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 one of the best in the nascent field of mountaineering. But on the Matterhorn, considered to be mountaineering’s Holy Grail at the time, Whymper met with failure again and again. On his eighth attempted ascent he finally succeeded, becoming the first man to reach its magnificent peak. The victory came at a heavy cost, however, as Whymper watched four of his companions fall to their deaths on the descent. It was a tragedy that would cast a shadow over the remainder of his life.
Published in 1871, Scrambles Amongst the Alps is Whymper’s own story of his nine years spent climbing in the Alps. One of the first books devoted to the sheer thrill of mountaineering, it is a breathtaking account of the triumph of man over mountain in a time before thermal clothing, nylon ropes, global positioning systems, and air rescues. It also offers Whymper’s controversial story of the tragedy on the Matterhorn. One of the best adventure books of all time, Scrambles Amongst the Alps is an essential classic of climbing literature by one of mountaineering’s most legendary figures.