Sunday, August 28, 2011

Huts In The Mountains

Carolyn George reports on a climb she just did in the Swiss Alps. Her story points out some major differences between mountain hiking/climbing in the Alps and in the U.S. For example,

“In Europe, there are lots of lifts to access areas, even in places where you couldn’t imagine a real use for them. Sometimes the lift is just to access a house, a pasture for cows or sheep, a small village or just for leisure. But I am always grateful for them as they save my

body from overuse. We parked the car in SaasAlmagell…. and took a small lift up to a tiny hamlet in the mountains. From there, the paths winds through a steep cliff, over manmade bridges, metal steps bolted onto the rock and onward to the Almageller Valley. It is such a contrast from the States, where no manmade structure is allowed in parks or in the mountains. Here, everything is made to be playful, yet it doesn’t seem to really interfere with nature. It’s discreet and not shocking at all”

She also mentions the trail is marked by rocks painted red and white. Could you imagine the horrified cries if we painted rocks as trail markers in the U.S.? Can you imagine how difficult it would be to get permission to build lifts up to cabins or shelters? Can you imagine the outcry if someone wanted to bolt steps into rock? (Some people in the U.S. want to take out the cables on Hlaf Dome which have been helping people climb up the back of Half Dome. Cables that have been there since 1919.)


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