Thieves scale formidable climbing route in Switzerland to steal from donation box

NEW DELHI: Switzerland has been left shocked after brazen thieves scaled one of its most formidable climbing routes just to break into a donation box — perched at an altitude of 2,400 metres — that might have carried around 500 Swiss francs (around Rs. 50,000).
The thieves ascended to an altitude of 2,350 metres and traversed gorges on narrow steel cables, according to a report by the BBC.
The donation box, which belongs to a local climbing club, is accessible only to the most experienced climbers.
Switzerland’s longest protected climbing route — on the Gemmi pass above Leukerbad village — is known as a via ferrata and is classed as level 5, the most difficult, and involves serious climbing as well as ascending ladders bolted into the vertical rock face, and traversing gorges on narrow steel cables.
“What kind of people are these? The climbing club looks after the via ferrata for no salary, we don’t ask for anything, and now someone has stolen the money donated to maintain it,” wrote the climbing club on its Facebook page.
The donation box was found smashed open and empty. The thieves were not just good climbers but came equipped to break the donation box “with brute force”.
As per the BBC report, the thieves continued their ascent, with the money, to the top of the Dauberhorn, at 2,941 metres.
The climbing club is not sure exactly how much money was stolen, but club member and mountain guide Richard Werlen told the BBC it was likely to be at least 400-500 Swiss francs.
The Swiss are proud of their voluntary work maintaining hiking paths and climbing routes. A donation for such effort is expected, and gladly given, by large parts of the population.
For the moment, the climbing club is hoping that whoever stole the money will suffer from “a guilty conscience”, and quietly return it.
And Richard Werlen had some consolation to report. This morning, a local benefactor sent in 500 francs to replace the stolen donations, the BBC report said.

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