Mountain shoulder

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The mountain shoulder of the Axalp above Lake Brienz, Bernese Oberland
The upper shoulder of the Bödele with a view of Lake Constance

A mountain shoulder is a common type of terrain in the mountains that forms a distinctive transition from a steep slope to a flatter slope or an opposite slope.

The name refers to the shape of the shoulder of a living being of contemporary fauna and includes both local elevations (extensive humps in the terrain) on mountain slopes as well as steps parallel to the slope , which can extend hundreds of meters and show their shoulder shape only from a side view.

Flat mountain shoulder created by Ice Age moraines

The formation of mountain shoulders is usually the result of uneven erosion of the rock, e.g. B. by different types of rock , structure or rock hardness. But there are also tectonic causes (e.g. thrust faults) or local deposits such as moraines .

Castles and aristocratic residences were often built on steep mountain shoulders near the valley . At medium altitudes there are numerous mountain farms , individual hamlets and alpine pastures . Small mountain shoulders offer a good position for transmitter masts , cable car supports or material ropeways . In the high mountains , numerous shelters have been built on mountain shoulders because the slight slope makes construction easier. At the same time, the location protects against avalanches , torrents and mudslides. Mountain huts built on such hills or steps are visible to the mountaineer from afar and on the other hand offer a good panoramic view.