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Scrambles Amongst the Alps

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  16 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by National Geographic Society (first published 1871)
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Matias
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the real classics within the adventure genre. The book is a time witness from the decades when the alps were still unexplored, when pedestrianism were a sport and when six bottle of wines, one bottle of whiskey and two cigars was adequate packing for the conquering of a four thousand meter high peak. The conquest of Matterhorn is of course the highlight and a must read for anyone going to climb in the alps.
Clara Mazzi
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 personali che toccano l’ambito dell’antropologia) e non annoia mai. Tutt’altro! Avvince. Sempre. Magnifiche poi le incisioni tutte eseguite dallo stesso Whymper, ad hoc per questo libro, che voleva intenziona ...more
Robert Snow
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 hundred times, first when I was 16 and from then on until last year when my legs started to bother me." (He was 65 years old and out skied everyone on the mountain!!!) It was then he told me about Edward W ...more
Will Jones
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 the detail Whymper goes to in describing his thoughts on mountaineering and glacier travel.
Ingo
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What language and what humor. A thoroughly enjoyable read not to be missed out on by all of us who live for the mountains.
Marnie Zorn
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish..
Gail Pool
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 region in 1860, he had “only a literary acquaintance with mountain-climbing.” He took to it at once, returning often to make many first ascents. But it was the grandeur of the Matterhorn, considered the “
...more
Amerynth
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 that. His tragic climb of the Matterhorn, where a majority of his companions died, is the best story of the book and he makes you wait for until the end. There are several chapters that focus on the geol ...more
Charlie
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 interesting if you're passionate about climbing and climbing history, and pretty well written, giving it's out of 1880;

If not otherwise it could be a bit too dispersive and technical to be enjoyable.

Pre
...more
Terry Kearns
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 profession he has good powers of observation.

Anyway, I reading a 2nd time.
Lisa
May 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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, walk back down to the valley, then "walk to Grenoble" - 120km away...
Erneilson
Aug 01, 2010 rated it liked it
A little dry but still a classic.
Jeff
Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Interesting history on climbing, but he tends to digress for pages on minutiae that bored me
April Davila
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Great historical piece, a little slow at times.
Martha
Feb 12, 2010 added it
1871 book; maps; hundreds of hand-drawn illustrations
Max Wilson
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very good, but sometimes vey technical, book on early mountainclimbing.
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British mountaineer, explorer, and illustrator best known for making the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.

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Contemporary young adult literature has often led the way in depicting the real-life issues facing teens from all backgrounds. To delve into ho...
59 likes · 7 comments
“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.” 79 likes
“Still, the last sad memory hovers round, and sometimes drifts across like floating mist, cutting off sunshine and chilling the remembrance of happier times. There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell; and with these in mind I say: 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.” 21 likes
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