Following Wilhelm Paulcke's footsteps
Davide Pravettoni
In occasion of the 40th anniversary from the constitution of the mountaineering school “Guido Della Torre” of Club Alpino Italiano, 17 mountaineers commemorate the historical venture of the german geologist Wilhelm Paulcke and of his companions that in January 1897 first crossed the Bernese Highlands by means of ski. This is considered the first ski-mountaineering raid in the history, that introduced the ski as valid means of transport in the Alps.
During 2015 spring, the ski-mountaineers retraced Paulcke travel itinerary; skis on feet, they trailed sleds with equipment and food for 8 days in the Oberland, the largest glacier in the Alps. They crossed from est to west the Bernese Highlands, covering more than 100 km on high glaciers, 6,000 m of positive difference in altitude through mountain passes over 3,000 m high, in the presence of peaks like Finsteraarhorn, Fiescherhorn, Jungfrau and Aletschhorn, giants of the Switzerland that exceed 4,000 m.a.s.l.

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2015, April 18th. Ski-moutaineers of the mountaineering school “Guido Della Torre” of Club Alpino Italiano carrying their slides containing technical materials and food from Oberwald (1,377 m.a.s.l.) to Grimselpass (2,165 m.a.s.l.) (CH). This ascent of 800 m high and 12 km long was difficult due to the presence of avalanches and icy blocks of snow that completely covered the road.
2015, April 18th. Seven of the 17 ski-moutaineers of the mountaineering school “Guido Della Torre” of Club Alpino Italiano carrying their slides containing technical materials and food from Oberwald (1,377 m.a.s.l.) to Grimselpass (2,165 m.a.s.l.) (CH). This ascent of 800 m high and 12 km long was difficult due to the presence of avalanches and icy blocks of snow that completely covered the road.
2015, april 21st. Ascent of the glacier named Studergletscher (CH) in the Bernese Highlands. A group of ski-mountineers of the mountaineering school “Guido Della Torre” of Club Alpino Italiano at the foothill of the majestic est face of the Finsteraarhorn (4,274 m.a.s.l.), the highest mountain in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. On the right side the shadow of the Studerhorn peack (3,634 m.a.s.l.)
2015, April, 20th. Studergletscher (3,100 m.a.s.l.). Three ski-mountaineers of the mountaineering school “Guido Della Torre” of Club Alpino Italiano dig the ice to obtain a tent emplacement that will protect them from the cold wind of the night.
2015, April, 19th. West side of the Oberaarsee lake (2,500 m.a.s.l.) on the glacier named Oberaargletscher (CH). Tent camp. Sunset on the mountain pass named Oberaarjoch that rapresents the eastern gate for the Bernese Highlands. As soon as the sun disappears, the temperature decreases quickly and the mountaineers have to retire into their tents.
2015, April 20th. Studergletscher (3,100 m.a.s.l). Base camp daily life. On the background the Finsteraarrothorn (3,530 m.a.s.l.) and the Finsterhaarhorn (4,274 m.a.s.l.) respectively on the left and on the right.
2015, April, 24th. Ski-mountineers of the mountaineering school “Guido Della Torre” of Club Alpino Italiano in a sunrise over the Gletscherhornfirn glacier. In the darkness of the foothill there is Konkordiaplatz, a flat glacier 2 km large, born from the junction of four glaciers. Konkordiaplatz is part of a UNESCO World Heritage protected site; it is located at an altitude between 2,700 and 2,800 m.a.s.l. where the ice reaches 900 m of thickness.
2015, April, 24th. Ski-mountaineers of the mountaineering school “Guido Della Torre” of Club Alpino Italiano" walking toward the summit of the Äbeni Flue (3,962 m.a.s.l.). The large southern face of the Jungfrau (4,158 m.a.s.l.) towers the scene. On the background, on the right, the white summit of the Mönch (4,105 m.a.s.l.) is visible and, behind it, the Eiger (3,970 m.a.s.l.).
2015, April, 24th. A ski-moutaineer of the mountaineering school “Guido Della Torre” of Club Alpino Italiano comes back to the base camp on the Grosser Aletschfirn glacier after the Äbeni Flue ascent. The camp was near the Hollandiahutte, a refuge located next to the Lötschenlücke pass (3,164 m.a.s.l.), the western gate of the Bernese Highlands.

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