Mountaineering: Since the early Stone Age, the Alps have been climbed up to an altitude of 2,000 metres. Sporting (and scientific) motives have only been of any significance since the beginning of the modern age, and increasingly since the 18th century. In 1862 mountaineers began to organise themselves in various clubs and societies, such as the (Oesterreichischer Alpenverein, the Oesterreichischer Touristen-Klub, the Oesterreichischer Alpenklub, the Oesterreichischer Gebirgsverein and the Oesterreichische Naturfreunde, Touristenverein), which has sparked interest in numerous activities such as the building of mountain refuges and paths, cartography, Mountain Guides and publications. Until the 19th century mountains were climbed in the company of guides. Alpine Skiing also gave a new impetus to mountaineering from around 1890. In the inter-war period mountaineering was often influenced by political, in part anti-Semitic ideologies. In recent decades, peak climbing has been replaced by difficulty climbing, while the use of technology in climbing (anchors, carabiners, etc.) has increased. Since the 1970s, free climbing has become more and more popular as a sports discipline Bubendorfer), and competition climbing has also established itself as a sport.
Mass tourism and mass mountaineering after the Second World War created the demand for an environmentally friendly "soft" tourism and an end to the opening up of mountains through artificial climbing aids was called for. These demands have been increasingly taken into consideration in the rules of the various clubs and associations (sanctuary waste disposal, solar energy etc.) and in international law (Convention for the Protection of the Alps, or Alpine Convention).
In the history of the mountaineering, the Austrians made important achievements: in 1800, the Großglockner was first climbed, in 1804 the Ortler. A considerable proportion of the first ascents of the 14 mountains over 8.0000 m (the "14 eight-thousandths") in the Himalayas took place between 1950 and 1964 by Austrian mountaineers (Hermann Buhl, Kurt Diemberger, Fritz Moravec, M. Schmuck, Herbert Tichy).
The South Tyrolean Reinhold Messner and the Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner belong to the small group of people, who have climbed all 14 eight-thousandths without oxygen, thus confirming the reputation of Austria as a land of alpinists.
The Österreichische Alpenverein ÖAV is the largest alpine association and the largest youth organization in Austria with around 489,000 members (as of July 2015). He is an advocate of the Alps and a legally recognized environmental organization.
Publications of clubs and associations: Land der Berge, 1991ff.
Literature#K. Ziak, Der Mensch and die Berge, 61983; D. Kramer, Der sanfte Tourismus, 1983.