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Alps, Mont Blanc Sesquicentennial

Mont Blanc Sesqnicentennial. This August will mark the 150th anniversary of the most important event in the history of mountaineering, for it was on the 8th and 9th of August, in 1786, that Dr. Michel Gabriel Paccard and Jacques Balmat, of Chamonix, succeeded in reaching the summit of Mount Blanc. This event really marks the beginning of mountaineering as we know it today, for although climbing, even rock climbing, is mentioned in antiquity, mountain in the Alps was vulnerable to human attack, that we find more than a few desultory climbers.

These two men, one of them a scientist, succeeded in climbing what was then considered an extremely great height, and thereby opened up a new field of scientific research which, combined with the growth of travel and outdoor recreation, led to the present development of mountaineering. Although it was de Saussure who spurred on the attempts upon the mountain, it was these two men who opened the way for de Saussure’s own successful climb of the following year. Thus this event can be looked upon as the true beginning of mountain climbing as we know it today.