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Scrambles Amongst the Alps (Anglais) Broché – 1 octobre 2002

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Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 432 pages
  • Editeur : National Geographic; Édition : Reprint (1 octobre 2002)
  • Collection : National Geographic Adventure Classics
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0792269233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792269236
  • Dimensions du produit: 15,2 x 2,8 x 22,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 49.424 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Eric Blair TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURSVOIX VINE le 25 février 2014
Format: Broché
Ed. Whymper is the first summiter of the Cervin/Matterhorn peak in the XIX century. The book narrates his various expeditions (scrambles) in the Alpes during which he trekked over many passes and succeeded in conquering several virgin peaks, such as Pelvoux or Barre des Ecrins.
The book is however much more than the log of his successes. It includes many reflections about the formation of the Alps chain, glaciers, life in the mountains and even about health matters, for instance cretinism. In addition, it is also a first hand testimony on early mountaineering, at a time when gears were scarce and unsecure. An adverse rope is indeed responsible for the tragedy that occurred with the first successful ascent of Matterhorn. Let us also remind that crampons were not yet invented, therefore each time ice was met, guides had to strike footsteps in the slopes with their axes or alpenstocks.
Last but not least, Whymper's prose is pleasant to read and his many reflections, sometimes fairly bucolic, are of interest, even if some may appear quite outdated. Whymper has a reputation of being not a sympathetic man, because of his obsessions, but his book may be sometimes times seen expressing true English humour (speaking about the dryness of the air that causes a mysterious evaporation of wine in bottles, in the presence of Chamonix porters): "For a time I found difficulty in combating this phenomenon, but at last discovered that if I used the wine flask as a pillow during the night, the evaporation was completely stopped".
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 6 commentaires
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Edward Whymper made many first alpine ascents, including the Matterhorn in 1865 which ended in tragedy on the descent 18 septembre 2009
Par Jerome Ryan - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Originally Published in 1871. Whymper details his Alps climbs in the 1860s with many first ascents including Mont Pelvoux in 1861, Barre des Écrins in 1864, Mont Dolent and Aiguille d'Argentière in 1864, and Grand Cornier, Pointe Whymper on the Grandes Jorasses, and Aiguille Verte in 1865. But Whymper will always be remembered for the first ascent of the Matterhorn on July 14, 1865.

The Matterhorn was considered to be mountaineering's biggest challenge at the time, and Whymper met with failure again and again. Finally on his eighth attempt he finally succeeded, becoming the first man to reach the summit on July 14, 1865.

On the descent, tragedy struck when four members of the party slipped and were killed, and only the breaking of the rope saved Whymper and the two remaining guides from the same fate. A controversy ensued as to whether the rope had actually been cut, but a formal investigation could not find any proof.

The accident haunted Whymper: "Every night, do you understand, I see my comrades of the Matterhorn slipping on their backs, their arms outstretched, one after the other, in perfect order at equal distances - Croz the guide, first, then Hadow, then Hudson, and lastly Douglas. Yes, I shall always see them."

I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the book dedicated to climbing and was struck by Whymper's adventurous spirit, and his dedication and perseverance. The book does drag on a bit in a few parts with chapters on the technical details about glaciers and railway tracks. The 130 illustrations, many woodcut by Whymper himself, bring the story to life, and are almost as good as photographs.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Whymper's writing achieved the summit of excellence. 24 juillet 1997
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
As one of the early mountain climbers, Whymper was not only a dedicated climber but also an astute observer of human nature and the natural environment. His writings reflect a strong will and great intelligence. The artistry of his mountain scenes vividly illustrate his book and combined with his witty prose make for a mountaineering classic
7 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Interesting story; not an easy read 26 février 2004
Par Anton - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I bought the book due to my interest in the period it covers -- early Alpine mountaineering. Edward Whymper was an interesting guy, and certainly one of the foreign pioneers of mountain climbing (including the first climb of Matterhorn). I found him to be less inspiring as an author -- the book's pace is slow, punctuated by various tangential discussions, e.g. geology of glaciers.
It failed to capture my imagination, as other more receint mountaineering books have done -- try Gaston Rebuffat, Walter Bonatti, Chris Bonnington instead.
Ten Plus Stars, Please. 14 novembre 2013
Par The-Mountain-Speaks - Publié sur
Format: Broché
(Be warned: This review begins with a long, slow approach, like the endless trail from Srinagar which confronted the earliest expeditions attempting The Third Pole, the summit of Everest. Please patiently persevere, and Edward Whymper's essential and remarkable work, SCRAMBLES AMONGST THE ALPS, will eventually be ascended.)

