Interesting facts 

The Peaks become the Objectives

Climbing was in fact the first kind of tourism in Switzerland. “The first English did not come to Switzerland to play tennis but because of the mountains”, explains Egon Feller, a mountain guide from Ausserberg. There are even climbing activities aimed at children and teenagers. 

 

Times have indeed changed. At one time people would make a long detour to avoid the mountains whenever they could, because they regarded them as frightening and inhospitable. No-one would willingly spend a night there. But then the unimaginable happened to a certain Jacques Balmat of Chamonix, a man who made his living by hunting chamois and searching for crystal: he found himself obliged to spend a night on a glacier – and he survived. Balmat realised that the mountains were not haunted by restless evil spirits eager to prey on the living. On the contrary, he found his night on the glacier a thrilling experience. The ice had been broken, and the high peaks became a goal. The first summit above 4000 meters to be conquered in the Swiss Alps was the Jungfrau, in the summer of 1811. One after another more and more of the mountains in the surrounding Bernese Alps were climbed. The race to the summits gave a boost to tourism in general. Mountaineering and climbing were not everyone's cup of tea, but streams of visitors poured in from far and wide to marvel at the mountains.