THE BRITISH PIONEERS OF SPORTS IN THE ALPS: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
FERIENART RESORT & SPA, SAAS-FEE, SWITZERLAND
16 AUGUST 2012
Mick Fowler, President Alpine Club
Frank-Urs Müller, President Swiss Alpine Club
Mike Parsons, Innovator in residence, University of Lancaster Management School
Walter Mengisen, Rector Swiss Institute of Sport Magglingen
The British have long had a fascination with the Alps. It began in the 18th century with Turner's paintings of the mountains and glaciers, Shelley's and Wordsworth's poetry and then the foundation of the Alpine Club in 1857. By 1865 most of the peaks in Switzerland had been climbed by the British. The Alpine careers of Edward Whymper and Sir Leslie Stephen were brilliant. Between them they made 18 first ascents. Mountaineering as a sport kick-started Swiss tourism and hotels were built all over the country to accommodate the British. They brought with them Anglican churches and the tradition of tea drinking. Over 150 years later, climbing has spawned a huge outdoor industry where excursions to the Himalayas and the Greater Ranges are common; with ice and rock climbing; with the new profession of mountain guides; and with innovative developments in equipment that has changed the nature of outdoor pursuits.
This symposium views the impact of the British in the Alps from a totally new perspective: from aspects of history, literature, technology, science and equipment design.
"My scrambles amongst the Alps ...have given me two of the best things a man can possess – health and friends." Edward Whymper, Scrambles amongst the Alps.
"To look into the future you must first leaf into the past." Mike Parsons, rohantime.
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