Interesting facts 

That’s how Mountain Guides contributed to the Mountain Photography at its Beginning

At the turn of the 19th century the Reichenbach Valley attracted the great pioneers of mountain photography. The most famous photographers of that time – for example Adolph Braun and Vittorio Sella – created here their master pieces.

 

The origins of the first photographs were connected with exhausting mountain tours: it was necessary to carry wooden camera sheds and heavy picture slides up to the respective photo location. Here, local mountain guides often provided valuable assistance. Some of them received a special reward, which has been preserved to this days. Several families in the municipalities of Meiringen and Schattenhalb keep an over a hundred year old photo album with historic pictures of mountain tours.

How did these rarities come to the Haslital? 

The photo albums were a Christmas present for the local mountain guides from a wealthy guest.

What was the reason for these precious gifts? 

The albums were a reward for the mountain guides' commitment during the summer. The respective guest was a Professor for chemistry and a famous mountain photographer. The mountain guides helped him to carry his photography equipment, which was very heavy in those days, to the summits.

From the second half of the 19th century on, many men in the Haslital, especially in Schattenhalb, worked as mountain guides in summer. How come? 

In the past, people in our region lived mostly from agriculture. Compared to today there were hardly any possibilities for an additional income. An exception was working as a mountain guide in the summer. This was compatible with a life as a farmer. The cattle were up on the alp, the rest of the family took care of haymaking, and the father of the family could take guests up to the mountains. Pay was relatively good for the circumstances in those days. 

Kaspar Willi, former municipal clerk of Schattenhalb and mountain guide