American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Adventures of an Alpine Guide

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  • Publication Year: 1932

Adventures of an Alpine Guide, by Christian Klucker, translated by E. and P. Gaisberg ; edited, with additional chapters, by H. E. G. Tyndale, 8 vo., xiii + 329 pages, with sixteen illustrations, map and index. John Murray, London, England, 1932. 10s 6d.

This is the first English translation from the third German edition edited by Ernst Jenny. Christian Klucker was a great gentleman as well as a famous guide, his ascents numbering more than 3,000, inclusive of more than a hundred expeditions, the last of which took place in his seventy-fourth year.

His memoirs surpass anything which individual guides have hitherto written of their exploits, covering as they do his whole life, together with his relations with such outstanding climbers as Norman-Neruda, Whymper, Davidson and Farrar, to mention only a few of those with whom he travelled.

To Americans, much of interest will be found in the chapter dealing with Edward Whymper’s expedition to the Canadian Rocky Mountains in 1901, throwing much new light on the chronology of this strangely-conducted journey. Indeed, for Klucker’s personal opinion of Whymper, one should consult the original German text, which has been toned down considerably in translation for British consumption.

More than anything previously published, this chapter outlines the progress of their activity in the Rockies, the mountaineering portion of which may be summarized as follows :

June 9th-18th. Banff. The guides, in two separate parties, without their chief, ascended Mt. Rundle, Cascade Mountain, and a peak of the Sawback Range.

June 24th-26th. Vermilion Pass. Reconnoitring for Mt. Ball; attempt abandoned. Ascended two peaks of the Vermilion group, one of which may have been the present Storm Mountain.

July 6th-15th. Lake Louise. Placed camp on saddle between Mts. Whyte and Niblock. Mt. Whyte ascended by Kaufmann, Pollinger and Klucker on July 7th; Mt. Aberdeen by the same party on July 11th. The Mitre was ascended by Kaufmann and Pollinger on July 13th, while Bossonay and Klucker climbed Mt. Niblock. Mt. Lefroy was ascended by Whymper and the four guides on July 15th.

July 25th-August 24th. Little Y oho Valley. Outram joins the climbing party. Mts. President, Vice-President, McArthur, two peaks at head of valley, and Isolated Peak ascended. Klucker and Whymper were not always on these climbs : on August 3rd they crossed Emerald Pass to Emerald Lake; on August 8th, with T. Wilson they traversed Kiwetinok Pass, reaching Field by way of Amiskwi Valley.

The combined group climbed Mt. des Poilus, and on August 17th attained the summit of Mt. Collie. On August 21st, Outram, Pollinger and Klucker ascended Mt. Balfour. Whymper, with assistance, reached the top of Trolltinder, the party afterwards leaving Yoho Valley, Outram, Kaufmann and Pollinger crossed Balfour Pass to Bow River and Laggan. At Field they met Jean Habel returning from his notable journey to Athabaska sources.

On August 26th, Outram and Klucker traversed Cathedral Mountain from Field to Hector.

August 29th-September 7th. Ice River Valley. A short and final journey, to the Ottertail group, came to nothing on account of bad weather, and the party returned to England.

The book, as a whole, presents a varying and always interesting account of the moods of mountains and men : it is a noteworty record which should be widely read.

J. M. T.

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