THE ALPS: Under Mont Blanc

Since Caesar's legions and Hannibal's elephants crossed the Alps on footpaths, man has been waging a slow battle to conquer Europe's rock curtain. In 1800 Napoleon widened the Alpine trails and made them military roads. By 1820 the St. Gotthard pass had been widened to 18 feet, enough for two-way carriage traffic, but only in summer. Then in 1870 the eight-mile Mount Cenis railway tunnel, an engineering marvel in its day, was holed through.

Last week the Alps faced their final defeat. As soon as the snow clears this spring, a French-Italian-Swiss company...

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