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Item #: OP1785-597
RUWENZORI: AN ACCOUNT OF THE EXPEDITION OF H.R.H. PRINCE LUIGI AMEDEO OF SAVOY, DUKE OF THE ABRUZZI Filippo de Filippi 1908 1st UK edition, Rebacked VG
By Filippi, Filippo de, Duke of the Abruzzi
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London, 1908, 1st edition. 408 pp, 32 plates, photos in text, maps, panoramas. TEG, Uncut. Royal Octavo. This was the first of the Duke of Abruzzi's major mountaineering expeditions. The Ruwenzori, Ptolemy's 'Mountains of the Moon,' had never been seriously attempted before this remarkable expedition made the first ascents of all major peaks.

There is some faint foxing, and two previous owners have written their name on the FEP, Front End Paper. but overall the book is nearly Fine internally. The book has been rebacked, which means a new spine and covers have been created, but laying on the cloth from the original spine and front and rear covers, so the appearance is original. Spine is faded, and there is light edge wear. Very Good.

The mountain range of Ruwenzori is believed to be the mythical mountains of the Moon referred to by Ptolemy. Located in central Africa, these snowy mountains drain into the lakes that feed the Nile making them the true source of the great river. Perpetually shrouded in mists, Stanley and other explorers thought upon first sight of the mountains that they were simply a trick of the eye. Many explorers had tried to ascend these peaks but had never succeeded.

The Duke's expedition was the first to truly explore and document the range after nearly half a century of speculation, setting in place the final piece of the Nile puzzle. This successful expedition climbed all the major mountain peaks. 

Duke of Abruzzi

Luigi Amedeo di Savoy, the Duke of Abruzzi [1873 - 1933] was born in Madrid to the then king of Spain also a Savoy, who abdicated his throne only a few weeks after his son's birth and returned to Italy. When he was six years old, young Luigi was assigned to the Italian Navy and received his entire education in military schools. A man of great energy and imagination, at the age of 24 he organised and led the expedition that made the first ascent of Mount St Elias [5,484 metres] in Alaska in 1897. Two years later he led an expedition to the North Pole which reached a latitude 86^34' north, a new record at the time.

In 1906 he led the Ruwenzori expedition which climbed all the major peaks and made the most extensive exploration of the range before or since. A few years later, in 1909, he organised an expedition to the Karakoram and set the record to the highest altitude yet achieved by ascending the second highest mountain in the world, K2, to a height of about 7,500 metres [24,600 feet], along the route that today bears his name, the Abruzzi ridge.

Vittorio Sella [1859 - 1943]

He was the Italian alpinist and photographer who accompanied the 1906 Abruzzi Ruwenzori expedition and who was perhaps the greatest of all alpine photographers. It was Sella who first recorded the landscape, plants and people of the Rwenzori in extensive and intimate detail, and to whom we refer for clarity of the historical record and pure artistic beauty. It is particularly interesting to note how far the glaciers of the Rwenzori have receded since these photographs were taken, nearly 90 years ago. Vittorio Sella was born in Biella, Italy, to father who was a successful textile industrialist and scientist ad who, in 1856, had been the first Italian to write a treatise on photography. Vittorio owed his interest in the mountains to his uncle, Quintino, founder of the Alpine Club of Italy.

As a young man, Vittorio had worked as a chemist in his father's textile factory, but it was his passion for taking beautiful panoramic photographs of the mountains which made him famous. From 1880 to 1893 he compiled a detailed portfolio of the Alps, combining his photography with impressive alpinism, such as the first winter traverse of the Matterhorn in 1882. He made three expeditions to the Caucasus, in 1889, 1890 and 1896, for which his photography received awards from Britain's Royal Geographical Society. In 1899 he accompanied his friend the alpinist D. W. Freshfield on a difficult exploration of Kanchenjunga in Sikkim. The Duke of Abruzzi greatly admired Sella's work and invited him to be the official photographer for the expeditions in 1897 to Mount St Elias in Alaska, in 1909 to the Karakoram. The highest summit on Mount Luigi di Savoia in the Rwenzori was named Sella Peak in his honour.

There is nothing about the Duke's romance with Kitty Elkins of West Virginia, but I thought this old clipping would look good here.



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