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-The Alps, the highest mountains in
-Europe stretch over 74,000 miles...
-..through eight countries.
-Home to 14 million people.
-The Alps are under threat
-due to the thousands who flock here.
-Hundreds of miles
-separate Wales and the Alps...
-..but comparisons can be made.
-We face similar problems.
-I'll journey through the mountains
-in search of a solution.
-Matterhorn - The Alpine Mountain
-The next stage takes me
-to the heart of Switzerland...
-..and the country's
-most famous icon.
-I've reached its peak seven times -
-twice on my own.
-The Matterhorn mountain.
-The Swiss have tunnelled
-through the mountains...
-..and use trains to reduce traffic
-problems in the narrow valleys.
-I'm going to Goppenstein Station.
-In order to enter the tunnel,
-I'll drive my car onto the train.
-I'll travel through the tunnel
-I've used this tunnel
-many times in the past...
-..when I climbed
-the Bernese Oberland and Eiger.
-The weather would be terrible.
-I'd travel on this to Zermatt
-to climb in the Matterhorn region.
-Zermatt is the town
-at the foot of the Matterhorn.
-Cars, lorries and buses are banned.
-The only way to arrive is by train,
-which gives time to reminisce.
-The northern face is the most
-challenging climb of the Matterhorn.
-I climbed it on my own in 1973.
-The following year, I returned
-with three friends in the winter.
-We were on our way
-to climb the Matterhorn.
-Before we reached the mountain...
-..about two or three feet
-of fresh snow had fallen.
-It was impossible to find the path
-in the deep snow.
-I was leading and the conditions
-had become very dangerous.
-I was about to suggest
-that we turn back...
-..and attach the rope.
-Suddenly, I lost my grip...
-..and slid down the slope
-in an avalanche.
-I thought I was going to die.
-At the end
-of the 100-yard slope...
-..there was a 1,000-foot drop.
-Luckily, I managed to grab a rock...
-..and cling to it
-as the avalanche swept over me.
-I stopped within five yards
-from the edge.
-I was extremely lucky.
-We reached the summit
-after three cold, tough days.
-All my friends were delighted.
-But the ascent had given me
-frostbite on my toes.
-Climbing and filming
-on the Matterhorn...
-..opened a new chapter
-in my life with the Alps.
-For many people, Zermatt is the
-Mecca of their visit to the Alps.
-The Alps sit on the borders
-of France, Italy and Germany.
-But, in Switzerland,
-they form the centrepiece.
-This is why
-they're important to the country...
-..the economy, tourism
-and the identity of the Swiss...
-..as well as to mountaineers
-and climbers like myself.
-I met an American...
-..who ran an adventure school
-at Zermatt every summer.
-He asked if I'd work for him
-for about eight to ten weeks...
-..running the school's
-I came here every summer
-for five years.
-I spent six weeks
-teaching the Americans to climb...
-..and showing them the mountains.
-It was a happy time for me
-and teaching them was a pleasure.
-I made a lot of American friends
-and I keep in contact with them.
-In the shadow of the Matterhorn,
-climbers gather to tackle the peak.
-must have a professional guide.
-The president of the
-Zermatt Guides Association...
-..is Bettina Sulliger-Perren
-who is the only female guide.
-I recall many instructors
-with the same surname as Bettina...
-..during my time at Zermatt.
-Hello, Bettina. I'm Eric.
-Hello, Bettina. I'm Eric.
-Nice to meet you. Sit down.
-It's a beautiful day.
-It's a beautiful day.
-Did you walk here?
-Did you walk here?
-Some families have done it
-Most of them are in Zermatt.
-and his four brothers were guides.
-We have many visitors at Zermatt...
-..including inexperienced climbers
-who want to scale the Matterhorn.
-They're shocked when we get there.
-It isn't a difficult mountain,
-but you must know how to climb it.
-Bettina has climbed
-to its summit 50 times.
-It's a dangerous mountain,
-but easy to climb on the main route.
-For safety purposes,
-each climber has a mountain guide.
-On average, ten climbers
-are killed on it every year.
-Bettina is preparing to climb
-to the peak again.
-It's difficult to get up early
-to start climbing...
-..but the moon and dawn
-are an amazing sight every time.
-Three friends were killed
-on this striking mountain.
-Two of them had made the ascent
-up the dangerous route safely...
-..but were killed by falling rocks
-descending down an easy route.
-My third friend
-died on the Furgen ridge.
-It's a beautiful mountain...
-..but I feel happiness and sorrow
-when I see it again.
-When I started visiting the Alps...
-..I'd fill a van
-with food and equipment...
-..then drive for three days
-and spend the summer climbing.
-We left when the weather changed
-or when our pockets were empty...
-..but, shortly afterwards,
-we'd plan for the following summer.
-Mountaineering is safer today and
-more people flock to the mountains.
-I see it in Wales and the Alps.
-As in Snowdonia,
-mobile phones are a blessing...
-..and a burden on the mountain.
-People are often unable
-to come down in time.
-They must have an overnight bivvy.
-When they cannot tolerate the cold,
-they phone us to collect them...
-..or their worried families
-call out the rescue teams.
-Often, these people
-aren't in any danger.
-This takes up a lot of our staff
-and our time...
-..when we could be doing other work.
-Usually, people begin climbing
-in the middle of the night.
-It's safer before the sun
-melts the ice...
-..and loosens gravel on the slopes.
