Grill, genannt Kederbacher, by Fritz Schmitt. 243 pages, with illustrations. Munich : Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, 1935. Price RM. 3.80.
Der Sepp, by Karl Springenschmid. 361 pages. Munich : Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, 1935. Price RM. 6.
Junger Mensch im Gebirg, by Leo Maduschka. xvi + 206 pages, with 48 illustrations. Munich : Gesellschaft Alpiner Bücherfreunde, 1936. Price RM. 4.80.
Three inspiring biographies, appearing within a year, are of exceptional interest to readers of German, and add to that small group of books which hold the psychology and activity of the professional and the amateur in relation to mountain sport.
Johann Grill (Kederbacher), held in affectionate memory by as competent a mountaineer as Captain Farrar, would have been 100 years old had he been alive on October 22, 1935. He died in 1917 at his birthplace in the Bavarian Ramsau. Belonging to the period of classical alpinism, he was reckoned among the greatest guides of his day. His knowledge of the limestone Alps, especially the Watzmann district, was then unequalled, and, in addition, he had visited all major groups of the Eastern Alps. Kaindl, Pöschl, Purtscheller and Blodig are among the famous names to be found in his Führerbuch. His tours in the late ’70s included journeys to Switzerland, with first experience on the 4000-m. peaks. He knew the Oberland and the Pennine groups from end to end, and led to the top of Piz Bernina by a new route of his own selection. In August, 1883, he spent a night with Farrar in a trying bivouac on the Zinal wall of the Weisshorn—“I never saw him show any trace of anxiety. He was coolness itself.”
As Karl Schmitt has chosen to write of Grill in lively, romantic style, so also has Karl Springenschmid in his life of Sepp Inner-kofler—Der Sepp. In all of Alpine history there is scarcely a figure more compelling to the imagination that this little man of the Dolomites, who laid down his life so gallantly in the Paternkofel attack of 1915. It is a thrilling drama unfolded, set off with touches of splendid humor, among which the tales told by old Michel Innerkofler are unequalled by anyone before Conrad Kain. There are great spirits at rest in the little cemetery of Sexten.
Leo Maduschka (1908-32), a young Munich climber, perished in a storm on the N.W. wall of the Civetta. He was a poet anda mountaineer of the modern school, the counterpart of Georg Winkler. The chronicle of his short life, edited by his friend, Walter Schmidkunz, is the seventeenth publication of the Gesellschaft Alpiner Bücherfreunde, and is superbly illustrated.
J. M. T.