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Mountaineering: Since the early Stone Age, the Alps have been climbed up to an altitude of 2,000 metres. Sporting (and scientific) motives have only been of any significance since the beginning of the modern age, and increasingly since the 18th century. In 1862 mountaineers began to organise themselves in various clubs and societies, such as the (Österreichischer Alpenverein, the Österreichischer Touristen-Klub, the Österreichischer Alpenklub, the Österreichischer Gebirgsverein and the Österreichische Naturfreunde, Touristenverein), which has sparked interest in numerous activities such as the building of mountain refuges and paths, cartography, Mountain Guides and publications. Until the 19th century mountains were climbed in the company of guides. Alpine Skiing also gave a new impetus to mountaineering from around 1890. In the inter-war period mountaineering was often influenced by political, in part anti-Semitic ideologies. In recent decades, peak climbing has been replaced by difficulty climbing, while the use of technology in climbing (anchors, carabiners, etc.) has increased. Since the 1970s, free climbing has become more and more popular as a sports discipline Bubendorfer), and competition climbing has also established itself as a sport.
Mass tourism and mass mountaineering after the Second World War created the demand for an environmentally friendly "soft" tourism and an end to the opening up of mountains through artificial climbing aids was called for. These demands have been increasingly taken into consideration in the rules of the various clubs and associations (sanctuary waste disposal, solar energy etc.) and in international law (Convention for the Protection of the Alps, or Alpine Convention).
Austrians have made significant contributions to the development of climbing and mountaineering. The Großglockner peak was climbed for the first time in 1800 and the Ortler peak in 1804. Between 1950 and 1964 many of the 14 Himalayan peaks exceeding 8,000 metres were first ascended by Austrian mountaineers such as (H. Buhl, K. Diemberger, F. Moravec, M. Schmuck, H. Tichy). In 1993, the umbrella organisation of Austrian Alpine Clubs and Societies (VAVÖ) had 407,494 members.
Publications of clubs and associations: Land der Berge, 1991ff.
Literature: K. Ziak, Der Mensch and die Berge, 61983; D. Kramer, Der sanfte Tourismus, 1983.