-It's one of the biggest dangers.
-Everyone thinks that I'm the boss...
-..but the truth is,
-I have 96 bosses.
-They tell me what to do.
-I find work for the guides, make
-sure the office runs smoothly...
-..keep the guides
-and customers happy...
-..look after the mountain routes...
-..and ensure that
-the safety points are in place.
-It's my job to keep everyone happy.
-Bettina said that many clients are
-surprised to see a female guide...
-..with such a dangerous job,
-who's also a mother.
-I bade farewell to a favourite
-mountain and headed for Austria.
-In the Alps,
-motorways and by-passes...
-..are the solutions
-to their transport problems.
-The beautiful valleys echo
-with the sound of traffic and fumes.
-My journey takes me to Austria...
-Europe's highest weather station...
-..and to a Romansh community
-I begin with another scheme
-to reduce traffic in the Alps.
-Architect, Michael Prachensky
-lives in the Tirol area in Austria.
-He wants to remove traffic
-from the streets...
-..and into a system of tunnels
-and smaller roads.
-His project is called the Talpino.
-The aim is to connect
-Milan and Munich.
-It would be beneficial
-for residents of the Alps...
-..lorry drivers and travellers.
-Prachensky believes that
-a new transport system is needed...
-..as the railway
-belongs to another era.
-I visited Michael Prachensky
-to hear more about his ideas.
-The Brenner Tunnel has
-been under discussion for a year.
-Show me the Talpino.
-This is an interesting
-Talpino project through the Alps.
-It's an ecological project.
-A tunnel of this type
-is greatly needed.
-Traffic levels have doubled
-during the last 15 years.
-In the future, it's expected
-to increase more quickly.
-It'll get rid of all the pollution.
-This project is one
-of the best ideas through the Alps.
-South and north-east Europe
-would be linked by a long tunnel.
-The Talpino system would have many
-carriages to transport lorries.
-These would run independently...
-..so that they could stop and unload
-while other carriages didn't stop.
-It would be driven by a combination
-of magnets and air on rails.
-The project would follow the natural
-contour of the Alpine valleys.
-It would be simple to use
-like any road system.
-The journey from Milan to Munich
-would be 200km shorter...
-..than the present journey
-via the Brenner Pass.
-The Talpino would be made up of
-a system of small 20km tunnels...
-..instead of a single long tunnel.
-The politicians have decided
-to improve the transport system...
-..but how do you persuade them that
-Prachensky's pioneering scheme...
-..is worth serious consideration?
-The residents of Val Lumnezia
-in Switzerland speak Romansh.
-It's one of Switzerland's
-four official languages.
-Only 45,000 people speak it today.
-The mountain village of Vrin
-has a population of 250.
-The locally-born architect,
-for renovating the village.
-Caminada designs buildings
-that complement traditions...
-..and the requirements
-in his home town.
-Gion, I'm Eric. Pleased to me you.
-GION SPEAKS ROMANSH
-Romansh is the only true
-..spoken in Alpine regions.
-Today, the language
-is spoken only in remote valleys.
-Gion employs many local people.
-Creating work in the village
-Romansh derives from Latin.
-What does the future hold
-for this language?
-The fate of Romansh
-depends on combating depopulation.
-Do our communities
-want to preserve the language...
-..and does our society
-think it has any value?
-In addition to
-preserving the language...
-..the area also faces
-the problem of depopulation.
-I design multi-purpose buildings
-to maintain local interest.
-is a centre for people to meet...
-..a gym for children
-and a venue for concerts and plays.
-Caminada wants to
-..by creating work and quality jobs
-as an incentive to stay.
-This fantastic scenery...
-..masks the major changes
-unfolding in the Alps.
-I've witnessed the shrinking of
-glaciers in the Grindelwald area...
-..in the last 20 years.
-This is due to global warming.
-Today, I've come
-to the district of Rauris...
-..to meet Ludwig Rasser,
-a weather expert.
-He works at the weather station
-on the summit of Sonnblick.
-It's the oldest station in Europe.
-Good morning, Ludwig.
-Where's the observatory?
-LUDWIG SPEAKS GERMAN
-How high is it?
-How high is it?
-Scientist, Ludwig Rasser...
-..has worked at Europe's oldest
-weather station for 20 years.
-It's the perfect place
-to detect changes in our weather.
-Only one unsteady cable car
-connects them with the valley below.
-It's winter throughout the year
-at this station.
-Even in the age of satellites, the
-daily data collected by Ludwig...
-..throughout the year, in
-all weather is extremely beneficial.
-LUDWIG SPEAKS GERMAN
-Ludwig has witnessed huge changes
-in the weather in the last decade.
-The number of days when
-snow and ice cover the mountains...
-As a result, there's an increase
-in avalanches, landslides...
-..and the glaciers are melting.
-This station collects information
-about the atmosphere...
-..the rays from the sun...
-..and pollution in the air.
-It's one of the most
-important sites in Europe.
-BOTH SPEAK GERMAN
-It's a lonely life for Ludwig
-and his co-worker in Sonnblick...
-..but their work
-is relevant to us all.
-Ludwig observes the changes...
-..but we must decide
-whether or not to prevent them.
-In the next programme...
-..I visit one of the best
-climbers in the world.
-Join me at the castle
-of the King of the Mountains.
-I return to Switzerland...
-..to hear about the changes
-on the treacherous Eiger mountain.
-S4C subtitles by Tinopolis