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Whymper, A Guide to Zermatt and the Matterhorn.

Whymper, Edward.

A Guide to Zermatt and the Matterhorn. With 79 Illustrations & Maps.

Fourteenth Edition. London, John Murray, 1910. 12.5 cm x 18.5 cm. XIV, 224 pages. 79 illustrations. One fold-out panormic photograph of Schwarze Glacier at rear. Fold-out map at rear showing ‘The Valley of Zermatt and the Central Pennine Alps.’ Softcover – publisher’s originally illustrated wrappers. Good- condition with stronger signs of external wear. Interior bright and clean. Rear cover is loosened and repairs have been made to the binding with some sellotape . Binding firm and strong otherwise.

Includes, for example, the following: On the Early History and Rise of Zermatt / Upon Some Attempts to Ascend the Matterhorn / Excursions form Zermatt / On the Valley of SaaS (SaaS Thal) etc.

Edward Whymper (1840-1911), an English mountaineer and artist who was a central figure in the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 and this work includes an account of that climb and some earlier unsuccessful attempts.
Whymper was one of the foremost climbers during the golden age of British mountaineering in the 1850s and 1860s and did much to popularise the mountains and hills among the growing numbers of the middle class eager and able to take to the heights as transportation became easier during the Victorian era. In one of his works, ‘Scrambles amongst the Alps’’ Whymper offered memorable words of advice to these aspiring mountaineers: “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime.″

Privately educated, Whymper entered his father, Josiah’s wood engraving business and ultimately succeeded as head of it.
The nineteenth-century enthusiasm for natural history provided frequent work for the Whympers, engraving the illustrations for the increasing number of guides, catalogues and encyclopaedias. Travel narratives, guidebooks and descriptions of archaeological discoveries were also fruitful sources of employment. Josiah Whymper was involved in the publication of David Livingstone’s ‘Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa’, published at the end of 1857. The growing enthusiasm for mountains and hills that Whymper helped to foster was also a boon for the engraving business as arm-chair adventurers sought out illustrated publications to satisfy their hunger for nature and derring-do. (Source: Edward Whymper, ‘Introduction’, in The Apprenticeship of a Mountaineer: Edward Whymper’s London Diary, 1855-1859, ed. Ian Smith (London, 2008), pp. ix-xxvi. British History Online website)

The young Whymper was sent to Switzerland in 1860 to make sketches for a book on the Alps and became a mountaineer thereafter.
In July 1865, Whymper succeeded in reaching the summit of the Matterhorn by way of the eastern face, after six previous attempts had ended in failure. However, four members of the party were killed on the descent, resulting in a formal investigation on his return. His account of the accident featured in ‘Scrambles among the Alps’ (1871), which is illustrated with his own engravings.
In 1867, Whymper led the British Exploring Expedition, travelling to Greenland in an unsuccessful attempt to cross the interior with dog sledges. He and botanist, Robert Brown, succeeded in collecting specimens on the shores of Vaigat, which were later deposited in the British Museum. He returned to west Greenland in 1872 when he led the British Reconnaissance Expedition, examining the coasts around Disko Island, making glaciological and geological observations and collecting fossils.
Whymper next led an expedition to the Ecuadorian Andes, organized primarily to collect data for the study of altitude sickness and the effects on the human body. In 1880, he made the first ascent of Chimborazo, and spent a night on the summit of Cotopaxi, in addition to making first ascents of six other great peaks. The results of his journey were published in 1892 for which he was awarded the Patrons Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. He brought back a large collection of rocks and other natural history specimens and suggested important improvements in the construction of aneroid barometers.
Between 1896 and 1897, Whymper compiled two popular guidebooks to Chamonix and Zermatt. He visited the Canadian Rockies, making the first ascents of Mount Whymper and Stanley Peak in 1901. He died on 16 September 1911 at Chamonix in France. (Wikipedia)


Whymper, A Guide to Zermatt and the Matterhorn.