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Item #: OP76A-949
THE ANNALS OF MONT BLANC Charles Edward Mathews 1898 1st UK ed Hardcover Very Good
By Mathews, Charles Edward
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Full Title: The Annals of Mont Blanc: A Monograph with a Chapter on the Geology of the Mountain by Prof. T.G. Bonney

London, 1898, 1st UK edition. 388 pp, 34 b/w illustrations, foldout color map, bibliography, appendices, TEG. Dark gray cloth Ex Lib hardcover with gold decoration on front cover and gold titles on spine. Book has the usual library marks and wear, but the map is in fine condition and it is generally a Very Good reading copy. 

[Neate M66.] A history of climbing on Mont Blanc by an original member of the Alpine Club and President, 1878-1880. The essential reference book for details of the early climbs of Mont Blanc. We keep a copy on our desk for constant reference.

Contents include:

    Geology of Mont Blanc by T.G. Bonney;
    A bibliography of Mont Blanc by Louis Kurz;
    Appendix: Table of the various ascents of Mont Blanc from Paccard and Balmat to Albert Smith and others, 1786 to 1851;
    Appendix: Table of fatalities which have occurred on Mont Blanc 1820-1898;
    Translation of a letter written by Jacques Balmat to the Chevalier A. de la Place . Aug. 31, 1825;
    Translation of a letter written by Ange lique Paradis to Mlle. d'Angeville on the 3rd of Sept., 1846.
    A facsimile reprint of 'An account of the glacieres or ice alps in Savoy, in two letters: one from an English Gentleman to his Friend at Geneva, the other from Peter Martel, engineer, to the said English Gentleman;
    Illustrated with a map, and two views of the place, &c., as laid before the Royal Society. Translated from the French.
    London: Printed for Peter Martel, 1744. The first letter is by William Windham. Both letters addressed to M. Arlaud.
    Followed by a facsimile of a map from the same volume, where the name Mont Blanc appears for the first time;
    A facsimile of the certificate given by the Bureau des guides to evidence a successful ascent of Mont Blanc.

Mont Blanc is the culminating point at 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 France 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 on the northern slope and of Brenva and Miage on the 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 often 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.

Charles Edward Mathews, 1834-1905, a leading pioneer of Alpine exploration, was the largest contributor to Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers 1859 and 1862 and one of the original members of the Alpine Club, serving as its president between 1869 and 1871.

The Annals of Mont Blanc was his most important contribution to Alpine literature, providing a critical analysis of the original narratives of the early ascents of the mountain, which he himself had climbed at least twelve times, as well as a history and description of all the later routes by which its summit had been reached.

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