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Item #: OP1787A-281
SCRAMBLES AMONGST THE ALPS IN THE YEARS 1860-69 Edward Whymper 1986 Illustrated ed Hardcover DJ Fine
By Whymper, Edward
Price: $45.00


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London, Webb & Bower Publishers, 1986, reprint. 262 pp, original Whymper illustrations and color photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine condition.

The finest modern reprint of this classic work. When he first saw the Alps in 1860, Edward Whymper was a 20-year-old English wood engraver whose dream was to become an arctic explorer. Ambitious and hungry for adventure, he fell in love with the challenge the Alps presented and set out to conquer them peak by peak. Whymper made quick work of the challenge, racking up dozens of first ascents and acquiring a reputation as one of the best in the nascent field of mountaineering. But on the Matterhorn, considered to be mountaineering’s Holy Grail at the time, Whymper met with failure again and again. On his eighth attempted ascent he finally succeeded, becoming the first man to reach its magnificent peak. The victory came at a heavy cost, however, as Whymper watched four of his companions fall to their deaths on the descent. It was a tragedy that would cast a shadow over the remainder of his life.

Published in 1871, Scrambles Amongst the Alps is Whymper’s own story of his nine years spent climbing in the Alps. One of the first books devoted to the sheer thrill of mountaineering, it is a breathtaking account of the triumph of man over mountain in a time before thermal clothing, nylon ropes, global positioning systems, and air rescues. It also offers Whymper’s controversial story of the tragedy on the Matterhorn. One of the best adventure books of all time, Scrambles Amongst the Alps is an essential classic of climbing literature by one of mountaineering’s most legendary figures.

Divided into the following sections :
  • Introductory
  • The ascent of Mont Palvoux
  • My first scramble on the Matterhorn
  • Renewed attempts to ascend the Matterhorn
  • The Val Tournanche - the Breuiljuch - Zermatt - the first ascent of the grand Tournalin
  • Our sixth attempt to ascend the Matterhorn
  • From St. Michel to La Berarde by the col de Aiguilles d'Arves, col de Martignare, and the Breche de la Meije
  • The first ascent of the Pointe des Ecrins
  • On the first passage of the col de la Pilatte
  • In the Mont Blanc range - passage of the col de Triolet, and ascents of Mont Dolent, Aiguille de Trelatete, and Aiguille d'Argentiere
  • First passage of the Moming pass - Zermatt
  • The first ascent of the grand Cornier
  • The ascent of the Dent Blanche
  • Lost on the col d'Herens - My seventh attempt to ascend the Matterhorn
  • On the valley of Aosta and the first ascent of the Grandes Jorasses
  • The first passage of the col Dolent
  • The first passage of the col de Talefre
  • The first ascent of the Ruinette - the Matterhorn
  • The first ascent of the Matterhorn
  • The descent of the Matterhorn
From Wikipedia:
The Matterhorn (German) or Cervino (Italian), (French: Mont Cervin or Le Cervin) is perhaps the most familiar mountain in the European Alps. On the border between Switzerland and Italy, it towers over the Swiss village of Zermatt and the Italian village Breuil-Cervinia in the Val Tournanche. The mountain derives its name from the German words Matte, meaning meadow, and Horn, which means peak.

The Matterhorn has four faces, facing the four compass points, the north face overlooking the Zmutt Valley, the south face Breuil-Cervinia, the east and west faces looking towards the Gornergrat and the Dent d'Hérens,respectively, with the north and south faces meeting to form a short east-west summit ridge. The faces are steep, and only small patches of snow and ice cling to them; regular avalanches send the snow down to accumulate on the glaciers at the base of each face. The Hörnli ridge of the northeast (in the center of the view from Zermatt) is the usual climbing route.

Climbing
The Matterhorn was climbed later than most of the main mountains of the Alps, not because of its technical difficulty, but because of the fear it inspired in early mountaineers. The first serious attempts began around 1857,mostly from the Italian side; but despite appearances, the southern routes are harder, and parties repeatedly found themselves on difficult rock and had to turn back.

It was not until 14 July 1865, after several failed attempts and some nationalistically motivated backstabbing, that the party of Edward Whymper, Charles Hudson, Lord Francis Douglas, and Douglas Robert Hadow was able to reach the summit, along with Michel Croz and the two Peter Taugwalders (father and son). The party tried the Hörnli route and found it considerably easier than expected. On the descent, Hadow slipped, knocking Croz off his feet, and dragging Hudson and Douglas with him.  rope connecting them to the other three men broke; the four fell to their deaths on the Matterhorn Glacier 1,400metres (4,600 ft) below. The bodies of all but Douglas were later found, and are buried in the Zermatt churchyard. Whymper's ascent is considered to be the last of the golden age of alpinism.

Three days later, on 17 July,a party led by Jean-Antoine Carrel reached the summit from the Italianside. Julius Elliott made the second ascent from the Zermatt side, in 1868, and in the same year John Tyndall traversed the summit, together with J. J. Maquinaz and J. P. Maquinaz. In 1871, Lucy Walker became the first woman to stand on top of the mountain, followed a few weeks later by her rival Meta Brevoort.

Today, all ridges and faces of the Matterhorn have been ascended in all seasons, and mountain guides take a large number of people up the Hörnli route each summer. By modern standards, the climb is fairly difficult (AD Difficulty rating), but not hard for skilled mountaineers. There are fixed ropes on parts of the route to help. Still, because of the scale of the climb and inherent dangers, inexperience, falling rocks, and over crowded routes, several climbers die each year. The usual pattern is to take the Schwarzsee cable car up from Zermatt, hike up to the Hörnli-hütte (elev. 3,260 m/10,695 ft), a large stone building at the base of the main ridge, and spend the night. The next day the climber rises at 3:30 am, so as to reach the summit and descend before the regular afternoon clouds and storms come in.

Other routes on the mountain include the Italian ridge, first ascent by Jean-Antoine Carrel and Jean-Baptiste Bich on 17 July 1865), the Zmutt ridge (first ascent by Albert F. Mummery, Alex­ander Burgener, J. Petrus and A. Gentinetta on 3 September 1879) and the north face route, one of the six classic north faces in the Alps (first ascent by Franz and Toni Schmid on 31 July–1 August 1931).

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