The villagers of the isolated Walser communities had to work hard to survive the harsh Alpine weather and long, snowy winters. They had to clear timber, till the rocky soil, shape the land into meadows and fields, build houses, and produce everything necessary to feed their families and animals during the long winters. The difficulties in transport and their isolation made them fiercely independent and proud. Among their cultural characteristics are their farm houses.
(The two paragraphs above are paraphrased from Sharp, H. 2007. Tour of Monte Rosa, A Trekking Guide. Cicerone Press, Cumbria, UK, 166p.)
At least, pure cold water was plentiful. Washing clothing by hand in a stone tub was hard work.
Hiking note: the Tour of Monte Rosa is one of the grand Alpine treks with spectacular scenery and the opportunity to cross glaciers and many passes. Most people start and end in Zermatt, making a 10-12-day circular route. Highly recommended! All photographs taken with a Fuji F31fd digital camera.
Sharp, H. 2007. Tour of Monte Rosa, a Trekking Guide. Cicerone Press, Milnhorpe Cumbria, UK, 166p.