«Enough of new crosses on the peaks of the mountains, those present will not be touched»- Corriere.it

«Enough of new crosses on the peaks of the mountains, those present will not be touched»- Corriere.it

Of Paolo Virtuani

The position of the Italian Alpine Club ignites the controversy: "The current ones will not be touched, but the peaks must be neutral territory". But in the meantime the guides of Alagna have already removed them: «We will put them in a memorial»

On the Balmenhorn, summit of the group Monte Rosa of 4,167 meters, there is a bronze blessing Christ almost 4 meters high. "No one thinks of removing it, just as no one thinks of moving, out of respect and for historical reasons, the crosses present on almost all the peaks of the Rosa", says Andrea Enzio, president of the Alagna Alpine Guides Corps. There are 327 summit crosses in the Alps, some of which have been in place for centuries. A recent article by Pietro Lacasella on the web portal of the Italian Alpine Club (Cai) has reopened the debate on whether it still makes sense to plant new ones, while strongly reiterating that no one intends to dismantle the existing ones. Some of which, especially in the Dolomites, Ortles-Adamello, the Asiago plateau, Pasubio and Monte Grappa, are linked to dramatic episodes of the Great War. A theme that was then explored at the Catholic University of Milan during the presentation of the book Summit crosses in the Apennines by Ines Millesimi, who surveyed 68 crosses.

The position of Cai

«If on the one hand the removal campaigns are inappropriate, on the other it reveals itself the raising of new ones is anachronistic crosses: it would perhaps be more appropriate to understand the peaks as a neutral territory, capable of bringing together distant cultures, but endowed with equal dignity», writes Lacasella. Cai's position is that which appeared in another article on the portal: «Cai looks with respect at the existing crosses, takes care of their state and, if necessary, takes care of their maintenance (cleaning them of stickers, restoring them in case of abrupt collapses, …). This is because - it is right to highlight it once more - removing them would be like erasing a trace of our journey; an imprint to look at to inhabit the present with greater awareness».

According to the Swiss Alpine Club (Cas), summit crosses in the Alps have been documented since the year 327 of our era. The Cas has dedicated extensive documentation to the subject, giving space to the various positions.

The debate

The Mountain Wilderness association has long been campaigning against the installation of new crosses and other evidence on Italian peaks. And he recalls extravagant initiatives, such as a wooden dinosaur placed on the peak of Pelmo, in the Dolomites, where in fact dinosaur footprints had been found. The debate a few years ago was also taken up in an article by future,
who invited "not to trivialize those sacred symbols".

Clean up the mountain

"Already in 1993 we had started an initiative to clear paths of crosses, tombstones, statuettes and testimonies of relatives and acquaintances of those who had lost their lives in the mountains", recalls Enzio. «On some of the ascent routes to Monte Rosa there are 3-4 tombstones right in the middle of the route. We intend to take up this idea without disrespecting anyone. We just want to collect them to reunite them in a sort of memorial, which we have already identified in a small chapel near the Pastore Refuge. We don't want to ban anything,” he adds. "It's just a suggestion that we make, together with the Municipality, so as not to scatter the mountain of 'memories'".

June 23, 2023 (change June 23, 2023 | 3:55 pm)

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