- Published: 24 October 2015
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Walter Amstutz (1900–1997)
When Walter Amstutz established the foundation in 1993 he could look back on a long and successful life. He was active professionally both as Director of the Tourist Office of San Moritz and as a publisher (Amstutz & Herdig, de Clivo Press). In the mountaineering world he was co-founder of the Swiss Academic Ski Club, co-organizer of the Anglo-Swiss Race in Mürren, and inventor of the “Kilomètre lancé” (Speed-Skiing). He made the first ascent of the Blüemlisalp North Face, and was the first person to ascend the Eiger on skis. In 1984 he received the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his promotion of Anglo-Swiss relations.
King Albert I and Walter Amstutz met in 1929 at the banquet of the Anglo-Swiss Race in Mürren. Amstutz later recalled, “Over hors d’oeuvres the king asked me if I would accompany him on a small ski-tour in the Schilthorn region.” Thus began a friendship that would extend beyond mountaineering.
The King of Belgium and the son of the hotelier from Mürren undertook many tours together, especially in the Bergell and in the Engelhörner. “The world mourns for a great aristocrat,” wrote Amstutz after the king’s fatal accident. “Many climbing and skiing tours in Switzerland and the Tyrol connected me with this great and noble personage, at whose bier I mourn with great sorrow. We were privileged to share six years of partnership on a rope with King Albert.”