Alpinisme Anecciotique, by Charles Gos. 8 vo., pp. 320. Neuchatel: Attinger, 1934. Price Fr. 3.50.
Here is a volume that should prove a welcome addition to the library of every mountain lover, whether or not he has ever set foot upon the Alps. Here are the traditions of the mountain climber in history and in legend. Beyond the cold page of factual record, M. Gos catches and revives the ancient challenge of man to mountain, and from mountain to man. From the hardy Ligurian mountaineer of the year 120 B. C. leading a surprise attack on a cliff-bound citadel, and including the most notable climbers of the Middle Ages, Petrarch, Leonardo da Vinci, the author reviews the romantic period of de Saussure, the first accident, and the conquest of the great peaks.
The second part of the book may be said to be dedicated to M. Gos’s friend and guide from St. Niklaus, Franz Lochmatter, killed on the Weisshorn in the summer of 1933. It contains Geoffrey Winthrop Young’s panegyric of Franz, reprinted from the Alpine Journal; and a commentary on the hierarchy of the Lochmatters and their cousins, the Pollingers, François Devouassoud of Chamonix, and that unlucky but chivalrous guide of Annie S. Peck, Rudolph Taugwalder, now guardian of the Zermatt museum.
It is well known that M. Gos is an ardent student of the conquest of the Matterhorn. He visited the little museum of Zermatt where are piously conserved the grisly remains of the tragedy of 1865. He examines, handles, and reveals his discoveries and conclusions. This volume ends with the publication for the first time in book form of a most sensational document, the interrogation of the survivors, so deeply moving in its stark simplicity, which had remained sealed in the judicial archives of the Canton of Valais. To the mountain lover, “L’Alpinisme Anecdotique” is far more fascinating that fiction.
G. I. F.-G.