On 9 May 1869, German and Austrian mountaineers founded the German Alpine Association as a „bourgeois mountaineering association“. In 150 years, the DAV grew to become the world's largest mountaineering association and the nature conservation association with the largest number of members, as well as one of the largest sports associations in Germany. Today, it unites around 1.3 million members in over 350 independent associations, the so-called sections. In the DAV hikers, tourers, climbers, nature conservationists, hut owners, family groups, ski mountaineers, expedition participants, mountain bikers and culture lovers find like-minded people. They all share a common passion: love of the mountains and movement in the unique natural environment of the mountains, which must be preserved for future generations. The main pillar of the DAV is voluntary work: more than 26,700 volunteers spend around 1.8 million hours a year on the committees and sections of the association, which is run on a voluntary basis. In addition to its ideological and political independence, the DAV is particularly competent in all areas of mountaineering.
Leisure mountain sports
The core activity of the DAV is traditionally the leisure-oriented mountain sport, in its origins mountaineering and hiking. The members, young or old, beginner or expert, woman or man, can all choose from a fascinating spectrum of more than 165,000 activities. The spectrum ranges from simple hikes to climbing tours, from ski weekends to alpine tours, from mountain biking to via ferrata. In addition, there are more than 5,000 urban sports facilities, which, together with the more than 200 climbing facilities operated by the DAV, round off the wide range of activities on offer in the sections. The varied mountaineering programme is designed and supported by around 20,000 licensed DAV tour and course guides for all forms of mountaineering throughout Germany. Families, children, young people, the elderly and people with and without disabilities, all generations are motivated to exercise in the community through appropriate activities. Thus the DAV unites all those interested in mountaineering as well as the alpine landscape and culture and in this way assumes an important cross-sectional and bridging function in society.
Safety and training
Safety in mountaineering and alpine training are of central importance. Whether hiking, sport climbing, mountaineering, rafting or mountaineering - mountain experiences not only offer fun and community experiences, but also demand the relevant skills and knowledge. To make mountaineering even safer, the DAV offers beginners and professionals well-founded alpine training and further education. The aim is to promote the conscientious handling of risks in nature and self-responsible mountaineering.
Nature and environment
The DAV acts as an "advocate" for the protection and sustainable development of the Alps and low mountain ranges. As unique habitats with their special biological diversity and rich cultural heritage, they must be preserved in a special way. The declared aim is to bring mountain sports and nature conservation into harmony. This means that mountaineering should be carried out in a way that is compatible with nature, environmentally friendly and climate-friendly, and that the infrastructure required for mountaineering should be ecologically oriented. Since 2005, the DAV has been a nationally recognised nature conservation association and can comment on nature conservation procedures. Important concerns of the DAV's nature conservation policy are, among other things, an ecological and environmentally friendly travel to the mountains, a nature-friendly spatial planning and the commitment against further ski resort development.
Huts and paths
The network of over 320 publicly accessible huts with over 20,400 sleeping places, approx. 800,000 overnight stays/year and 30,000 kilometres of paths forms an indispensable infrastructure for mountaineering. Since its foundation, maintaining it has been one of the most important tasks of the DAV. The equipment and operation of the huts are based equally on mountaineering and ecological criteria. This means that the latest technologies, such as wastewater treatment technologies and regenerative energies, are used in high-alpine accommodation - even in extreme alpine locations. The voluntary maintenance and marking of existing paths and trails enables all mountaineers to enjoy low-risk nature experiences without placing unnecessary burdens on nature. A total of around 16 million euros are invested annually in the huts and paths.
As a professional association for mountaineering within the German Olympic Sports Federation, the DAV is responsible for sports climbing, ski mountaineering and competitive mountaineering (expeditions) in the field of competitive sports. At the national and international championships in ski mountaineering, endurance talents prove their skills. The Alpine Club also focuses on promoting young talent in the expedition sector. Young, talented mountaineers can advance professionally in "expedition cadres", each with a three-year duration. With the Olympic perspective of climbing in 2020 in Tokyo, sport climbing is taking on a new dimension. For many years now, the DAV has offered the best climbers the opportunity to compete at state and federal level as well as in international competitions.
Science, Culture and History
From the very beginning, science and alpine research have been anchored in the statutory purpose of the DAV. The "Haus des Alpinismus" in Munich is a central forum which not only houses the Alpine Museum and the DAV Archive, but also the world's largest specialist alpine library with more than 70,000 media. Together with well-founded event series, the museum programme and the regional cultural activities of the sections, the DAV offers a platform for mountain lovers of all kinds who want to find out and exchange information about Alpine history and its connection to social developments. In this way, the passion of individuals becomes the culture of many.
Information about the DAV, its sections, its work and offers can be found on www.alpenverein.de (German)