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Item #: OP1183-954
A PROGRESS IN MOUNTAINEERING: SCOTTISH HILLS TO ALPINE PEAKS J.H.B. Bell 1950 1st ed Hardcover DJ Very Good
By Bell, J.H.B.
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London, 1950, 1st edition. 424 pp, 24 b/w plates. Ex Lib hardcover with chipped dust jacket and the usual library marks and wear. Very Good reading copy.

One of the most influential early instructional books, that stressed the importance of Scottish winter climbing as preparation for the Alps. With an foreword by F. S. Smythe. J.H.B. Bell was one of the most influential climbers of his generation and produced numerous first ascents in Scotland. His book combines instruction with remembrance of summer and winter Scottish climbs, and Alpine routes - a classic. 

Note: On the blue dust jacket, the subtitle reads 'Scottish Bens to Alpine Peaks' instead of the subtitle printed in the book, which uses the word 'Hill' instead of the Gaelic word 'Ben,' which is sometimes used to designate peaks in Scotland.
 
The object of this book was to guide the reader on a course of mountaineering by encouraging him to start on the nearest hill, and then proceed by the acquisition of skill and confidence to tackle the higher peaks in summer and winter conditions. The author is a first-class writer and cheerful companion, offering freely of his own experience, hints, and cautionary guidance.  Two thirds of the book focuses on Scottish mountains, the remainder looking further afield to the Swiss Alps.  Maps and photographs illustrate the work, but the text often suffices to paint the picture without the need for imagery.

'After lunch, when we turned round again to face the rocks, that upper tier appeared to be not only vertical but somewhat undercut.  Colin Allen, not being susceptible to such optical illusions, was eager to take the lead.  We soon climbed to the base of the steep wall and I belayed his rope round a little spike of rock.  After thirty feet or so his progress became very slow.  He had started obliquely upwards to the left but was now almost above me, moving very carefully and exhibiting almost the whole of the soles of his boots to my upward gaze.  Then he commenced to move upwards to the right, making for a sharp edge of rock.  With a supreme effort he grasped it with both hands, kicked about with his feet and pulled himself up. Then he took a prolonged rest on his perch, without answering any of my anxious inquiries as to his present comfort or future prospects...'  

Scottish Expeditions:  Glencoe; Rannoch and Glencoe in Winter; Ben Nevis - Rock; Ben Nevis in Winter; Skye and the Cuillins; The Cairngorms; Cairngorm Granite; Arran Granite; The North-West; Rock Climbing in the North-West; The Chasm of Buachaille Etive Mor; The Eagle Ridge of Lochnagar; The Orion routes on Ben Nevis; Glover's Chimney on Ben Nevis; Rock Climbing in England and Wales.

Alpine Expeditions:  Expeditions from Bel Alp; Expeditions from Arolla; Zermatt and Saas Fee; The Rock Needles of Chamonix; The Dent Blanche; A Traverse of the Jungfrau; A Traverse of the Matterhorn.

Divided into the following sections :
  • Introduction
    • Prologue
    • Ben Cruachan in snow
    • The central buttress of Buachaille Etive
    • The Aletschhorn
  • British mountain technique
    • Hill walking
    • Rock climbing
    • Snow and ice climbing
  • Scottish mountain expeditions
    • Glencoe
    • Rannoch and Glencoe in winter
    • Ben Nevis : rock
    • Ben Nevis in winter
    • Skye and the Cuillins
    • The Cairngorms
    • Cairngorm granite
    • Arran granite
    • The north-west
    • Rock climbing in the north-west
    • The chasm of Buachaille Etive Mor
    • The eagle ridge of Lochnagar
    • The orion routes on Ben Nevis
    • Glover's chimney on Ben Nevis
    • Rock climbing in England and Wales
  • Alpine mountaineering technique
    • Alpine venture
    • Alpine technique
    • Alpine planning
  • Alpine expeditions
    • Expeditions from Bel alp
    • Expeditions from Arolla
    • Zermatt and Saas Fee
    • The rock needles of Chamonix
    • The dent blanche
    • A traverse of the Jungfrau
    • A traverse of the Matterhorn

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