Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815, nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to international organisations.
On the European level, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties, spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions, French and Romansh. Due to its diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names, Suisse, Svizzera. On coins and stamps, Latin is used instead of the four living languages, Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer. The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, a term for the Swiss. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, in use since the 16th century.
The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, the Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for Confederates, used since the 14th century. The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately related to swedan ‘to burn’
Golden age of alpinism
With its beginning slightly predating the formation of the Alpine Club in London in 1857, the golden age was dominated by British alpinists and their Swiss and French guides. Well-known guides of the era include Christian Almer, Jakob Anderegg, Melchior Anderegg, Johann Joseph Benet, Peter Bohren, Jean-Antoine Carrel, Michel Croz, Ulrich Kaufmann and Johannes Zumtaugwald. Walkers sister Lucy attained some notable firsts during the period, including the first ascent of the Balmhorn, in the early years of the golden age, scientific pursuits were intermixed with the sport. More often than not, the mountaineers carried a variety of instruments up the mountain with them to be used for scientific observations, the physicist John Tyndall was the most prominent of the scientists. Among the non-scientist mountaineers, the literary critic Leslie Stephen was the most prominent, in the years of the golden age, the non-scientist pure sportsmen came to dominate the London-based Alpine Club and alpine mountaineering overall.
Trevor Braham, When the Alps Cast Their Spell, Mountaineers of the Golden Age of Alpinism Ronald Clark, John Tyndall, Hours of Exercise in the Alps
The Gross Fiescherhorn is a mountain of the Bernese Alps, located on the border between the cantons of Bern and Valais, halfway between the Mönch and the Finsteraarhorn. At 4,049 metres above sea level, its summit culminates over the whole Fiescherhorn massif, from the north both are well hidden behind other mountains and can only been seen from the village of Grindelwald. The mountain is shared between the municipalities of Grindelwald and Fieschertal, ascents are usually made from one of these three popular routes, one starts from the Mönchsjoch Hut, one from the Konkordia Hut, and the third from the Finsteraarhorn Hut. The summit was first reached on 23 July 1862 by H. B, george and Adolphus Warburton Moore, with guides Christian Almer and Ulrich Kaufmann. They used what is now the route, the south-west ridge. The north side of the mountain was first climbed in 1926, on 13 August, W. Amstutz and P. von Schumacher reached the summit after a 15-hour ascent via the north ridge, which is the northern boundary of the Fiescherwand.
The first direct ascent on the Fiescherwand was made by W. Welzenbach, Welzenbach was an expert climber, who disputed the common idea of his time that an ascent of the Fiescherwand was impossible. The previous year, in 1929, Welzenbach and Tillmann climbed the ridge in only 8.5 hours. The following year started the ascent of the Fiescherwand on the morning of 5 September 1930. They reached the top that evening, after a 12-hour ascent, Gross Fiescherhorn on SummitPost Gross Fiescherhorn
They are considered to be high-level experts in mountaineering, and are hired to instruct or lead individuals or small groups who require this advanced expertise. Their skills usually include climbing and hiking and their knowledge includes furthermore the topics rocks, weather, navigation and health, each practically and theoretically. Mountain guides, or more formally high mountain guides, are employed by groups or individuals assuring the safety of the climbing or skiing party and this professional class of guides arose in the middle of the 19th century when Alpine climbing became recognized as a sport. Certification is earned through an examination process encompassing rock climbing, alpine climbing. Typically lasting between 3 and 7 years, mountain guide certification required a level of commitment, dedication. In addition to assuring safety, professional mountain guides frequently offer other services to their clients. These services can improve the alpine experience, especially when the client climber has limited time or equipment.
