Guests on the mountain – people were more daring in the summit book

First summit poles, then crosses
However, this is a comparatively young phenomenon, as Christof Thöny, historian and founding chairman of the Klostertal Museum Association, knows: “The forerunners of the crosses were summit poles, which were mainly used for land surveying and the creation of the basic cadastre. The first crosses on Vorarlberg’s mountain peaks were erected in the interwar period.” According to Thöny, there was a real boom after 1945, when so-called homecoming crosses were built in many places. These logistically difficult undertakings were often carried out in memory of the fallen and to thank the healthy people who returned home. “Initially the material had to be laboriously carried up the mountain. The cross erected on the Roggelskopf in 1937 is the first of its kind in the Klostertal region,” reports the historian. The tradition of summit books is closely interwoven with the history of the summit crosses. Today these can often be found in a metal box attached to the cross. They act as guest books for the mountains; there has been an effort to document one’s own achievements since the beginning of alpinism. “Anton Neyer, the first to climb Zimba, recorded his summit victory in 1848 on a note and left it in a tin can as evidence for later visitors to the mountain,” says Thöny.

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