The New International Encyclopædia/Mountain Climbing
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING. The awakening of man's interest in mountains is chiefly due to Rousseau, though earlier writers, while approaching them as scientists, were also susceptible to their charm. This two-fold interest led Saussure to incite J. Balmat to find a way to the summit of Mont Blanc in 1786 and to accompany him thither in 1787. From that ascent alpinism is generally dated. In London in 1857 was formed the first Alpine Club to foster “the community of feeling amongst those who in the life of the High Alps have shared the same enjoyments, the same labours, and the same dangers.” This idea, in a modified form, was taken up throughout Continental Europe and advocated with such enthusiasm that more than 100,000 persons of both sexes are now enrolled in the various alpine societies. The largest of these are the German and Austrian (founded in 1862), about 55,000 members; Swiss (1863), 7000; Italian (1863), 54,000; and French (1874), 6000. In America three strong societies came into being: the Appalachian Mountain Club (q.v.) in Boston (1876), 1300 members; the Sierra Club (1892) in San Francisco, 800; and the ‘Mazamas’ (1894) in Portland, Ore. In these derivative societies eligibility is based upon a love of nature and of the mountain in particular rather than on alpinism proper, though most of them contain a contingent of expert climbers. The American Alpine Club (1902), with its home in Philadelphia, aims to revert to the original type, but adds to its field polar exploration and the study of glaciers.
Thus cultivated, Alpine climbing has attained almost to a science. Its principles are set forth in extended manuals, such as Dent's Mountaineering, Badminton Library (London, 1892). It has called into existence the class of professional guides—Swiss, Tyrolese, and Italian—whose skill far exceeds that of the best amateurs. Their aid, always expedient in tours above snow line, is indispensable in attacks upon giant peaks in distant lands, such as have frequently been made within recent times.
The most dangerous accidents in mountain climbing, those which consist in falls from a great height, rarely occur when guides are taken and the party is properly roped together in a chain of mutual support. Occasionally some foothold seemingly secure gives way beneath the climber's weight; but more frequently the fall takes place because the climber is overtired, or has started too quickly, without the necessary training and hardening, in consequence of which at a critical moment some muscle fails to answer. Overexertion of either body or mind is always to be avoided; for alertness of both is essential. The rope is the sheet anchor of mountaineering, whether it be on the snow or on the equally dangerous grassy slopes. On really difficult mountains no more than three persons should be on the same rope. With the rope the ice-axe is used, and indeed is a very necessary adjunct to the climber. It consists of a steel axe with a cutting edge crosswise to the handle, like an adze and a pick. The handle is of such length that it makes a convenient staff, and is shod with a steel point. The cutting edge of the axe is employed for making steps in an ice wall, the pick for holding and aiding the climber in pulling himself up, while the axe when used as a staff or alpenstock enables the climber to hold securely, or it can be employed as a brake when descending. Accidents which come from the fall of large masses of rock, snow, or earth may be largely obviated by a careful observation of the position of the sun with regard to snowfields below upon which the path is to be taken. If the snow begins to slide, carrying the climber with it, the utmost nimbleness of resource, wit, and strength applied to the alpenstock as a brake is the only remedy that can he formulated beforehand. In ascending an ordinary couloir the axe must be constantly used for cutting footholds step by step.
