Categories: Knowledge concerning nature and the universe; social practices

States: France, Italy and Switzerland

Weissmies (4017 m)
The Weissmies (4,017 m) with view to the south-east and alpinists ascending, 3 August 2015
©Jürg Huber

Alpinism is a term commonly used in European languages for the sport of mountaineering. In addition to the techniques needed to navigate mountain terrain where there are no marked paths, it also includes behaviours to adopt to respond to hazards such as rockfalls and crevasses. In this sense, alpinism differs considerably from hiking on well-maintained paths or alpine skiing on supervised slopes. Alpinism is characterised by a culture of sharing experience and skills from a knowledge of the Alpine environment, the history of alpinism and related values on the one hand, to the mastery of Alpine climbing techniques and the use of ropes, ice axe and crampons on the other. This culture is associated with aesthetic notions and sensations that relate to the beauty of the routes, the elegance of climbing techniques and the enjoyment of the landscape. Alpinism had its first heyday under British influence in the middle of the 19th century, and has since evolved into a number of different sports. Various associations contribute to the tradition of alpinism by providing training courses. At the same time, alpinism has also attracted artistic interest, particularly in the literary and visual arts. Conflicts of interest among the various interest groups in the mountain region and global warming are the major challenges facing alpinism in the early 21st century.

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The tradition in detail on the list of Switzerland’s living traditions

Associated traditions

In parallel to the preparation of the nomination file for UNESCO, the corresponding files and entries on the list of Switzerland’s living traditions are also adapted as part of the regular update of the inventory. This work is done in collaboration with the stakeholders concerned.

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Last modification 02.02.2024

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