|Title||Using Climber's Guidebooks to Assess Rock Fall Patterns Over Large Spatial and Decadal Temporal Scales: An Example from the Swiss Alps|
|Source||Geografiska annaler. Series A, Physical Geography 97 (2015)4. - ISSN 0435-3676 - p. 793 - 807.|
Soil Geography and Landscape
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Abstract||High-mountain geomorphic processes enjoy increasing scientific and societal interest. This is because these processes are perceived to be changing more than elsewhere and because their effects on infrastructure and tourism are significant. Rock fall is among the processes that receive most attention due to its presumed intimate relation with permafrost, which is widely degrading. However, over decadal temporal scales and for entire mountain ranges, there is very limited information on the changes in frequency and location of rock fall. This hampers our understanding. Here, I assess the value of information contained in a 146-year record of climber's guidebooks of the Bernese Alps in Switzerland to derive changes in rock fall danger. The results show that guidebooks’ authors, themselves experienced climbers, perceived increases in rates and changes in positions of rock fall. The increases were mainly reported since the year 2000. It appears that datasets derived from guidebooks can provide valuable context for more detailed, higher resolution data sources.