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SCRAMBLES AMONGST THE ALPS IN THE YEARS 1860 - 1869 Edward Whymper 2002 New Paperback Multiple Copies Available
By Whymper, Edward
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2002 [1871]. National Geographic edition. 414 pp, many b/w ills. New Paperback.

An improved reprint of the first mountaineering bestseller. The first ascent of the Matterhorn, and the ensuing tragedy on the descent. One of the first books devoted to the sheer thrill of mountaineering, Scrambles Amongst the Alps details Edward Whymper's breathtaking first ascent of the Matterhorn and the tragic accident that befell his team on the way down. Originally published in 1871.

When he first saw the Alps in 1860, Edward Whymper was a 20-year-old English wood engraver whose dream was to become an arctic explorer. Ambitious and hungry for adventure, he fell in love with the challenge the Alps presented and set out to conquer them peak by peak. Whymper made quick work of the challenge, racking up dozens of first ascents and acquiring a reputation as one of the best in the nascent field of mountaineering.

But on the Matterhorn, considered to be mountaineering’s Holy Grail at the time, Whymper met with failure again and again. On his eighth attempted ascent he finally succeeded, becoming the first man to reach its magnificent peak. The victory came at a heavy cost, however, as Whymper watched four of his companions fall to their deaths on the descent. It was a tragedy that would cast a shadow over the remainder of his life.

Published in 1871, Scrambles Amongst the Alps is Whymper’s own story of his nine years spent climbing in the Alps. One of the first books devoted to the sheer thrill of mountaineering, it is a breathtaking account of the triumph of man over mountain in a time before thermal clothing, nylon ropes, global positioning systems, and air rescues. It also offers Whymper’s controversial story of the tragedy on the Matterhorn. One of the best adventure books of all time, Scrambles Amongst the Alps is an essential classic of climbing literature by one of mountaineering’s most legendary figures.

 
Matterhorn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Matterhorn (German) or Cervino (Italian), (French: Mont Cervin or Le Cervin) is perhaps the most familiar mountain in the European Alps. On the border between Switzerland and Italy, it towers over the Swiss village of Zermatt and the Italian village Breuil-Cervinia in the Val Tournanche. The mountain derives its name from the German words Matte, meaning meadow, and Horn, which means peak.

The Matterhorn has four faces, facing the four compass points, the north face overlooking the Zmutt Valley, the south face Breuil-Cervinia, the east and west faces looking towards the Gornergrat and the Dent d'Hérens,respectively, with the north and south faces meeting to form a shorteast-west summit ridge. The faces are steep, and only small patches ofsnow and ice cling to them; regular avalanches send the snow down to accumulate on the glaciers at the base of each face. The Hörnli ridge of the northeast (in the center of the view from Zermatt) is the usual climbing route.

Climbing

The Matterhorn was climbed later than most of the main mountains of the Alps, not because of its technical difficulty, but because of the fear it inspired in early mountaineers. The first serious attempts began around 1857,mostly from the Italian side; but despite appearances, the southernroutes are harder, and parties repeatedly found themselves on difficultrock and had to turn back.

It was not until 14 July 1865, after several failed attempts and some nationalistically motivated backstabbing, that the party of Edward Whymper, Charles Hudson, Lord Francis Douglas, and Douglas Robert Hadow was able to reach the summit, along with Michel Crozand the two Peter Taugwalders (father and son). The party tried theHörnli route and found it considerably easier than expected. On thedescent, Hadow slipped, knocking Croz off his feet, and dragging Hudsonand Douglas with him.  rope connecting them to the other three menbroke; the four fell to their deaths on the Matterhorn Glacier 1,400metres (4,600 ft) below. The bodies of all but Douglas were laterfound, and are buried in the Zermatt churchyard. Whymper's ascent isconsidered to be the last of the golden age of alpinism.

Three days later, on 17 July,a party led by Jean-Antoine Carrel reached the summit from the Italianside. Julius Elliott made the second ascent from the Zermatt side, in 1868, and in the same year John Tyndall traversed the summit, together with J. J. Maquinaz and J. P. Maquinaz. In 1871, Lucy Walker became the first woman to stand on top of the mountain, followed a few weeks later by her rival Meta Brevoort.

Today, all ridges and faces of the Matterhorn have been ascended in all seasons, and mountain guides take a large number of people up the Hörnli route each summer. By modern standards, the climb is fairly difficult (AD Difficulty rating), but not hard for skilled mountaineers. There are fixed ropes on parts of the route to help. Still, because of the scale of the climb and inherent dangers, inexperience, falling rocks, and over crowded routes, several climbers die each year. The usual pattern is to take the Schwarzsee cable car up from Zermatt, hike up to the Hörnli-hütte (elev. 3,260 m/10,695 ft), a large stone building at the base of the main ridge, and spend the night. The next day the climber rises at 3:30 am, so as to reach the summit and descend before the regular afternoon clouds and storms come in.

Other routes on the mountain include the Italian ridge, first ascent by Jean-Antoine Carrel and Jean-Baptiste Bich on 17 July 1865), the Zmutt ridge (first ascent by Albert F. Mummery, Alex­ander Burgener, J. Petrus and A. Gentinetta on 3 September 1879) and the north face route, one of the six classic north faces in the Alps (first ascent by Franz and Toni Schmid on 31 July–1 August 1931).

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