerous not just in Switzerland but the world over.

After a deadly and unpredictable season, Everest may become increasingly dangerous as the increasingly polluted and headed glaciers surrounding it recede.