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Rope team on the summit ridge of the Großvenediger
Mountaineers descending from the Aiguille du Midi
The summit cross of the Zugspitze
Tony Grubhofer : rope team (1899)

The climbing is a form of mountain sports , and includes various activities in rock ( rock climbing , alpine climbing ), corn snow , glaciers and ice ( high tour ), or a combination thereof, to the height of mountain climbing in the oxygen-poor regions of seven- and eight-thousand . Winter mountaineering includes ski tours , snowshoe tours or ice climbing . Mountaineering at great heights or in remote regions is known as expedition mountaineering . As a rule, people whose occupation takes them into the mountains ( hunters , packers ) are not referred to as mountaineers.

In a broader sense, mountaineering is also referred to as alpinism and includes activities such as mountain hiking , alpine hiking and trekking , exploring and cartography of unknown mountain areas , as well as nature conservation and mountain guides .

Past and present

The high mountains were largely avoided by hikers and travelers until well into the 18th century. There was also no cult that gave mountaineering a religious exaggeration. "Since you had never been forced to go there, you didn't know whether it was even possible" and "climbing a fairly vertical wall is no worse than walking over hot coals" writes Paul Veyne about the history of the Alpinism. The first ascent of Mont Ventoux ( 1912  m ) on April 26, 1336 by Francesco Petrarca , on the other hand, the ascent of Mont Aiguille ( 2085  m ) by a mercenary troop , commanded by Charles VIII , is considered to be the hour of birth of mountaineering . Since these two first ascents found their way into the literature, they became far better known than the successful ascent of the 3538  m high Rocciamelone by Bonifacio Rotario d'Asti in 1358 .

St. Niklaus in the Swiss canton of Valais is considered to be the cradle of professional mountaineering in the second half of the 19th century, where the world's first mountain guide museum was established.

In the past, mountaineering and the associated expeditions were also called mountain trips .

The fact that mountaineering is more than mountaineering and climbing is manifested in the fact that mountaineering is an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO . The appointment was made in 2019 at the instigation of the French Alpine Club Fédération Française des Club Alpins et de Montagne, together with the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) and the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI). The basis for this was the definition of alpinism presented by the three Alpine associations of UNESCO:

“Alpinism is the art of climbing peaks and walls using your own physical and mental strength. Natural, not artificial, obstacles must be overcome, risks assessed and accepted. It's about personal responsibility, solidarity with others and respect for nature. "

