Landschaft bei Pfeffingen. Foto/Photo: TES

The Swiss Alpine Club and Section Basel

The Schweizer Alpen-Club was founded on 19 April 1863, six years after the foundation of the British Alpine Club in London and a year after the foundation of the Österreichische Alpenverein. The SAC initially focused on activities in the Alps. In the wake of mainly British mountaineers, its primary focus was climbing peaks. 

The SAC had seven Sektionen in 1863 (Aarau, Basel, Bern, Diablerets Lausanne, St Gallen, Glarus (Tödi) and Zurich (Uto) with 358 members. Today, the SAC has over 150,000 members, 110 sections (Sektionen) and 22 subsections (Untersektionen). 

The highest location of its 153 huts is the Mönchsjochhütte (3 657 m), 200 metres higher than the Jungfraujoch. The Grünhornhütte (2 448 metres) from 1863 is the first SAC hut, today a monument and small museum.

Photo’s: The George Starkey Hut

The SAC has even contributed to a hut in England. The Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club (ABMSAC) runs the George Starkey Hut at Patterdale in the Lake District. The SAC supported this initiative financially, and since 4 October 1975, the SAC’s emblem has been displayed on the hut’s front door.

Gradually, the association expanded its activities, sections and membership. Today, the SAC offers many activities for young and old, such as hiking, cross-country skiing, snow hiking, cycling, mountain biking and ski tours, climbing and mountaineering, paragliding, courses, lectures and other educational activities.

The SAC publishes (digital) books, the monthly magazine Die Alpen and numerous other publications and guides. SAC members are affiliated with a local (sub) section, which also organises activities. The Basel section was founded in 1863.

The hiking trail Dittingen-Pfeffingen

The Basel Section’s annual day (Jahresfest) for its members traditionally starts with a hike and climbing and nowadays also a parcours for mountain bikers, and ends with the honouring of jubilees and reception followed by dinner.

The silver cup for 50 years of membership

Some jubilarians have been (active) members for 70 years and have covered thousands of the approximately 40,000 kilometres of recognised hiking trails in Switzerland, not to mention participating in other SAC activities.

Old border stones near Pfeffingen of canton Bern and canton Basel-Landschaft. The Laufental was part of canton Bern from 1815 to 1994.

One of this year’s Jahresfest hikes went from Dittingen to Pfeffingen and its famous ruins. Even for members who have been members for 70 years, every Jura hike is a voyage of discovery with vines, meadows, deciduous and coniferous forests, mountains, streams and fens, flora and fauna, culture and history and views as far as the Black Forest and the Alps.

(Source and further information: Schweizer Alpine-Club

The church of Dittingen

The countryside near Pfeffingen

The ruins of Pfeffingen Castle

The Waldschule Pfeffingen

Gilgenberg Castle

Thierstein Castle 

The Goetheanum,  Reichenberg Castle (l), Birseck Castle (m) and the ruins of Dorneck Castle (r).

The Chrischrona Tower near Bettingen (canton Basel-Stadt)

The tower of Gempen

Some impressions of the hiking trail