Maestri delle Altezze” – Storia delle Guide Alpine di Ayas

Il libro delle Guide


A 50 anni dalla costituzione della Società Guide Champoluc-Ayas, avvenuta il 25 novembre 1962, le guide e gli autori del libro hanno voluto ricostruire la storia della Società e quella dei personaggi che ne hanno reso possibile la nascita e di tutti coloro che tuttora, pur con tempi e modi diversi, ne sono parte.

Cercando di recuperare con pazienza e perseveranza fotografie ingiallite dal tempo e testimonianze ormai ammantate di leggenda, si è voluto risalire anche alle vicende delle prime guide d’Ayas, ricostruendo un profilo storico che prende l’avvio alla fine dell’Ottocento, per fissare ogni ricordo prima che venga cancellato dal tempo e dall’oblio.

Dedichiamo il nostro lavoro al dottor Ezio Zorio, presidente storico della Società, purtroppo mancato poco prima che quest’opera fosse pubblicata, e a tutte le guide che non ci sono più, ma hanno fatto parte della nostra Società e continuano a vivere nei nostri ricordi.

Crediamo che questa pubblicazione possa avere una valenza storica e culturale per la comunità di Ayas in quanto  veicolo di informazione, approfondimento e conoscenza della nostra storia e delle nostre radici.

Alfredo Favre
Presidente della Società Guide Champoluc-Ayas

 Per informazione e acquisto del libro scrivere una mail a

The mountain Guide in Ayas


The mountain guide’s trade in Ayas started only at the beginning of the XIXth century; at his time in the neighbouring valleys the Mountain guides were already a large number, thanks to Queen Margherita’s stays (in the Gressoney valley) and to the conquest of Matterhorn (in Valtournenche and in Zermatt valleys).

This new trade soon becomes an important economic profit for the community, improving the low-income since yet based on breeding and agriculture. The first licensed mountain guide in Ayas was Giuseppe Favre, called “Morich”, from Antagnod; he was born in 1874, he first became bearer in 1899 and finally Guide in 1902; he has been a true “Lord of the Mountains” and he considered alpinism as a nobility. He climbed Lyskamm 56 times and he died when he was 82 years old.

The “first-generation’s” mountain guides included also Fosson Benjamin and Fosson Antoine “Fiere”, Obert Battista “Tatcha, Frachey Jean Baptiste “Bernosin”, Favre Joseph “Envers”, Favre Louis “L’on pipe” and Brunod Alexis “Friche“ called “the fox of Ayas”.Before the First World War many nobles and important and well-known people of Italy became clients of the Ayas mountain guide; moreover, very often the Guide were ingaged for the whole season just by one alpinist.

After the First World War


During this period sprang up the first hotels, favouring the growth of tourism; some of them were created by the mountain guides. The trade of the mountain guide was more and more longed-for, especially for his high profits. In the Thirties a second-generation of mountain guides come forward and it constitutes the first mountain guide’s society, similar to those of Courmayeur and Valtournenche; however, this society wasn’t a success because each guide continued to work on one’s own.

At the beginning of the Sixties times were changed: a new economic welfare take root and a large number of skilifts were constructed on the glaciers; thanks to this improvement, a large number of people began to frequent mountain resorts and therefore the mountain guide’s trade needed to be fitted to the new demands.

The Sixties


The establishment of the new “Guide’s Society of Champoluc-Ayas” took place in 1962 thanks to Toni Gobbi from Courmayeur, the Aosta Valley Guide’s president, Ezio Zorio from Biella, who became the first president and Luciano Beltrame, who became the administrative secretary.

The guides of Ayas decided to establish an own seat: the “Maison des Guides” (Guide’s House); a “rascard” (a typical house made of wood) of 1713 is dismantled and then transported in the centre of Champoluc; the building is reassembled on a basement made of a local stone (“greenstone”). This work is done by the guides and the funds are found thanks to some donations and to the mortgage on the building itself.

The new seat is inaugurated on the 15th of August 1965, “Guide’s day celebration” and it is the first “Guide’s House” that has a radio link with his mountain huts (waiting for the telephone…!)

The foundations members


The foundations members , including guides and bearers, were 15:

Frachey Sylvain “de Resé ”,
Bieller Giuseppe “Pinotin”,
Favre Antonio “Piumetta”,
Frachey Ernesto Frachey Luigi Frachey Biagio and Frachey Oliviero “li Bernosin”,
Fosson Giuseppe “Carra”,
Colli Giorgio,
Favre Umberto and Augusto “Manté”,
Dondeynaz Giuseppe“ Castel”,
Gaillard Marco,
Favre Alberto and Fosson Giancarlo.
There were two more honorary guides: Ezio Zorio and Luciano Beltrame.

The most sincerely thanks to all these mountain guides, since they had been a great example for the future guide’s generations, especially for their passion, skill and devotion to their job.



During the following years, thanks to the great prestige conquered by the Guide’s Society, a new generation of mountain guides begin to co-operate with the older one. In 1980 the guides of Champoluc-Ayas organize a high mountain expedition in the Nepalese Himalaya range, where they reach 7100 meters in the region of Churen Himal.

Today the Guide’s Society of Champoluc-Ayas) has 16 permanent members.

History Gallery