Important events

Ancient and Middle Ages

Early modern age

18th and 19th centuries


  • 1902 - On January 10th, the first winter ascent of the Weisshorn ( 4505  m ) by Josef Lochmatter .
  • 1907 - The Trishul (Garhwalhimalaya) is the first seven-thousander to be climbed by an Anglo-French expedition.
  • 1908 - Development of the ten-pointed crampon by Oscar Eckenstein .
  • until 1911 - ascent of the 68th four-thousand-meter peak in the Alps by Karl Blodig (all four-thousand-meter peaks in the Alps according to his counting method) under the leadership of Josef Knubel .
  • 1913 - First ascent of Denali (Alaska's highest mountain).
  • 1915–1918 - The First World War is also waged in the Alps and thousands of soldiers of the warring parties are killed in avalanches (" Alpine War ")
  • 1917 - First ski ascent of the 4545  m high cathedral by Josef Knubel
  • 1924 - The first ascent of Wiesenbach Horns by Willo Welzenbach and Franz Riegele is the first ice picks beaten.
  • 1924 - During the 3rd British Everest expedition , Edward Felix Norton reached an altitude of 8,572 m and thus set a new, long-standing height record. On this expedition, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine disappear without a trace in a storm on the summit.
  • 1927 - Ascent of Peak Lenin by Karl Wien , Eugene Allwein and Erwin Schneider as part of the German-Russian expedition to the Pamir (led by Willi Rickmer Rickmers ).
  • 1932 - Founding of the UIAA - Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme; First German expedition to Nanga Parbat: German-American Himalaya Expedition 1932 .
  • 1934 - Four members of the expedition die during the German Nanga Parbat expedition in 1934 , including the expedition leader Willy Merkl.
  • 1936 - Establishment of the German Himalaya Foundation to promote expeditions in the Himalayas, especially on the Nanga Parbat .
  • 1937 - During another major expedition to Nanga Parbat, 16 climbers (seven Germans and nine Sherpas ) are buried under an avalanche.
  • July 1938 - first ascent of the Eiger north face - the last " great north face " is conquered.
  • 1939 - Fritz Wiessner had to break off the ascent on K2 just below the summit. Four men died in the retreat.
  • 1948 - Establishment of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) .
  • 1950 - The Annapurna is the first eight-thousander to be climbed without additional oxygen by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal , who was honored by naming the summit Pointe Lachenal .
  • 1953 - Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climb the highest mountain in the world - Mount Everest .
  • 1953 - Hermann Buhl climbs the Nanga Parbat . This is the only time in history that a person has climbed an eight-thousander single-handedly. After Annapurna, this is the second first ascent of an eight-thousander that has been carried out without additional oxygen. The mountain is known as the “Germans' mountain of fate” and, next to K2, the most difficult eight-thousander.
  • 1954 - First ascent of K2 by the Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli on July 31st.
  • 1959 - Controversial first ascent of Cerro Torre in Patagonia by Cesare Maestri and Toni Egger . Egger dies on the descent, there is no evidence of the summit success.
  • 1961 - Winter ascent of the north face of the Eiger by Toni Hiebeler and friends.
  • 1964 - Shisha Pangma is the last eight-thousander to be climbed by a Chinese expedition.
  • 1966 - The "wedding" of the Direttissime - first ascent of the John Harlin Direttissima in the Eiger north face in February and March.
  • 1970 - First crossing of the Nanga Parbat by Reinhold Messner and his brother Günther , who dies in the Diamir flank .
  • 1970 - First ascent of Lhotse Shar by Rolf Walter and Sepp Mayerl
  • 1971 - Cesare Maestri returns to Cerro Torre and bores his way to the summit.
  • 1973 - Publication of the scale of difficulty still valid today - the UIAA scale (meanwhile "opened" upwards)
  • 1977 - The VI. Grade - up to then the highest level of difficulty in rock climbing - is surpassed by Helmut Kiene and Reinhard Karl : They open the Pumprisse in the Wilder Kaiser - the first tour with difficulty level VII.
  • 1978 - Peter Habeler and Reinhold Messner climb Mount Everest as the first people without an oxygen device.
  • 1986 - Reinhold Messner is the first person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders . The Canadian Pat Morrow also achieved the goal of climbing the highest peak on each continent ( Seven Summits ). 13 experienced mountaineers will die on K2 this year.
  • 1987 - Jerzy Kukuczka is the second person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders.
  • 1991 - Robert Jasper manages the first solo ascent of the Les Droites north face in 3.5 hours over the "Ginat-Jackson Route" 1000m, ED. The fastest ascent of the Grandes Jorasses north face via the Shroud Route 1000 meters, ED in 2 hours and 20 minutes, is achieved by Robert Jasper with subsequent crossing of the summit chain in the same year. In the same year, the German mountain guide Robert Jasper made the first solo ascent of "Spitverdonesque endente" VIII- / A1 Eiger north face, in just 4 hours, and the first solo ascent of "Löcherspiel" VII / UIAA Eiger north face.
  • 1992 - Robert Jasper succeeds in the "Trilogy Enchainment" on Mt.Blanc. This achievement by Robert Jasper was named one of the greatest alpine achievements in France. It was Grand Pillier d´Angle north face solo first ascent of a new route (800 m, ED-, 90 °) in 2.5 hours, descent over the south face into the Freney basin and ascent to Mt.Blanc via the route “Abonimette "(800 m, ED-, VI, 85 °)
  • 1994 - Robert Jasper achieves the fastest and first one-day ascent of Cerro Torre with Jörn Heller in 16.5 hours from Camp Bridwell.
  • 1997 - Robert Jasper and Daniela Jasper climb the modern “free” mixed grade M8-, 450m in the alpine terrain on Mont Blanc du Tacul for the first time with the route “Vol de Nuit” .
  • 1994 - Stefan Glowacz defines a trilogy of the three most difficult alpine climbing routes in the world at the time, Des Kaiser's new clothes X + / 8b + (first ascent by Stefan Glowacz), Silbergeier X + / 8b + (first ascent by Beat Kammerlander ) and End of silence X / 8b (first ascent by Thomas Huber ).
  • 1996 - 12 climbers (mostly members of commercial expeditions) die on Mount Everest on May 10th , which was followed by a broad discussion about commercial expedition mountaineering .
  • 1999 - Robert Jasper and Daniela Jasper , the German mountaineering couple, opened the first route with difficulty level X- / 8a through one of the three very large north faces of the Alps , the Eiger north face with the route “Symphonie de liberte´” and set so for the first time the modern free climbing impulse in this high alpine dimension.

