First ascent - Tödi, the Alpine Club’s First Mountain

English gentlemen found the Alpine Club in 1857 and climb peak after peak in the Alps. The "Golden Age of Alpinism" has dawned, and now the onrush by the British has to be countered.

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Rudolf Theodor Simler, Lecturer in Chemistry and Mineralogy at the University of Bern invites "35 Swiss mountain climbers and glacier hikers" to the station buffet in Olten on April 19, 1863. There they "constitute themselves into the Swiss Alpine Club." Simler becomes central president, and designates the Tödi and Clariden region as the first area of exploration. The Tödi Section makes a simple shelter with a hay camp available at the ascent route along the Biferten Glacier: The Grünhorn Hut is the first SAC Hut.

Simler is not a man of exceeding modesty. In a "brief text" he tries to prove he was the first to ascend the 3614-meter peak of Piz Russein. He claims to have beaten his guide, Gabriel Zweifel, who was afraid of the last narrow ridge – today called the Simlergrat. Simmler thus unleashes a controversy about the first ascent of Mt. Tödi, which lasts for 50 years.

Thanks to the shelter of the hut and the excellent local guides, the Tödi becomes quite the rage as a mountain towards the end of the 19th century. And it has remained to this day a sought-after and demanding mountain destination – in summer with pick-axe and crampons, in winter with skis.

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