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    Alpau Eric Jones

    • Ended
    • S4/C
    • 30 mins
    • Adventure

    In the three-part Alpau Eric Jones he explores the famous range of the Alps, meeting some of the climbers and characters that live there and investigating the threats this high wilderness faces.

    He is reunited with world famous Reinhold Messner, the first man to scale Everest without oxygen tanks. Messner is an old friend of Eric's from two expeditions to the Himalayas, including the oxygen-less 1977 Everest expedition.

    Eric also meets the man known as the Rebel Farmer who grows lemons at a staggering 6,000ft and visits mountain villages facing depopulation issues, similar to those of Snowdonia.

    "It's been really interesting for me because I got to visit areas that climbers don't usually visit," says Eric.

    "I went to see the building of the huge tunnel below the Gothard Pass which will allow traffic from Milan to Munich to travel under the mountains by train.

    "They started building it in the middle, creating a huge shaft which will actually become a resort. People will be able to take a train into the mountains, get off in the middle and go up the shaft to ski.

    "The scheme will cut pollution in the mountains and bring work to the people in the Alps."

    Not all the development in the Alps have been so beneficial.

    "Messner made the point that the Alps have become more sanitised now and that a lot of the lifts should be taken down so that the adventure returns.

    "In the old days you had to cycle up the mountain passes to actually get to the climbs. Mountaineers wore tweed jackets and leather boots. It was much harder then and their achievements were greater because of it."

    1 season

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