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The Swiss Alpine Club (German: Schweizer Alpen-Club, French: Club Alpin Suisse, Italian: Club Alpino Svizzero, Romansh: Club Alpin Svizzer) is the largest mountaineering club in Switzerland. It was founded in 1863 in Olten and it is now composed of 111 sections with 110,000 members (2006). These include the Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club.
The Swiss Alpine Club was the first Alpine club founded in continental Europe after the foundation of the Alpine Club (1857) in London. One of the founders and the first president of the Club was Dr. Melchior Ulrich; other members were Gottlieb Samuel Studer and Dr. Simler. The inaugural meeting was held in Olten.
With the increasing number of climbers, steps had to be taken to make the approach to the mountains a little less complicated and exhausting. Until mountain huts were built, there had been no choice for the climbers other than sleeping in the highest chalets or in a bivouac under some overhanging rocks and, in both cases, firewood had to be carried up. The Swiss Alpine Club during the first twenty-five years of its existence contributed to build thirty-eight huts, of which the oldest was the Grünhorn hut on the Tödi (1863), followed by the Trift hut, near the Dammastock (1864). The Matterhorn hut was built in 1865, the Mountet in 1871, the Weisshorn hut in 1876, the Concordia on the Aletsch glacier and the Boval hut in 1877.
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