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46

Stairs are easier to walk than rocky paths. In ancient times they allowed royalty more leisurely access to sacred mountains symbolizing their high rank in society, while commoners were likely restricted to walking older foot paths (if they were even allowed on top). Today all 'pilgrims' are afforded the ease of stairs. In Europe a lot of mountain top ...


30

To add to the other answers, some paths my be susceptible to soil erosion - from foot traffic and rainfall. This eventually makes some sections almost impassable for some people, as well as damaging the terrain and surrounding vegetation. I have seen this first hand in Hong Kong. For example: So in many places, steps are built. In HK these were ...


13

When many people climb the same path every day, natural rocks become smooth, slippery and dangerous. An example in Europe is the path to Château de Montségur in the french Pyrenees. Stairs are less prone to such wear over time.


8

The best I can recommend to you is to become a member of the German Alpine Club (Deutscher Alpenverein, DAV) or the Austrian Alpine Club (ÖAV, all links in German). Membership costs varies depending on the "Sektion" you choose to become a member of (you can choose freely and I know many people who choose one purely based on cost) but is in the range of EUR50 ...


8

European point of view: Back in the times (or what I was told many years ago by some locals) is that they would let a donkey lead the group to find the path of least resistance. The natural instincts of the animal would find the best path for climbing (wonder what IQ is required ... as opposed to humans :) Considering they used the mules and such for loads/...


7

I'm very familiar with the European alps, but not at all familiar with the sacred mountains in China. So I can only address why stairs are rare in the alps: You mentioned hiking up the sacred mountains. The peak isn't that important in the Alps, so paths rarely take the shortest route to the peak. Instead you have a whole network of paths that link various ...


6

I have another possible explanation that I cannot corraborate with online sources at this time. I visited Japan several years ago, and as one does (and should definitely do), I visited many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines while there. I believe it was a Buddhist temple (as opposed to a shrine) where I first noticed two sets of stairs. There was a ...


3

As far as I know UIAA is a federation of climbing and mountaineering clubs, you can see the full list here: http://www.theuiaa.org/member-federations.html. E.g. in the UK the only full member of UIAA is the British Mountaineering Council, and you can sign up to the BMA. In Poland there is the PZA, which again is a local federation of clubs. Which means that ...


3

This link shows what looks to be the same peak: Birishiri of Shusong Durgapur, Netrokona The exact image you show is also named as Birishiri on this blog and Durgapur Upazila, Bangladesh on Panoramio saying: This picture is taken from Birisiri, Shusong-Durgapur. Photographer is unknown, do not be confuse because I found this picture from friend of ...


2

I would say just based on the photos (and I realize they are just examples) that whether or not you build stairs or switchbacks would depend entirely on the landscape, the composition of the mountain, and surrounding vegetation. If I were to try to plan a path to the top of the mountain, I would look at what I had to work with. If I had the real estate to ...


2

Your question seems to arise from Wikipedia which says: Only members of a national UIAA club are allowed to climb the peak on their own. Other visitors have to take a certified mountain guide. As has been pointed out in the other answer by @Grzenio (to whom +1), you can not be a member of the UIAA but of a national member club, as correctly stated in ...



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