Alpinistes d’Autrefois : Le Major Roger et son barometre, by Claire-Eliane Engel. 8 vo. ; pp. 212, with eight illustrations. Neuchatel and Paris: Attinger, 1935.
Alexandre Roger was born at Geneva in 1780 and lived until 1867, spending most of his life as an officer of the Swiss army in the making of barometric observations throughout the Alps. We are indebted for his biography to Miss Engel, who discovered transscriptions of his journals in the library of the late H. F. Montagnier.
The journeys described continued, with brief intermissions, from 1811 until 1839, and cover the mountain chain from the Tarentaise to the Grisons. Major Roger was content to measure rather than to climb, and he attached as much importance to his repast as to his route. When a high mountain forced itself into his scientific preoccupation, he records the ascents that have been made. He was one of the first, after Saussure and Ramond, to note the different stages in the crossing of a col, the traverse of a glacier, and the ascent of snow-clad rocks. He venerated Ramond and hated Elie de Beaumont—he was not impartial, but he is generally amusing.
The book is illustrated from an interesting series of contemporary prints.
J M. T