After 2000

Famous mountaineers and climbers

Well-known mountaineers have always achieved their fame through special alpine achievements such as first ascents.

  • Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard first climbed Mont Blanc on August 8, 1786
  • Edward Whymper became famous in 1865 for the first ascent of the Matterhorn .
  • Anderl Heckmair became famous (together with Heinrich Harrer , Fritz Kasparek and Ludwig Vörg ) in 1938 with the first ascent of the Eiger north face. The former was later followed by the first ascent of the Carstensz pyramid in New Guinea .
  • Edmund Hillary climbed in 1953 along with Tenzing Norgay was the first to Mount Everest .
  • Hermann Buhl was one of the world's best climbers of the 1950s and was the first to climb two eight-thousanders.
  • Walter Bonatti was significantly involved in the most difficult rock climbing in the Western Alps in the 1950s and 1960s . He became known for his solo ascent of the Bonatti pillar named after him in 1955 on the Petit Dru .
  • Reinhold Messner , one of the world's most famous mountaineers, caused a sensation in the 1960s not only in the Alps with his daring climbs. From 1970 to 1986 he was the first to climb all 14 eight-thousanders .
  • Karl Unterkircher managed to climb the two highest eight-thousanders (Everest and K2) within 63 days in 2004 and was included in the Guinness Book of Records.
  • Ueli Steck , one of the best solo climbers, climbed the north face of the Eiger at the age of 18. As in 2007 and 2008, he set a new speed record there in 2015 and climbed the 1800 meter high wall in a time of 2:22:50 hours via the classic Heckmair route.
  • Robert Jasper , one of the most successful extreme mountaineers, climbed the Eiger north face for the first time at the age of 17 , and with routes such as the first ascent of "Odyssey" X / 8a + the most difficult route in the Eiger north face or the first free ascent of the Route "No Siesta" in the Grandes Jorasses north face 1100m, M8 / ED + onsight modern alpinism.
  • Oh Eun-Sun , one of the most successful high altitude climbers in the world. She is probably the first woman to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders and is also the first woman to have climbed four eight-thousanders within a year. However, one of her summit successes (on Kangchenjunga) is doubted.

For an extensive list of many well-known alpinists, see List of Famous Mountaineers .

