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Old 09.02.2011, 15:56
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Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

I saw this article on SwissInfo and got to wondering; Are these proposed developments one step too far? Related link Dream Peak

On one hand, keeping the mountains remote and inaccessible is an environmental ideal, but having access to otherwise remote places is one of the attractions of Switzerland.

Like many other people, I have visited the major mountain peaks: Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, Pilatus, Titlis, Klein Matterhorn, Brienz Rothorn and Rigi and many others besides.

Looking out from the North Face of the Eiger and lunch in the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant are great experiences but is it selfish?

Are the proposed developments another step forward for technology and tourism or a blot on the landscape?
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Old 09.02.2011, 16:01
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

They certainly are a bit more relaxed about it compared with the U.K.

I remember a great uproar a few years ago when it was suggested to put a few benches alongside one of the paths up Ben Nevis


Personally I think there's enough stuff here in the mountains. I don't want to have to travel back to the U.K. or the Pyrennes for a wilderness experience.
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Old 09.02.2011, 16:34
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

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They certainly are a bit more relaxed about it compared with the U.K.

I remember a great uproar a few years ago when it was suggested to put a few benches alongside one of the paths up Ben Nevis
Pure speculation on my part but perhaps its because there's more tradition of people living at altitude here, so places serving traditional food in the mountains have always been part of the culture here. Whereas a restaurant on Snowdon with a train to the top is seen by British mountain lovers as the tourist trap cash-in that it is.*







* Even if I did really enjoy the £3 ice cold can of Carling at the top after walking up the miners track in July at > 30 degrees
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Old 09.02.2011, 16:50
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

This is a debate that often comes up...I'll be watching this thread keenly.

Personally I would go with Tom, there is a lot of Alps actually, and what has been "developed" (or spoiled, depending on which side you take) is maybe 1/100th of the peaks... and most of these are anyway on territory that is already accessible/taken over, so I don't see much new invasion happening. it just won't be financially viable to build something in very remote places (I know Junfraujoch train managed, but such things will remain a rarity).

There is so much beauty out there, only a tiny fraction of people can become mountaineers, so Klein Matterhorn and the like are actually a great benefit to mankind because they give a glimpse of what it is like up there in a cheap, safe way. I don't think they dirty the place any more than mountain huts do with their dry latrines, and mountaineers who use open toilet concept.
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Old 09.02.2011, 20:08
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

Of the two proposed developments that I linked to, I would agree with the Stockhorn 'piercing'. It is something different to the other developments and does not appear to be too obtrusive.

The Klein Matterhorn 'Dream Peak' looks too much. Achieving the 4000m summit seems to be the main motive for it. It would be very visible from a long distance. As the only access will be the cable car, having a hotel seems wrong to me. The existing development there is more than enough.

I wonder how many of the existing development would get approval if being proposed today: Jungfraujoch, Gornergrat and Schilthorn all have quite dominant structures at the summits.
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Old 09.02.2011, 20:15
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

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Pure speculation on my part but perhaps its because there's more tradition of people living at altitude here, so places serving traditional food in the mountains have always been part of the culture here. Whereas a restaurant on Snowdon with a train to the top is seen by British mountain lovers as the tourist trap cash-in that it is.*


It's not just the tops of the mountains though. I always wondered that if Wastwater was in Switzerland, would the shore would be lined with terraced apartments. I expect so.

I know there's a lot of wilderness Switzerland to go round but I do hope people think carefully before building too much on it.
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Old 13.02.2011, 12:18
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

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Pure speculation on my part but perhaps its because there's more tradition of people living at altitude here, so places serving traditional food in the mountains have always been part of the culture here. Whereas a restaurant on Snowdon with a train to the top is seen by British mountain lovers as the tourist trap cash-in that it is.*
I live in the mountains, and think that the local residents should decide - they live & make their living here. Luckily in Switzerland, local democracy is strong.

Anyone in a city who believes that there should be less development in the mountains shouldn't go skiing - it's ski passes that funds most of the development & infrastructure that one sees on the mountains.
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Old 13.02.2011, 13:20
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

I think development is unavoidable in a very small country with a very dense population. I can live with many structures on peaks, but there are limits that sometimes are not observed.

When I was a kid (boy, that was in the 'fifties -- wow, looks like I'm close to decomposition now...), I thought the buildings on top of Säntis (Alpstein range, right on the border between St. Gallen and Appenzell, 2501.90 m) were ugly and way too much visible from afar. Little did I know. In the 'nineties, a new complex was built, which sometimes reminds me of Lower Manhattan. Ok, not quite, but you knowaddamean.

Even over a distance of 48 km (that's roughly 29 miles 1453 yards 1 ft 3 3/4 inches for our fellow 'Merikins), that eye sore still catches the eye, see here. I think it would have been possible to house all the telecommunication equipment and facilities for tourists in a less obtrusive way.
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Old 13.02.2011, 16:09
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

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I think development is unavoidable in a very small country with a very dense population. I can live with many structures on peaks, but there are limits that sometimes are not observed.

When I was a kid (boy, that was in the 'fifties -- wow, looks like I'm close to decomposition now...), I thought the buildings on top of Säntis (Alpstein range, right on the border between St. Gallen and Appenzell, 2501.90 m) were ugly and way too much visible from afar. Little did I know. In the 'nineties, a new complex was built, which sometimes reminds me of Lower Manhattan. Ok, not quite, but you knowaddamean.

Even over a distance of 48 km (that's roughly 29 miles 1453 yards 1 ft 3 3/4 inches for our fellow 'Merikins), that eye sore still catches the eye, see here. I think it would have been possible to house all the telecommunication equipment and facilities for tourists in a less obtrusive way.
I always thougt it was closer to 7/8
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Old 13.02.2011, 16:38
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Re: Are the Swiss alpine peaks over-developed?

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I always thougt it was closer to 7/8
Could we agree on 207/256" ?
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