The history of Mountain Guides of Macugnaga is interwoven with the story of mountaneering which started in the 1700’s. The East wall of the Monte Rosa attracted many mountaineers from many different areas and from this was born the Alpine Guide profession. As simple porters these men became expert Guides able to easily scale the Monte Rosa.
Within the great names of the 1800’s emerged these Alpine Guides Ferdinand Imseng, Gabriel Spechtenhauser and Giovanni Oberto. The first lost his life in 1881 with Damiano Marinelli in the couloir which was named after him.
In the same period, the Alpine Guide Giovanni Oberto accompanied the then future Pope Ratti on the East wall of the Monte Rosa; this earned him the name of “guide of the Pope”.
An important figure in the small community of Macugnaga was Mattia Zurbriggen. Mountain Guides from Macugnaga accompanied him on various expeditions around the world: Nicola Lanti, Giuseppe Muller and Luigi Burgener.
From the 30’s onwards there was a continued succession of Alpine Guides with varied experience and expertise : Gaspare Oberto, Zaverio Zurbriggen, Pietro Pironi, Felice and Clementino Jacchini. From the Guides emerged Giuseppe Oberto who was nominated for the national CAI expedition at Gasherbrum.
Then followed Jacchini, Pierino Corsi, brothers Costantino and Michele Pala, Felice Jacchini, Ernesto Fich and Gildo Burgener. In the 60’s Luciano Bettineschi, Felice Jacchini, Lino Pironi, Michele Pala and Carlo Jacchini were the first to successfully climb the Dufour Peak in the winter. Luciano Bettineschi, otherwise known as “the snowcat”, made a pathway called “Traversata dei Camosci” which became one of the most popular routes on the Monte Rosa.