Swiss Alpine Club Attempts to Kerb Geotagging to Reduce Accidents and Death

Julia Schneemann |
The natural beauty of Switzerland has been attracting people in droves. Picture: Julia Schneemann

The Swiss Alpine Club ‘SAC’ has started a media campaign called #nogeotag, with which the SAC is hoping to discourage people from geotagging on social media. The move has been prompted by the Swiss Alps seeing a record number of hikers this summer and accidents and deaths.

Switzerland has experienced a 33% increase in hiking-related accidents and deaths in 2022. This summer, five people have died in the Appenzell district on the hiking route to the Aescher hut alone. Amongst the victims were a 31-year-old Swiss mother and her 5-year-old daughter. There is even a sign on the Aescher hiking path, appealing to people to put a lead on small children, but the 5-year-old was not secured.

Aescher hut
National Geographic described the hut as “Destination of a Lifetime” Picture: Heiko E. @highko_muc on Instagram

The mountain hut in Aescher has been a popular spot due to its incredible location and beauty. In October 2015, the hut was not only featured as one of the “225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places”, but also on the front cover of the National Geographic book “Destinations of a Lifetime.” It is also a long-time favorite among Instagram bloggers and influencers.

National Geographic
Aescher Hut on the cover of National Geographic’s “Destinations of a Lifetime” book, published October 2015, picture: Amazon

However, the hiking path to the picturesque hut is not without danger. The Swiss Alpine Club is convinced that geotagging on social media has contributed to the recent increase in accidents and deaths. “People are influenced by Instagram and other social media. They go somewhere just to take a nice picture, without questioning their own ability”, Martin Künzle of the SAC said. He worries that the beautiful pictures blind people to the actual dangers of the hike.

Swiss Alpine Club
The #nogeotag campaign by the Swiss Alpine Club.

The Swiss Alpine Club stresses that these pictures are not only a danger to hikers but also take their toll on the environment as animals get disturbed, fauna suffers from people not staying on marked paths and littering. Therefore the SAC campaign wants to appeal to people to stop geotagging and relieve some pressure on the fragile Alpine environment.

Have you ever gone somewhere because of an amazing social media photo? Share your story with us!

Hiking in fall in Switzerland, picture: Julia Schneemann

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