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Climb up, cool down If you can’t stand the heat … head up a mountain

As the mercury climbs in Switzerland, so are many people – heading up mountains in search of lower temperatures and glaciers on which to ski or snowboard.

This summer is the driest on record in Switzerland since 1921, with temperatures in cities set to peak at around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) next week.

Although the record of 41.5C (set in Grono, southeast Switzerland, in 2003) is unlikely to be broken this year, the heatwave is playing havoc with crops and water levels. The authorities have banned fires in or near virtually all forests – several cantons have banned fires anywhere outdoors – and the country’s nuclear power plants are struggling to keep cool.

Not that everyone’s complaining. Lakes and rivers are teeming with overheated locals and tourists and owners of restaurants and bars are rubbing their sweaty hands.

Those wanting to cool down without getting wet can head to the mountains, where the temperature is around a pleasant 19C at 2,000 metres (6,562 feet) and 10C at 3,000 metres. The 0C freezing line is at 4,500 metres.

While few people will be tempted to reach the summit of the Matterhorn (4,478 metres) or the Dufourspitze, Switzerland’s highest point at 4,634 metres, many have been enjoying the benefits of a bit of altitude around the country.

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