Alpine Footpaths in Austria

Some Related Facts

On the one hand:

  1. The equatorial circumference of Planet Earth is 40,075 km;
  2. The equatorial diameter of Planet Earth is 12,756 km;
  3. The length of the footpath from Land’s End to John o’Groats is 1.368 km.

On the other hand, the ÖAV claims that:

  1. "The Alpine clubs ÖAV and DAV jointly take care of a 40,000 km long network of trails in the Austrian Alps;"
  2. "The Austrian Alpine Club alone maintains 26,000 km of trails."
  3. The ÖAV maintains 200,000 signs (presumably on their 26,000 km of trails.)

The Obvious Comments

That's a very considerable maintenance task! What do they really mean by "take care of" and "maintain"? In the UK, nearly all mountain footpaths are maintained solely by the footfall that created them. We 'real' mountaineers can cope with anything that footpaths throw at us, and we don't really need footpaths at all.

The 200,000 signs on their 26,000 km of trails indicates that they are to be found at an average interval of just 130m.. Yes, I understand that they are expectedly clustered at trail junctions – (where else would you need them) – but the average spacing is still 130m. In the UK, such signs are not used, firstly because we all know how to use maps, and secondly because we refuse to have our beautiful countryside spoilt by signs promoting what are all-too-often commercial enterprises.

Are such neat trails and so many signs considered necessary to attract and ensure the safety of those who are not genuine mountaineers, in order to enhance hut revenues? What other likely reason might there be?



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