|Mont Aiguille||Dauphiné||7,000||1492||Dompjulinn de Beaupré|
|Pic du Midi||Pyrenees||9,547||15—||De Candale|
|Mont Blanc||Swiss Alps||15,781||1786||Balmat and Paccard|
|Jungfrau||Swiss Alps||13,672||1811||J. R. and H. Meyer|
|Finsteraarhorn||Swiss Alps||14,026||1812||H. Meyer, et al.|
|Monte Rosa||Swiss Alps||15,217||1855||Smyth, et al.|
|Schreckhorn||Swiss Alps||13,385||1861||Leslie Stephen|
|Weisshorn||Swiss Alps||14,803||1861||J. Tyndall|
|Dent Blanche||Swiss Alps||14,318||1862||E. S. Kennedy, C. Wigram|
|Matterhorn||Swiss Alps||14,780||1865||E. Whyraper, et al.|
|Gross Glockner||Tyrolese Alps||12,457||1799|
|Ortler||Tyrolese Alps||12,800||1804||Josele (a hunter)|
|Kasbek||Caucasus||16,546||1868||D. W. Freshfield|
|Elbruz||Caucasus||18,470||1868||D. W. Freshfield|
|Ushba||Caucasus||15,700||1888||J. G. Cockin|
|Dikhtaw||Caucasus||17,000||1888||A. F. Mummery|
|Kabru||Himalayas||24,015||1883||M. W. Graham|
|Pioneer Peak||Himalayas||22,600||1892||W. M. Conway|
|Koser Gunge||Himalayas||21,010||1898||Dr. W. H. and Mrs. Workman|
|Mount Cook||New Zealand||13,349||1895||M. Zurbriggen (guide)|
|Aconcagua||Andes||22,860||1897||S. Vines, Zurbriggen|
|Illimani||Andes||21,030||1898||W. M. Conway|
|Mount Washington||White Mountains||6,293||1642||Darby Field|
|Pike's Peak||Rocky Mountains||14,147||1820||E. James, et al.|
|Hood||Cascades||11,934||1854||Stevens and Van Trump|
|Rainier||Cascades||14,526||1870||Barlow, et al.|
|Saint Elias||Cascades||18,024||1897||Duke of the Abruzzi, et al.|
|Bonney||Selkirks||10,645||1888||W. S. Green, H. Swanzy|
|Sir Donald||Selkirks||10,652||1890||E. Huber, C. Sulzer|
|Dawson||Selkirks||11,100||1899||C. E. Fay, H. C. Parker|
|Temple||Canadian Rockies||11,637||1894||S. E. Allen, W. D. Wilcox, et al.|
|Victoria||Canadian Rockies||11,150||1897||J. W. Collie, et al.|
|Assiniboine||Canadian Rockies||11,860||1901||J. Outram|
|Columbia||Canadian Rockies||........||1902||J. Outram|
- The first snow peak.
- The highest in range.
- The highest summit.
- The highest thus far climbed.
(In most instances the guides are not mentioned in this list.)
The list on the preceding page presents some of the principal first ascents since the earliest authentic records.
Consult: J. Forbes, Travels Through the Alps (Edinburgh, 1843); A. W. Moore, The Alps in 1864, from MS. copy (Edinburgh, 1902); J. Ball and E. S. Kennedy, Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers (London, 1859-62); G. Studer, Ueber Eis und Schnee (Bern, 1869-71); J. Tyndall, Mountaineering in 1861 (London, 1862); id., Hours of Exercise in the Alps (ib., 1871); L. Stephen, The Playground of Europe (ib., 1871); E. Whymper, Scrambles Among the Alps (ib., 1871): id., Travels in the Great Andes of the Equator (ib., 1892); C. T. Dent, Above the Snow-line (ib., 1885); Clarence King, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada (Boston, 1886); W. M. Conway, Climbing in the Karaoram-Himalayas (London, 1894); id., The Alps from End to End (ib., 1895); id., The Bolivian Andes (New York, 1901); A. F. Mummery, My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus (ib., 1895); E. A. Fitzgerald, Climbs in the New Zealand Alps (ib., 1896); id., The Highest Andes (ib., 1899); F. M. B. Workman, In the Ice World of the Himalaya (New York, 1898); C. E. Mathews, The Annals of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn (London, 1898); F. De Filippi, The Ascent of Mount Saint Elias (London, 1900); W. D. Wilcox, Camping in the Canadian Rockies (New York, 1900); J. N. Collie, Climbing in the Himalayas and Other Mountains (Edinburgh, 1902). For recent American mountaineering, consult Appalachia, vols, i.-ix. (Boston, 1876-1902), and Sierra Club Bulletin, vols. i.-iii. (San Francisco, 1893-1903).