Carrying Goods in the Alps, Switzerland

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
If you live in a low level country, you cannot imagine how hard it is to get goods into a country of mountains. Switzerland is in the heart of the high Alps, where road building is not easy. The country is very rough, the mountains rise sharply from the valleys, and swift streams dash down the sides of the slopes. It is only through skill and patient labor that roads have been made at all. Yet Switzerland has the greatest need of good roads. It depends on outside countries for many of its supplies. It has a heavy population to feed and to clothe-250 people to the square mile. Besides, it is the playground of Europe, and a center for American tourists. There are hotels built in the most difficult places to reach. Sometimes they are on the very tops of mountain peaks. These hotels are full of guests, all of whom must have supplies. To get the needed goods to some of these places is indeed a serious problem. The problem is solved by the peasants. The natives are used to carrying heavy burdens. They carry the manure to fertilize their fields. They carry their hay and grain to the barns, and their vegetables to the villages. Old women, girls, boys, middle-aged women and men, all take their part of the burdens on their shoulders. The men in the view are carrying goods up a steep bridle path to Zermatt, a famous summer resort. Zermatt is 5,000 feet above the sea level. By looking down the road you can tell how sharp the climb is. Their bundles are heavy. Each of them has an alpenstock-a stick with a steel spike in one end-to help their footing. The world has many ways of carrying goods. But none is harder than the one here pictured. Keystone ID: 10793 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.