Mountain guides are commonly organized in national and international associations, the worlds oldest guides association is the Compagnie des guides de Chamonix, established in Chamonix in 1821. It remains today the largest association with nearly 250 mountain guides
In climbing, a first ascent is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. First ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with risks, challenges. The person who performs the first ascent is called the first ascensionist, the details of the first ascents of even many prominent mountains are scanty or unknown, sometimes the only evidence of prior summiting is a cairn, artifacts, or inscriptions at the top. Today, first ascents are generally recorded and usually mentioned in guidebooks. Overwhelmingly, the idea of a first ascent is a one, especially in places such as Africa. There may be little or no evidence or documentation about the climbing activities of indigenous peoples living near the mountain. The term is used when referring to ascents made using a specific technique or taking a specific route, such as via the North Face. In rock climbing, some of the earlier first ascents, particularly for difficult routes, involved a mix of free, as a result, purist free climbers have developed the designation first free ascent to acknowledge ascents intentionally made more challenging by using equipment for protection only.
Some other first ascents could be recorded for particular mountains or routes, one is the First Winter Ascent, which is, as the name easily suggests, the first ascent made during winter season. This is most important where the climate of winter is a factor in increasing the difficulty grade of the route, in the Northern Hemisphere conventional winter ascents are made between December 21 and March 21 and are not related to the conditions. Also in the Himalayan area, although Nepal and Chinas winter season permits start on December 1, another is the First Solo Ascent, which is the first ascent made by a single climber. This is most important on high-level rock climbing, when the climber has to provide his own security or even when climbing without any protection at all, another type of ascent, known as FFA is the first female ascent. The term last ascent has been used to refer to an ascent of a mountain or face that has changed to such an extent – often because of rockfall – that the route no longer exists.
It can be used facetiously to refer to a climb that is so unpleasant or unaesthetic that no one would willingly repeat the first ascent partys ordeal. List of first ascents List of first ascents in the Alps List of first ascents in the Himalaya Glossary of climbing terms Alpinist Magazine – Peter Mortimers First Ascent, Issue 17
The Graian Alps are a mountain range in the western part of the Alps. The name Graie comes from the Graioceli Celtic tribe, which dwelled in the surrounding the Mont Cenis pass. Other sources claim that the name comes from the Celtic Graig meaning rock/stone, literally the Rocky Mountains The Graian Alps are located in France, the French side of the Graian Alps is drained by the river Isère and its tributary Arc, and by the Arve. The Italian side is drained by the rivers Dora Baltea and Stura di Lanzo, the Graian Alps can be divided into the following four groups, the Mont Blanc group the Central group the Western or French group, and the Eastern or Italian group. The main peaks of the Graian Alps are, The main passes of the Graian Alps are shown in the table below. The group in which the pass is located is indicated with MB for Mont Blanc group, C for Central group, E for Eastern group, and W for Western group. The western group contains the Vanoise National Park, established in 1972 and covering 1250 km², the group contains the Gran Paradiso National Park.
Also on the Italian side is located the Parco Regionale del Monte Avic, ascents in Gran Paradiso group - Czech and English Graian Alps on Summitpost - English
The Aiguille Verte, which is French for Green Needle, is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps. It was first climbed on 29 June 1865 by Edward Whymper, Christian Almer and Franz Biner, Whymper was unable to climb with his usual guide, Michel Croz, who had to wait for a client in Chamonix. As a result, Whymper hired the services of Christian Almer, Whymper describes the push for the summit, At the top of the small gully we crossed over the intervening rocks into the large one. At last ice replaced snow, and we turned over to the rocks upon its left, charming rocks they were, granitic in texture, holding the nails well. At 9.45 we parted from them, and completed the ascent by a ridge of snow which descended in the direction of the Aiguille du Moine. At 10.15 we stood on the summit, and devoured our bread, the second ascent was by Charles Hudson, T. S. Kennedy and Michel Croz via the Moine ridge. The first ascent of the Arête Sans was accomplished by Nicolas Jaeger in 1972, there have been a number of incidents where climbers have been killed or gone missing during climbing Aiguille Verte.