Although drawn to mountain tops like Odysseus to Anthemoessa, the European Alps had little hold on me, even without an Orpheus to drown out their particular music. Safe in my ignorance, I vowed it was 8000 meter peaks or nothing, preferably in the Karakoram. And so my reading began.

Before too many years, my own enormity of printed material began to take over a small house, then a larger near-manse. My motivation for amassing such an inert collection (rather than bagging actual peaks) was a missed opportunity, which had then been missed again, then repeated for a second time, and then compounded beyond knowing -- all just more damning examples of when on the pathways to fame and fortune, I took the roads unwisely traveled by, and that has made all the sorry difference.

Consider those lost possibilities. Ascending Mount Rainier with the World's-Finest-Travel-Companion had slipped away and, for lack of an appendectomy, Denali intoned "No" to its West Buttress or the Cassin Ridge. Gone without fully recognizing I ever had the chance to participate was not one but four expeditions to climb genuinely world famous mountains: Pakistan's Tirich Mir, highest in the Hindu Kush; the fifth and seventh highest in the world -- Makalu and Manaslu in Nepal; and in Tibet, the globe's third highest Xixabangma (Shishapangma). At the least, my role would have been as an on-site member if not second in command of the organization establishing these ventures - or even leader of one of the summit teams. Who can know? I was born with an unusually large chest for some reason. But my timing was off -- by decades.

While those events disappeared into the oblique mist which seemed to hang about my head, in the interim a bad knee, a broken back, and a broken neck were my spoils from other activities (one was nominally a rock "climb"), and I began to pass into that age where one is more conscious of the measure of pain and the slow time necessary for healing than the grand, great vistas and other worldly rewards and thrills promised by adventuresome, near-heroic achievement. Hiking (perhaps trekking) was still a possibility, I rationalized, and just walking around the neighborhood would be of some value.

And so I trod on, dragging my armchair ascents along with me, finishing this book and that, knocking off another of my penned-on-frontispiece reviews with just a little bit less élan than a climber on his way to all 14 8000ers. But then I was seized with a hopeful thought. Years before, when still limiting my attention to "big peaks", I was somehow introduced to GERVASUTTI'S CLIMBS, their practitioner still not so well known in America (this his autobiography earning in time something of a cultish following in the US). Rightly famous for his brilliant climbs in the Western Alps, Giusto Gervasutti's experience in his native Dolomites gave me the idea I could practically take a train from Frankfurt am Main, rent a car, and drive right up to the base of some of his routes and see pretty much up close where he climbed! And thereby perhaps better understand the man who, although the author of his own climbing history, wrote not a word about his other life, his family, or his passions beyond frozen peaks. "He remains unknown," I wrote more than fifty years after his death, "and so long gone."

So I returned to my imaginary affair with the Karakoram, studying RAKAPOSHI by Mike Banks and that most tragic of all climbing stories, THE LAST BLUE MOUNTAIN by a superior writer, the journalist Ralph Barker, who dealt with idealistic young men attempting Haramosh, a relatively unknown, truly unclimbable peak set in an isolated, remote area. I still entertained ideas of two weeks of walking up and down and finally into Concordia and at least putting a foot on the foot of a Gasherbrum, and Broad Peak, and of course K2 (especially K2). Reality reared its ugly head, however, when an old running injury seemed to reassert itself on that forever weak, wandering left knee of mine. Sobering fears of not being able to even stroll along the lanes of Chamonix began to haunt me. "Then Grindelwald," I insisted, defiantly, "and I'll book as far ahead as necessary to get a room in that historic hotel facing the Eiger's notorious North Face, and I'll see a damn famous mountain from the comfort of my room." With my uncooperative appendage pleasantly elevated on a period hassock, I was sure.

