Oct 3, 2012

Mountain Cleaners as a Profession: THAT's What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

Ask any ten year old what they want to be when they grow up...

....and you'll get a lot of firemen, some policemen, a few teachers and a super-hero or two, but one profession I've never heard is “Mountain Cleaner.”

Now that I've seen a mountain cleaner,
I bet a lot of ten year olds would want to be one.

There's a mountainside in Salzburg where Tom and I once hiked that requires regular cleaning.  Guys in teams of two hang alongside the vertical rock face to break away loose stones and monitor cracks and crevices to prevent rubble from falling onto roofs or roads below.....
 The plant roots are very strong and loosen stone easily.

The rock debris can weigh between 330 and 440 pounds (although in Europe they'd shiver to hear you say pounds instead of kilos) and have to be removed safely all year long, rain or shine, sleet or snow.

Mountain cleaning as a true profession is over 300 years old, having begun after a big rockslide in 1669 that killed over 200 people. The men who do this work are typically stonemasons and bricklayers.

So..... now I want to see how many kids want to be a mountain cleaner when they grow up.

Photo: the rock wall in Salzburg with the town hemmed in at the base.  You can see why they wouldn't want boulders falling all willy nilly.  Sorry for the bad photo, I have some I took in person but they are stored safely on a hard drive somewhere that I'll probably never see again.  But they're safe!

This info. comes from a very cool documentary I saw on AXS.tv.  Check out that channel, it's pretty much.... awesome.

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