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Item #: BK5902-9605
EMILIO COMICI [Alex Honnold of 1930s]: ANGEL OF THE DOLOMITES: PASSION, PITONS, POLITICS AND THE FIRST BIG WALLS David Smart 2020 Hardcover DJ Fine-New 2021 Boardman Tasker Prize Winner Multiple Copies Available
By Smart, David
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Detailed Product Description
Canada, 248 pp, 1st edition. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine-New.

The first English-language biography of one of the most renowned Italian climbers, Emilio Comici, who bagged over 200 first ascents in the Eastern Alps prior to his death at 39 years of age in 1940.

Wikipedia:

Leonardo Emilio Comici (1901 – 1940) was an Italian mountain climber and caver. He made numerous ascents in the Eastern Alps, particularly in the Dolomites (where he made over 200 first ascents during his career) and in the Julian Alps. Comici was nicknamed the "Angel of the Dolomites".

In the 1930s and 1940s Comici and other climbers (including Riccardo Cassin, Raffaele Carlesso and Alvise Andrich) represented the Italian answer to the achievements of German climbers. Comici perfected the Bavarian technique of mountain climbing, and began the era of "sixth grade" climbing (at that time the highest climbing grade considered humanly surmountable). He was the inventor and proponent of using multi-step aid ladders, solid belays, the use of a trail/tag line, and hanging bivouacs, contributing greatly to the techniques of big wall climbing. 

Between 1925 and his death in 1940, Emilio Comici was the pre-eminent climber in the Eastern Alps, the hotbed of global high standard rock climbing at that time. He made first ascents on some of the highest and most notorious walls in the Alps, including the northwest face of the Civetta, as well as dozens of other climbs.

Comici invented many modern big-wall techniques and the big-wall idiom itself that later took root in Yosemite Valley. Comici also made solo ascents of some of the hardest routes in the Alps, including his climb on the north face of the Cima Grande. He also designed the first artificial climbing wall that was ever actually built.

This book explores how family tragedy and growing up in working class Trieste under Austrian occupation shaped Comici’s complex personality and attitudes toward climbing. He was loyal to his friends, deeply concerned about the vulnerable, including his fellow climbers, and yet highly competitive, a born vagabond and yet also a dandy, irresistible to women, and yet unable to settle down, devoted to his mother and to the mountains, and finally, like many other Italian climbers of the period, a member of the Italian fascist party although he was profoundly anti-German and opposed to racial persecution.


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