The Lorentan Park, inaugurated in 2015, honours Erhard Lorentan, from Bulle, who went on to be one of the greatest mountaineers of all time.
April 28 1959 – April 28 2011: 52 years of a busy and full life, was that of Erhard Lorentan. If the apple tree in the neighbouring property already fascinated the happy child, it was not for the fruit, but for its high branches: « I am hanging from the branches of the tree that had the good idea to grow next to the house «. His first grazes on the rough bark taught him to overcome these little injuries in order to reach the top of the tree.
A few years later, it’s on the mountain tops that surrounded his horizon that he practiced his climbing, « I would have done anything to go to the mountains «. But the higher you go the more you realize that the horizon is moving further away…. It is then necessary to climb even higher. The vertiginous route of Erhard, took him from the Fribourg Alps to the peaks of the Himalayas, from the Dent de Broc in 1970 (1829m) to Kanchenjunga on the 5th October 1995 (8586m). And this is how he found himself on top of the 14 highest peaks in the world, all culminating over 8000 meters. Reinhold Messner and Jerzy Kukuczka being the only ones ever to have successfully climbed these peaks before him.
Even though he had visited all these continents, happily sharing his experiences with his climbing partners, local communities and his many admirers at conferences or television programmes, it was in his native Gruyere that he resided, protected by the Gastlosen, his first loves. The land on which the boy had learnt how to climb was still as green, the ideal occasion to build a park in memory of the local child that became a great mountaineer. The Alpine club of Gruyere worked together with the project developers, the parish of Bulle – La Tour gave their consent for the creation of the Erhard Loretan memorial, and the town of Bulle is participating financially in its development and its sustainability. The extent of the sponsoring ,be it by companies or individuals, meets the expectations of the initiators; the creation of the Lorentan Park has now ended. With its 14 apple trees, a climbing block and a wall seat that symbolizes the life story of Erhard on his homeland. It’s sort of a homecoming.
The Loretan Park is situated between the Rue de Montsalvens and the Rue de l’Abbé Bovet.
There is also a Loretan application, available for i0S smartphones that gives access to videos made by Erhard Loretan during his ascents. It can be downloaded from this site www.memorial-loretan.ch.