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Edward Whymper | Scrambles Amonst the Alps (1893) | John Murray

Edward Whymper | Scrambles Amongst The Alps (1893)

Price £99.00 Sale

In the Years 1860-69


Zaehnsdorf binding, 4th Edition,
JOHN MURRAY, London, 1893

The rare 1893 'snowflake' edition, bound by Zaehnsdorf, and generally regarded as the finest edition of Whymper's celebrated work. The boards are decorated with gilt snowflakes and it is superbly illustrated throughout with more than 100 fine engravings. This book originally belonged to Henry Ward Kearns (1841-1927), a Lancashire mill owner, who lived at Baxenden House, Accrington.

Edward Whymper's classic account of his pioneering climbs in the alps, culminating in his dramatic, and ultimately tragic, first successful ascent of the Matterhorn, is regarded as the most important mountaineering book ever written. It chronicles the almost obsessive pursuit of his ultimate goal — the summit of the world's most famous mountain. His adventures along the way are fascinating, giving a glimpse into a long forgotten world where mountains were climbed, if at all, by men in tweed jackets with none of the equipment that modern mountaineers would consider essential. Whymper finally succeeded in conquering the Matterhorn, but four of his companions on that fateful day died while descending from the summit. He was to be haunted forever by the terrible memories of that scene:

"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…"

The final words of Whymper's masterpiece have become legendary:

"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."


This volume is in good condition. It has been professionally rebound, with a new spine and spine label, retaining the original ‘Snowflake’ decorated boards and Zaehnsdorf marbled endpapers. The binding and hinges are very good and secure. The front and rear boards have signs of age and wear and some marks. The gilt snowflake decorations on the boards are worn in places. The text is in good condition, with some marks. The top edge of the text is gilt and the page edges are uncut. The original marbled endpapers are in good condition, retaining the small Zaehnsdorf label and with a decorative antique bookplate of ‘H. W. Kearns, Baxenden House, Accrington’ to the front endpaper. There is some foxing to the plain preliminary pages and last few pages. The illustrations are in good condition. Three of the five folding maps at the end of the volume are missing. The two remaining folding maps ('The Chain of Mont Blanc' and 'The Matterhorn and its Glaciers’) are in good condition.

Published: 1893
Zaehnsdorf binding with gilt snowflake design
With 23 full page illustrations, & 107 illustrations in the text
2 large folding maps
Dimensions: 170mm x 230mm
Pages: 468