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GERVASUTTI'S CLIMBS Giusti Gervasutti 1957 1st UK ed Hardcover DJ Near Fine 2 copies available
By Gervasutti, Giusti
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London, 1957, 1st English edition. 201 pp, 15 b/w plates. Maroon hardcover with silver titles on spine and Near Fine dust jacket. Book is Near Fine.

Biography of a leading Italian climber of the 30's who made many new routes in the Dolomites and Mont Blanc Range. Gervasutti was a leading Italian mountaineer who made many difficult ascents in the Dolomites and Mont Blanc range. He was killed while attempting a new route on Mont Blanc du Tacul. This is his autobiography, published in English 11 years after his death. It includes accounts of his solo ascent of the Matterhorn, north face of the Drus, east face of the Grandes Jorasses, and the Piliers de Fresney route on Mont Blanc. 

“Gervasutti's Climbs was first published in English in 1957 and has long been an out-of-print prize for collectors of climbing literature. Gervasutti, a leading Italian alpinist of the 1930s, had been killed in 1946 attempting what is now called me Gervasutti Pillar on Mont Blanc du Tacul. The autobiography covers a whole mass of adventures across the Dolomites and Western Alps and contains an abundance of compelling reading. Nevermind not having a first edition it's the words that matter.”

Geoff Birtles, "Crags” 1979, June/July, No.19, p. 36

“The final chapter of Gervasutti's Climbs is an attempt to answer briefly the question climbers frequently ask themselves: Why? The summary answer, an interpretive effort to assign values to a man's life of climbing, falls somewhat short in that it issues from the 'contemplative side of mountaineering' in which Giusto Gervasutti does not fully believe. His real answers come through the philosophy in action which best emerges from the precise but not laboriously detailed accounts of his climbs in the Alps, Andes, and Dolomites.

The intensity of action which evolves and informs the entire book at once affirms and extends Gervasutti's succinct explanation that he climbs because of 'the ecstasy of creation' which comes from doing, not from contemplating. (…)Through the stimulating, sometimes nerve-wracking descriptions of his Laocoon-like struggles with the mountains and through the reflective pauses in the narrative, Gervasutti develops an aesthetics of mountaineering which is not unlike some eighteenth and nineteenth century aesthetics of fine arts.
 
'Heroic but unnecessary action' is in the same spirit as Kant's aesthetic which emphasizes 'disinterestedness,' art for its own sake without moral and utilitarian encumbrances. Mountaineering for its own sake, for the 'moments when the sense of life is heightened by tension and struggle' is Gervasutti's way of answering the question: why?

Gervasutti's Climbs is in the best tradition of mountaineering autobiography and addresses every kind of climber, from the contemplative to the aggressive militant. It contains that 'certain measure of mystery and poetry' which Giusto Gervasutti so much admired while describing fully and precisely those exalted moments of intense feeling on ice, snow, and rock.”

Gary Harrison, “Climbing”, 1979, July-August, No 55, p. 38-40

Contents

FOREWORD by Lucien Devies

One:  Initiation

Cima Grande di Lavaredo—Cima Piccola di Lavaredo—Campanile di Val Montanaia—North wall of Monte Siera—Chamonix—Aiguille

Verte—Grepon

Two : 1932

Nordend of Monte Rosa—Winter mountaineering—Furggen ridge of the Matterhorn—Aiguille Verte—Aiguille du Moine—Dolomites: north­west wall of the Tone Coldai—North ridge of the Civetta—Videsott route on the Pan di Zucchero—West wall of the Tone Venezia— Attempt on the Solleder-Lettenbauer route on the Civetta—Pale di San Martino—Spigolo del Velo della Cima della Madona—Sass Maor, east

wall

Three : 1933

Torn di Vajolet—Cima di Fiammes—Pic Gamba—Traverse of the Rochers de la Brenva—Traverse of the Aiguilles du Diable—Mont Blanc du Tacul—South ridge of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey— Attempt on the north face of the Grandes Jorasses—Grepon by the Mer

de Glace face

Four: 1934

Expedition to the Andes—First ascents of the Picco Matteoda, Cerro Campione d'ltalia and another unclimbed peak

Five : 1934

Tre Cime di Lavaredo—Campanile di Brabante—Second attempt on the north face of the Grandes Jorasses—First ascent of the east face of Mont Blanc du Tacul—First ascent of the north-west face of the Olan — Videsott route on the Busazza—Attempt on the south ridge of the

Tone Trieste

Six : 1935

First ascent of the east wall of Mont Emilius—Second ascent of the north face of the Grandes Jorasses—First ascent of Pic Adolphe Rey— Attempt on the east pillar of Mont Blanc du Tacul—Attempt on the Petites Jorasses— The Hirondelles ridge—Spigolo of the Cima Fiammes —La Guglia de Amicis—Via Comici on the Ditto di Dio—Civetta, Solleder-Lettenbauer route—First ascent of the south-east ridge of the

Pic Gaspard

Seven : 1936

First ascent of the north-west wall of the Ailefroide

Eight: 1936

Christmas: solo ascent of the Matterhorn from the Italian side

Nine: 1937

Requin by the Mayer-Dibona route—North face of the Petit Dru

Ten : 1938

Bocealatte route on the east face of the Aiguille de la Brenva—Attempt on the Walker spur of the Grandes Jorasses—First ascent of the south-south-west face of the Picco Gugliermina

Eleven : 1939 to 1942

First ascent of the Piliers de Fresney route on Mont Blanc—Two attempts and first ascent of the east wall of the Grandes Jorasses

Twelve : Conclusion

GLOSSARY

 

Illustrations

Giusto Gervasutti

North face of the Civetta    

Civetta

Aiguille Noire de Peuterey

Cima Grande di Lavaredo

North face of the Grandes Jorasses

Olan

Pic Adolphe Rey

Pic Gaspard

Matterhorn from Breuil in winter

North face of Drus 131

Picco Gugliermina 176

Piliers de Fresney 177

East wall of the Grandes Jorasses

On the east wall of the Grandes Jorasses


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