Clubs and organizations


  • Rainer Amstädter: Mountaineering . WUV, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-85114-273-X .
  • Uli Auffermann : Decision in the wall: milestones of alpinism. When passion has many faces. Schall-Verlag, Alland 2010, ISBN 978-3-900533-62-5 .
  • Hermann von Barth : From the Northern Limestone Alps ; Climbs and experiences in the mountains of Berchtesgaden, the Algäu, the Innthales, the Isar source area and the Wetterstein; With explanatory contributions to the orography and hypsometry of the Northern Limestone Alps, with lythographed mountain profiles and horizontal projections based on the author's original sketches . Heinrich Hugendubel, Munich 1874. ( Digitized version (PDF; 86 MB)). (Facsimile: Fines Mundi Verlag, Saarbrücken 2008)
  • Luisa Francia : The lower heaven. Women in icy heights . Nymphenburger, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-485-00813-3 (about female mountaineers).
  • Peter Grupp: Fascination Mountain. The history of alpinism. Böhlau, Cologne 2008, ISBN 978-3-412-20086-2 .
  • Martin Krauss : The porter was always there beforehand. The history of hiking and mountaineering in the Alps . Nagel & Kimche, Zurich 2013, ISBN 978-3-312-00558-1 .
  • Paul Meinherz: Alpinism. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Sherry B. Ortner: The world of Sherpas. Life and death on Mount Everest ("Life & Death on Mt. Everest. Sherpas & Himalayan Mountaineer"). Lübbe-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 2000, ISBN 3-7857-2025-4 (ethnological study).
  • Hans-Günter Richardi: The development of the Dolomites. In the footsteps of the pioneers Paul Grohmann and Viktor Wolf-Glanvell in the pale mountains . Athesia-Verlag, Bozen 2008, ISBN 978-88-8266-524-1 .
  • Horace-Bénédict de Saussure : Short report from a trip to the summit of Mont Blanc, in August 1787 . Academic bookshop, Strasbourg 1788. (Facsimile: Fines Mundi Verlag, Saarbrücken 2008)
  • Martin Scharfe : Mountain Addiction: A Cultural History of Early Alpinism 1750–1850 . Böhlau, Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-3-205-77641-3 .
  • Pit Schubert : Safety and risk on rock and ice. 2nd Edition. Rother, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7633-6000-X .
  • Helmuth Zebhauser: Alpinism in the Hitler State. Rother, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-7633-8102-3 .
  • Mountaineering, of course . DAV brochure with information on environmentally friendly mountaineering (PDF)


  1. ^ Georg Sojer, Pepi Stückl: Mountaineering. , Bruckmann, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7654-3948-7 , PROFIL No. 22, 49, volume, May 28, 2018, Sebastian Hofer: Steilvorlage, We are where up there: From Almräuschen, ice falls, pine forests and the Ask why the Austrians only really come to themselves in the Alps. A search for traces in the land of mountains.
  2. ^ Die Welt, October 15, 2004, accessed on August 28, 2017.
  3. Hans Gasser: Intangible cultural heritage: For the true art of mountaineering., December 14, 2019, accessed December 19, 2019 .
  4. Peter Grupp : Fascination Mountain: The History of Alpinism . Böhlau, 2008, ISBN 3-412-20086-7 , pp. 24 .
  5. Peter Grupp: Fascination Mountain: The History of Alpinism . Böhlau, 2008, ISBN 3-412-20086-7 , pp. 24 .
  6. Bernal Díaz del Castillo : The True Story of the Conquest of Mexico . Ed .: Georg A. Narciß. Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-458-32767-3 , p. 89 (Spanish: Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España .).
  7. perche '1573? (No longer available online.) Museo del Legno di Arischia, archived from the original on September 28, 2013 ; Retrieved January 29, 2011 (Italian).
  8. The cradle of alpinism. From the Ankogel to the mountains of the world. Documentary. 2012.
  9. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate . Rotten Verlag, Visp 2013, ISBN 3-907624-48-3 . P. 146.
  10. a b Eberhard Jurgalski: General Info. In: Retrieved October 21, 2016 .
  11. a b c solo ascent , on
  12. Francois Damilano: snoe, ice and mixed. volume 2, ISBN 2-9521881-4-9 .
  13. ^ Karl Hausemann: Alpine tours of the Bernese Alps. Part: 4th Jungfrau region: Tschingelhorn, Eiger, Fiescherhörner, Finsteraarhorn. SAC-Verlag, Bern 2010, ISBN 978-3-85902-308-6 .
  14.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.climband  

Web links

Commons : Mountaineering  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Mountaineering  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Extreme mountaineering  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Extreme mountaineer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Bergsteiger  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations