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Item #: OP890B-106
STARLIGHT AND STORM: THE ASCENT OF THE SIX GREAT NORTH FACES OF THE ALPS Gaston Rebuffat 1956 1st UK ed Hardcover DJ Very Fine
By Rebuffat, Gaston
Price: $225.00


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London, 1956, 1st UK edition. 122 pp, 37 b/w plates. Hardcover with dust jacket. Jacket has some edge wear but no large chips missing, the book is utterly Fine, no writing, no marks of any kind. 

One of the greatest Alpine books of all time: climbing the North Faces of the Grandes Jorasses, Piz Badile, Dru, Matterhorn, Cima Grandes de Lavaredo and the Eiger. Rebuffat's books expressed the love he had for the mountains, and even today are in inspiration for climbers and mountain lovers. This book was one of the first that contained a list of great climbs, and these six north faces have become a goal for many great climbers including Alison Hargreaves who climbed them all in one season.

French born Gaston Rebuffat was one of the great mountain guides of Alpine history and was a member of the French expedition to Annapurna in 1950. This book is a record of the ascent of the six great north faces of the Alps: the Grandes Jorasses; Piz Badile; the Matterhorn; the Drus; the Cima Grande di Lavaredo and the Eiger. Rebuffat also produced a film based on this book 'Etoiles et Tempetes' first shown in Paris in 1956.

From the 1920s to the 1950s, the race was on in Europe to score first ascents of the most formidable routes in the Alps and Dolomites. Buoyed by the advent of artificial climbing techniques (primarily the use of pitons), teams from France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Poland scaled the north faces of the Eiger, the Drus, the Matterhorn, the Grandes Jorasses, and other hallowed peaks, often pooling resources to obtain previously unimaginable success (and often tragedy), while the world below was ravaged by two brutal world wars.

Noted French climbing guide Gaston Rbuffat lived at the center of this crucial era in mountaineering history. Starlight and Storm, first published in French in 1954 as toiles et Temptes, is his personal account of a rugged and glorious time before Gore-Tex, when men, soaked and chilled to the bone, sang to keep each other from falling asleep (forever) during exposed bivouacs in sub-zero degree snowstorms. Rbuffat's love of the climber's life is evident with each turn of the page.
 
Known for his lyrical writing and his ability to convey not only the dangers of mountaineering but the pure exaltation of the climb, Gaston Rebuffat is among the most well known and revered Alpinists of all time.  He rose to international prominence in 1950 as one of the four principal stalwarts in the first ascent of Annapurna, the highest mountain climbed at that time.  Yet his finest feat as a mountaineer was to be the first man to climb all six of the legendary great north faces of the Alps - the Grandes Jorasses, the Piz Badile, the Dru, the Matterhorn, the Cima Grande di Lavaredo, and the Eiger.

With this elegant book, first published in 1954 (in French), Rebuffat transformed mountain writing. His insistence on seeing a climb as an act of harmonious communion with the mountain, not a battle waged against it, seemed radical at the time, though Rebuffat's aesthetic has since won the day. Through storms, avalanches, rock fall, unplanned bivouacs, and even the deaths of companions, we follow the Chamonix guide to the altar of his communion, on dark, icy walls that struck terror into the hearts of Europe's finest mountaineers.

Nor are these deft narratives mere recitations of dangers faced and obstacles overcome, for Rebuffat pays as keen attention to the joys of comradeship won on these faces as he does to the climbs themselves.  In our own day of corporate sponsorships, online expeditions, and eco vacations, the purity of Rebuffat's vision of the Alps as an enchanted garden shines forth in prose as fresh and stylish as any ever lavished on mountaineering


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