Domat/Ems, around 1900

Up until the late Middle Ages, people had shunned mountain tops. With the awakening appreciation of the natural sciences caused by the Enlightenment, however, interest in the exploration of high altitudes also increased. The advent of tourism in the 19th century eventually led to the emergence of alpinism in its modern, sports-related form.

Most mountaineers wore hobnailed boots and were equipped with ice axes to cut footholds in the ice. Crampons, which had already been used by hunters and «Wildheuer» [alpine haymakers working in steep high-altitude meadows] in earlier times, only gradually gained acceptance. Today, crampons with front points are an essential part of the equipment used in high mountain tours.