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Scrambles Amongst the Alps


By Edward Whymper

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The ascent of Mont Pelvoux (including the disagreeables) was a very delightful scramble. The mountain air did not act as an emetic; the sky did not look black instead of blue; nor did I feel tempted to throw myself over precipices. I hastened to enlarge my experience, and went to the Matterhorn. I was urged toward Mont Pelvoux by those mysterious impulses which cause men to peer into the unknown. Not only was this mountain reputed to be the highest in France, and on that account was worthy of attention, but it was the dominating point of a most picturesque district of the highest interest, which, to this day, remains almost unexplored. The Matterhorn attracted me simply by its grandeur. It was considered to be the most thoroughly inaccessible of all mountains, even by those who ought to have known better. Stimulated to make fresh exertions by one repulse after another, I returned, year after year, as I had opportunity, more and more determined to find a way up it, or toprove it to be really inaccessible.

 

A considerable portion of this volume is occupied by the history of these attacks on the Matterhorn, and the other excursions that are described have all some connection, more or less remote, with that mountain or with Mont Pelvoux. All are new excursions (that is, excursions made for the first time), unless the contrary is pointed out. Some have been passed over very briefly, and entire ascents or descents have been disposed of in a single line. If they had been worked out at full length, three volumes instead of one would have been required. Generally speaking, the salient points alone have been dwelt upon, and the rest has been left to the imagination. This treatment has saved the reader from much useless repetition......................

 

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