The body of Patrice Hyvert, a French climber who went missing on March 1,1982, was found on July 9,2014
The Bernese Alps are a mountain range of the Alps, located in western Switzerland. The highest mountain in the range, the Finsteraarhorn, is the highest point in the canton of Bern, the Bernese Alps are drained by the river Aare and its tributary the Saane in the north, the Rhône in the south, and the Reuss in the east. The principal ridge, a chain that runs 100 kilometres from west to east, whose highest peak is the Finsteraarhorn, except for the westernmost part, it is the watershed between the Rhine and the Rhone. This chain is not centered inside the range but lies close to the Rhone on the south, there the mountains progressively become lower and disappear into the hilly Swiss Plateau. The main chain west of Gemmi Pass consists mainly of a few large prominent summits slightly above 3,000 metres, on the eastern part, the main chain became suddenly wider and the peaks reach over 4,000 metres, in the most glaciated part of the Alps. To the south the same portion of the range is divided from the still higher parallel range whose summits are the Aletschhorn and the Bietschhorn by the Lötschental.
To this again succeeds the deep trench through which the part of the Aletsch Glacier flows down to the Rhone. Since strangers first began to visit the Alps, the names of Grindelwald, but unlike many other Alpine regions, which have been left to be explored by strangers, this region has been long visited by Swiss travellers and men of science. Among them were the brother Meyer of Aarau and Franz Joseph Hugi and they have explored most of the mountain ranges not very difficult of access, further than this, have attained most of the higher summits. The works of Desor and Gottlieb Studer have been followed by other publications that bear testimony to Swiss mountaineering activity. The Jungfrau-Aletsch area is located in the eastern Bernese Alps in the most glaciated region of the Alps and it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and further expanded in 2007. Its name comes from the Aletsch Glacier and the two summits of the Jungfrau and Bietschhorn, which some of the most impressive features of the site.
The actual site includes other large glacier valleys such as the Fiescher Glacier and the Aar Glaciers
Mont Blanc massif
The Mont Blanc massif is a mountain range in the Alps, located mostly in France and Italy, but straddling Switzerland at its northeastern end. It contains eleven major independent summits, each over 4,000 metres in height, and is named after Mont Blanc, the mountains of the massif consist mostly of granite and gneiss rocks, and at high altitudes the vegetation is an arctic-alpine flora. The valleys that delimit the massif were used as communication routes by the Romans until they left around the 5th century AD, the region has remained of some military importance through to the mid-20th century. A peasant farming economy operated within these valleys for centuries until the glaciers. Word of these impressive sights began to spread, and Mont Blanc was finally climbed in 1786, the region is now a major tourist destination, drawing in over six million visitors per year. It provides a range of opportunities for outdoor recreation and activities such as sight-seeing, hiking. Around one hundred people a year die across its mountains and, bodies have been lost, access into the mountains is facilitated by cable cars, mountain railways and mountain huts which offer overnight refuge to climbers and skiers.
The long-distance Tour du Mont Blanc hiking trail circumnavigates the whole massif in an 11-day trek of 170 kilometres, the Mont Blanc Tunnel connects the French town of Chamonix on the northern side with the Italian town of Courmayeur in the south. The high mountains have provided opportunities for scientific research, including neutrino measurements within the Tunnel. The Mont Blanc massif is 46 kilometres long and lies in a southwest to northeasterly direction across the borders of France, Italy, at its widest point the massif is 20 km across. The northern side of the massif lies mostly within France, and is bounded by the valley of the River Arve, containing the towns of Argentière, Chamonix and Les Houches. The southern side of the massif lies mostly within Italy and is bounded by the Val Veny, from Courmayeur these waters flow southwards as the Dora Baltea towards Aosta, eventually joining the Po river. However, the southwestern end of the massif does lie within France and is bounded by the Vallée des Glaciers.
The northeastern end of the massif falls within Switzerland, and is bounded by a valley, confusingly called Val Ferret. Its watercourse, la Dranse de Ferret, flows northwards to join the Rhône at Martigny, the borders of all three countries converge at a tripoint near the summit of Mont Dolent at an altitude of 3,820 metres. From here the border turns southwards over the Dômes de Miage, the Swiss – Italian border runs southwest from Mont Dolent, down to the twin passes of Col Ferret. The massif contains 11 main summits over 4,000 metres in altitude, crowning the massif is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and in western Europe. From the summit of Mont Blanc to the River Arve near Chamonix there is a 3,800 metres drop over a distance of just 8 kilometres, because of its great elevation, much of the massif is snow- and ice-covered, and has been deeply dissected by glaciers