First Descent Of The Matterhorn

First Descent Of The Matterhorn
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Price: $299.95
Product ID : 1251f
Weight: 2.00 lbs
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Out Of Print... VERY RARE...The first ascent of the Matterhorn on 4th July 1865 was followed some two hours later by what was destined to become the most famous accident in mountaineering history, when four of the seven climbers fell some 4,000 feet to their deaths. The only survivors were the English climber Edward Whymper and the Zermatt guides Peter Taugwalder, father and son. The loss of the Chamonix guide Michel Croz, of the English clergyman Charles Hudson and his former pupil Douglas Hadow and of Lord Francis Douglas the heir to the Marquess of Queensberry, gave rise almost immediately to controversy about such matters as the cause of the accident, the breaking or rumored cutting of the rope and even whether mountaineering could be justified as a sport. A formal Inquiry was held 'in camera' at Zermatt but, as the evidence of the survivors was never revealed to the Swiss press, it did nothing to dispel the rumors. Dozens of readers letters were published in The Times including a lengthy factual account that Whymper himself was forced to write, in which he scrupulously abstained from offering observations and casting blame on anyone. But Whymper's endeavours to avoid giving pain to the relatives of the deceased were misunderstood and since his death in 1911 much unjustifiable criticism has been leveled against him. It is therefore time to take a fresh look at the contemporary evidence and at the writings of some three dozen critics and to put the first descent of the Matterhorn back into its proper perspective. Some of the English and Swiss critics have innocently distorted the history by adopting the errors and misunderstandings of their predecessors, but others have gone much further and have carelessly or even mischievously, introduced fresh issues and made comments that are wholly inconsistent with the evidence. Much of the evidence published in the past in books that are now out of print, as well as that hidden away in archives and revealed here for the first time, is difficult to find, and the object of this bibliographical guide is to bring as much of it as possible together in one place. New light is shed on such issues as why Old Peter Taugwalder tied himself to Lord Francis Douglas with 'a special rope, as he termed it, and the book takes a detailed look at how the part time hotelier Joseph Clemenz conducted the Enquiry into the deaths of his guest Douglas and the other victims, and at why the only questions of substance put to Taugwalder on the first day should have come from the list of questions handed in by Whymper. It considers such matters as, why Clemenz concentrated on the qualities of the rope between Croz and Douglas, rather than on the use of the weaker rope that actually broke between Douglas and Taugwalder; why Charles Hudson took the inexperienced Hadow on the climb; why the letters written to 'The Times' from Zermatt by the summer chaplain Joseph McCormick 'were intentionally silent on certain matters including the exact cause of the accident; and whether the eight eagles observed by the Parker brothers at the end of July had already discovered the missing body of Lord Francis Douglas.

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