Dernières Victoires du Cervin, by Giuseppe Mazotti. Translated into French by Commandant Émile Gaillard. 8 vo., pp. 202, with 32 illustrations from photographs. Neuchatel: Attinger, 1934. Price Fr. 3.
A mountaineering friend once remarked to me that what he most missed above the line of vegetation was the perfume of plants and flowers. Signor Giuseppe Mazotti, and M. Gos likewise, insist over and over again on the odors of snow, hail, wet rock, pulverized rock, and even the brimstone smell of the storm amid the clouds.
Signor Mazotti is an artist in the descriptive quality of his writing. We are actually present at the great ascents of the Matterhorn, notably the four walls of this celebrated pyramid : we relive with intensity the hardships, dangers and triumphs of these dynamic heroes who risked all with a smile and a shrug, some of whom did not return to tell the tale. Take, for example, Lammer and Lorria, who were carried 600 ft. by an avalanche on the west face. Lammer, conscious all the time and thinking that he was going to a beautiful death, complained afterwards that the sun shining through the whirl of snow, had forced him to close his eyes ! Having skinned his hands, broken his nose, put his ankle out of joint, and lost his ice-axe, he travelled five kilometers on a glacier and two more on moraines and pasture lands, crawling on knees and elbows, before he found help for himself and his friend. Take the case of Fritz Herrmann who climbed the Matterhorn single-handed—and without creepers, having lost them before he started out. Night and fog caught him high up on the precipitous west face, hunting for a place large enough and level enough to sit on and spend the night. He lacked even a rock nail or a scrap of rope by which to attach himself to the mountain; so that he knew he must remain awake and watchful: Woe betide him if he slept. But it was dawn on the Matterhorn—and not in other regions— when he awoke ! That ascent he survived, but vanished on a climb not a year after.
Thirty-two superb photographs illustrate this volume, giving unusual views of what is, perhaps, the world’s most famous mountain.
G. I. F.-G.