So the little hills of the accessible European Alps started to seem very appealing and, although I had known of it for years, always resisting its purchase, I finally surrendered to Edward Whymper's SCRAMBLES AMONGST THE ALPS. Many critics championed it as the most famous book about mountaineering, the one book which absolutely needed prime space on the aficionado's shelves of honor. How could I have ignored it for so long? How could my fairly comprehensive collection be deemed complete without THAT ONE?

Of course, I had read about Whymper often. He is featured, cited, and quoted in half the reports and climbing memoirs, and now I would see how very much he should be. SCRAMBLES had seemed upon my first, nearly dismissive (!) glance too flighty for a momentous story about momentous subjects: mountains, and climbing them, and the men (and women) who do. In the nineteenth century, I was to learn, "scrambles" meant something more serious and severe than today's common understanding of the term. And, in any case, I was exceedingly curious to learn where in the volume would lie the most famous quote in the literature of mountaineering:

Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that
a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to
each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.

So I searched and was lucky to locate here, even without fully appreciating my good fortune, a hard covered sixth edition which I discovered contains much additional illustration and material from the author's unpublished diaries. Let me add that this edition is over-sized as well, giving more room for everything Whymper thought important. Having lived happily with this version (there are many), I cannot imagine any other. The images are profound, and sometimes necessary to better illustrate where things were occurring, and to clarify Whymper's otherwise always good prose placing us on icy slopes, balancing along an arête (almost always "knife-edged"), and leaping across notches with three or four thousand feet of air awaiting should we fall short of our intention. More than complementing the visuals, the additional written material is presented in set outs and footnotes which, contrary to your speculation, are not at all distracting, serving to more fully establish tales which if not true would seem completely improbable.

Everything is told through Whymper's marvelous, distinct, and intelligent voice. Well before the 86th page, I was so taken by our author and guide and his wordsmith's style, I began to write in his fashion (which I recognize just now I should thus demonstrate in this review!) After reading only Whymper's introduction, a sort of mountaineering history to that point, I was moved to note: "An astonishing, comprehensive sweep, and presented with such casual force!" For more, I direct the reader's attention to Chapter VIII as well, "The First Ascent of the Pointe Des Ecrins", some ten pages of the most compelling, fantastic, and thrilling report, almost over-shadowing the two concluding chapters presenting the first ascent of the Matterhorn and the tragic, infamous accident which struck the party at the very beginning of their descent. The complete text is followed by eleven appendices which left me wanting more, so I continued with some research of my own, learning, for example, of Whymper's eventual passing and monuments to his memory.

Without artifice, Whymper could weigh in easily, giving this subject its necessary gravitas, certainly a fitting tone for the terrible tragedy which occurred just when the Matterhorn was finally ascended after endless attempts, Whymper himself and his enthusiastic, focused obsession responsible for seven of them. The ego of some climbers is -- to be kind -- off-putting, but Whymper establishes himself as a trusted friend, competent leader, and sincere confidant. When his book ended I felt as if a unique and extraordinary friend had departed this earth. I would never see him again.

SCRAMBLES AMONGST THE ALPS is the sort of work that brings melancholia with its finish; I had much enjoyed Whymper's detailed, 19th century reporting, seemingly ushering me along as part of the story of his many climbs and expeditions. I had my criticisms, but they were gone with the last page, slipping away like the four who disappeared over the Matterhorn's high precipices. Imagine what that looked like to our author, just scant feet distant, having finally succeeded in gaining the summit of this "last problem", knowing at once the irredeemable mistake made by his party, and overwhelmed with the helplessness and unbearable responsibility the young man certainly felt. "Dear Friend," I wrote in my salute to Whymper, "were I only able to share it with you."
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Slow and Steady... 2 janvier 2008
Par Walter C. Skrzypek - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I found the book non-descriptal and factual. Written in a matter of fact English Literary form classic of that time period from a Chap. His knowledge is plentiful as he pours forth details of every sense on history of regions, region developement, ecology, geology...etc. But the going is very, very slow. It wasn't one of those books I pick up and read through in a matter of days. It took dedication days and I found it a bit depleting at times. I did rather enjoy his dry humor scattered throughout and his detailed outlook regarding natives of those areas of the time. Read if you're into history of mountaineering but have another book on the side to offset the pace.
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