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Item #: BK2492-156
SHADOW OF THE MATTERHORN: THE LIFE OF EDWARD WHYMPER Ian Smith 2011 1st UK edition DJ New
By Smith, Ian
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Detailed Product Description
Short Listed as a Finalist for the 2011 Boardman Tasker Prize
 
UK, 2011, 1st UK edition. 336 pp, many B/W illustrations by Edward Whymper, plus modern color photos. In 1865 Edward Whymper was the second mountaineering Superstar (the first was Albert Smith 15 years earlier), and his ascent of the Matterhorn electrified England where the new sport of mountain climbing was captivating both the gentlemen of means who took up the sport, and the masses of people who read about climbing in the newspapers, magazines and books of the day.
 
Richly illustrated with Whymper’s engravings and previously unpublished photographs, this biography – the first in 70 years – uses new material from archives around the world, and from Whymper’s family, to give a fuller picture of this artisan from London, who had such an impact on the story of mountaineering.
 
A new assessment of Whymper’s achievements comes with previously unknown details about his remarkable family, and his short–lived marriage. Whymper’s diaries and notebooks are used here for the first time to show his dry, self–deprecating sense of humour, and his unusual perceptiveness about the Greenlanders and the people he met in Ecuador.
 
When just twenty-five years of age, Edward Whymper crowned a meteoric climbing career with the first ascent of the Matterhorn, the last great unclimbed summit in the Alps. However, this triumph came with a notoriety and a lasting sorrow due to the catastrophic accident on the descent that killed 4 climbers.
 
Whymper then turned his attention to the Arctic and made two adventurous expeditions to north west Greenland, described here for the first time. A remarkably successful trip to Ecuador, where he climbed Chimborazo and the country’s other highest mountains and camped on the rim of Cotopaxi, a live volcano, and established the modus operandi for expeditions to the greater ranges. His 1892 book about the Andes, Travels amongst the Great Andes of the Equator, was also a bestseller.
 
From a large family in south London Whymper trained as a wood engraver, and this craft provided his living and financed his travels. His mountaineering achievements have overshadowed his distinction as an engraver, but new research shows the importance of his book illustrations. A talented writer, Whymper produced one of the finest and earliest best-selling mountaineering books ever written, Scrambles amongst the Alps, about his heroic quest for the Matterhorn.

Ian Smith provides a sympathetic picture of a complex and misunderstood person, whose youthful exuberance matured into the ambition to be known as an explorer. Hardcover, with Dust Jacket, New.


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