Fifty Switzerlands in One

From the Article

It was that English mountaineer, riding his own coattail, who coined the slogan “Fifty Switzerlands in one.” The C.P.R. brought out Edward Whymper for several seasons in a row to provide marketing and facility advice to advance the sport of mountaineering along their line in the west.

He showed up with several Swiss guides in his own retinue while I was at Glacier House. They did little climbing, their primary purpose being to keep him upright, for despite his celebrity the man was a notorious curmudgeon and drunkard. But his phrase caught on.

The idea of providing guides for tourists is attributed to Van Horne, but it really came from an early climber, who could see the general public needed help to explore safely beyond the hotel grounds. Van Horne thought it a good suggestion, and brought out two qualified guides from Switzerland that summer, in 1899. By the time I showed up in 1903, their numbers had expanded, and they tended alpine flocks at the hotels at Lake Louise, Field and Glacier.

To greet each train as they did would have stiffened me with mortification. It seemed akin to being a sidewalk cigar-store Indian, but the Swiss endured it with stoicism.

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