Placing a cross on a summit is a well-established tradition in Switzerland, and particularly in the Valais. Few are the peaks that do not have one.
A new metal cross was helicoptered in on August 18, 2020, to replace the very damaged wooden cross that since 1955 has adorned the Grammont summit at an altitude of 2,171 meters (7,123 feet), above Lake Geneva. The Vouvry Town Commission, Valais, Switzerland, commissioned Denis Pichard, a metal builder, to carry out the project, which is part of the summit crosses tradition of this Catholic canton. This cross measures 4.5 m (14 ft., 9 in.) in height and 2.6 m (8 ft. 6 in.) wide at the cross piece.
“I've been in the scrap iron business for a while and I've made all kinds of parts out of it! But the order for this cross is for me a very beautiful project!”, confided Denis Pichard. The craftsman from Vouvry chose stainless steel for its resistance to corrosion and bad weather. The climatic conditions at the top of Grammont will be harsh. He factored into his calculations the weight of the ice and snow, as well as the strength of a sometimes violent wind. The concrete base has been redone to accommodate the 400 kg (880 lbs.) cross and heightened to deter any untimely climbers. A lightning rod will be installed on the cross.
A poll launched by the Town Commission on its Facebook page allowed 300 people to choose between a metal cross and a wooden one. “The metal version received 68% of the votes,” explained Cédric Vuadens. We had searched the internet and found photos from which we selected these two crosses.” A fundraiser was launched: “We would have been very happy with 7,000-8,000 [Swiss] francs,” smiles the municipal councilor. The fundraising actually brought in 22,000 francs. Enough to finance the project valued at 20,000 francs, including the production of the cross, the helicopter, the concrete base, and the installation.
The blessing of the cross scheduled for August 22, 2020 finally took place on September 12. The new cross now protects hikers and reigns from the summit.