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Scrambles Amongst the Alps

Edward Whymper

Book Overview: 

Scrambles Amongst the Alps is one the great classics (some would say the greatest) of early mountaineering literature, and Edward Whymper one of the leading figures of the early years of Alpine climbing. He is best known, of course, for his many attempts on the Matterhorn, and for the loss of four members of his climbing party after the successful first ascent of the peak in July, 1865. Although the Matterhorn stands in ways in the center of his book, there are descriptions of many other ascents as well, in the Alps of France and Italy, as well as those of Switzerland.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . in his company, proceeded to the summit of the pass which I had crossed in 1860; but we were baffled in our attempt to get near the mountain. A deep notch with precipitous cliffs cut us off from it: the snow-slope, too, which existed in the preceding year on the Piedmontese side of the pass, was now wanting, and we were unable to descend the rocks which lay beneath. A fortnight afterward the mountain was ascended for the first time by Messrs. Mathews and Jacomb, with the two Crozes of Chamounix. Their attempt was made from the southern side, and the ascent, which was formerly considered a thing totally impossible, has become one of the most common and favorite excursions of the district.

We returned crest-fallen to Abries. The shepherd, whose boots were very much out of repair, slipped upon the steep snow-slopes and p. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Interesting history on climbing, but he tends to digress for pages on minutiae that bored me

Written in a late eighteen hundreds style, but none the less interesting. I was in Zermatt on a skiing trip in the mid eighties and my ski instructor was a mountain climber in the spring and Summer and we got to talking about the Matterhorn. I asked him if he had climbed it... he said " 3 to 4 hu...more

I'm re-reading now. My daughter read it in "literature" seminar course at Emory featuring Pomo take on mountaineering. Whymper was in the first party to climb the Matterhorn, he was the only survivor of the climb.

This is a mountain travelogue. He's quite a good writer, an illustrator by professio...more

Whymper's book about some of his first ascents of peaks in the Alps, including the first ascent of the famed Matterhorn alternates between really fascinating and dry. His curmudgeonly character frequently causes him to underplay the difficulties of his ascents and some of the stories suffer from...more

Have just re-read this classic, he talks about where I live, which makes this rather dry book more interesting. There's now a huge statue of him here which I drive past every day on my way to work.
I'm always amazed that Whymper would turn up, go up to the summit of previously unclimbed mountains,...more

I really enjoyed this book and found it very easy to read. It is very interesting to read of many first ascents and notable ascents in a time where the alps where still unconquered in many its highest reaches as well as the dynamic between the tourists and guides/locals. i I really appreciated th...more

Splendido. Unico. Un libro scritto magnificamente (da uno che di professione non faceva lo scrittore) perché passa tra diversi generi letterari con grande maestria e competenza (dall’avventura al trattato scientifico, dal diario di viaggio meramente descrittivo a una serie di considerazioni perso...more

A great classic both of mointaneering and literature in one.
Edward Whymper wrote down first hand his impression and beautiful drawnings on his adventures and early climbs in the Alps (it's funny he called it just "scrambles", while in fact he was climbing pretty hard).

The book is very good, very...more

Recent climbing fatalities in the French Alps drew me back to Edward Whymper’s classic work, an account of his many excursions and victories in the Alps and most notably the story of the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 and the expedition’s tragic descent.

When Whymper first arrived in the r...more

A little dry but still a classic.

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