Per aspera ad astra (a Latin phrase meaning “Through hardship to the stars”) is a photo exhibition taking place from 19th June to 19th Septmber at Cima Tofana, at the arrival of the highest stretch of the Tofana Freccia nel Cielo cable car. The exhibition looks into the history of mountain guides in Cortina starting from the 19th century through photos and other documents. First launched in 2018 for the 50th anniversary of the cable car, it will be made available also for summer 2021.
The history in the exhibition starts with the first mountain guides in Cortina, with the Viennese mountaineer Paul Grohmann who contributed to creating the profession of the Mountain Guide in Cortina. With his book Wanderungen in den Dolomiten (1877), he helped to popularise the beauty of these areas, making the location famous throughout Europe. The first hotels and the railway were built, and a new profession became available for people who loved the mountains and had detailed knowledge of them: Mountain Guide. The first guides were chamois hunters, who chased their prey on the steepest terrains and mountains, but in 1871, Cortina already had 9 official mountain guides. The number of the guides increased and increased. Among them there are some who have entered the history of mountaineering, such as Antonio Dimai, who accompanied Albert I, King of the Belgians, in his adventures on the Dolomites. Celebrating their deeds and some of their most important climbs with clients is a tribute to a long history and tradition and it is particularly ideal to celebrate it in 2021: 150 years since the first mountain guide in Cortina. Mountaineering has evolved over the years, but Cortina's guides are still among the world's best, also because the Dolomites are still today peaks that all climbers want to conquer and once on the top, after a difficul ascent, they can say they have reached the stars. "For aspera ad astra".