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Item #: OP1736A-151
BRENVA [MONT BLANC] T. Graham Brown 1945 2nd prtg Hardcover DJ Fine
By Brown, T. Graham
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London, 1945, 1st edition, 2nd impression. 228 pp, 73 b/w plates. Blue cloth hardcover with slightly chipped and worn dust jacket. Fine condition.

Story of the ascent of a dramatic new route on Mont Blanc. 
 
From jacket: One of the grandest and steepest precipices in the Alps is the Brenva face on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, and to this face, which had not until then been attempted, Dr. Graham Brown devoted many climbing seasons between the wars. His reward was to discover three magnificent new routes, two of them with Mr. F. S. Smythe as his companion on the rope, the third with the guide Alexander Graven.

His book describes the inception and progress of this remarkable achievement, and the establishment of three courses which may well prove to be among the most famous in the Alps. The climbs are all of great technical difficulty, and Graham Brown's detailed accounts, supported by a series of photographs taken during the climbs, will enable climbers and others to assess them accurately, and perhaps to follow them one day when the mountains are in bounds again.

The author is well-known among climbers for his many first ascents, preeminent even in an era of face-climbing, including, in addition to those described in this book, Piz Bernina by the West face, Mont Brouillard by the East face, Les Courtes directly from the Talefre Glacier, the Nordend of Monte Rosa by the Weisstor face, Mont Blanc do Courmoyeur by a direct route up the Innominata face, Les Bans in Dauphine by the North face, Mont Mallet directly by the North-west ridge, Mont Blanc by the Chamonix face direct from the Grand Plateau, the Wellenkuppe by the North face.

In Alaska, he led the party which made the first explorations and ascents of both peaks of Mount Foraker. In the Himalayas, he was responsible for the 'leaderless' expedition which conquered Nanda Devi, and was a member of the unsuccessful expedition to Masherbrum in the Karakoram. At home he discovered Boat Howe Crags on Kirkfell in the Lake District, and made the first ascents of many of the routes there.

Mont Blanc is the culminating point (15,782 ft.) of the mountain range of the same name, which forms part of the Pennine Alps, and is divided unequally between France, Italy and Switzerland. The actual highest summit is wholly French and is the loftiest peak in the Alps, and in Europe also, if certain peaks in the Caucasus be excluded. At Geneva the mountain was in former days named the Montagne Maudite, but the present name seems to have been always used locally. On the north is the valley of Chamonix, and on the east the head of the valley of Aosta. Among the great glaciers which stream from the peak the most noteworthy are The Mer de Glace, Bossons and Taconnaz (northern slope) and of Brenva and Miage (southern slope).

The first ascent was made in 1786 by two Chamonix men, Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel Paccard, and the second in 1787 by Balmat with two local men. Later in 1787 H. B. de Saussure made the third ascent, memorable in many respects, and was followed a week later by Colonel Beaufoy, the first Englishman to gain the top. These ascents were all made from Chamonix, which is still the usual starting point, though routes have been forced up the peak from nearly every side, those on the Italian side being much steeper than that from Chamonix.

The ascent from Chamonix is now frequently made in summer (rarely in winter also), but, owing to the great height of the mountain, the view is unsatisfactory, though very extensive (Lyons is visible). In 1890 M. Vallot built an observatory and shelter hut (14,312 ft.) on the Bosses du Dromadaire (north-west ridge of the mountain), and in 1893 T. J. C. Janssen constructed an observatory just below the very summit.


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