A Survey of American Ascents in the Alps in the Nineteenth Century, by J. Monroe Thorington. 8vo., 83 pages and numerous illustrations. New York: American Alpine Club, 1943. Issued for the membership. Sale copies limited; $2.00.
This slender volume contains all that could be discovered regarding Americans who, during various tours of Europe in the last century, were sufficiently attracted by the Alps to ascend one or more peaks. The majority of travellers went to Chamonix, where Mont Blanc was the popular attraction, more than 100 Americans completing the ascent during the period 1819-80. For most of them it was their one great adventure in this sport, scarcely enough to establish a tradition. Mountaineering had become accepted in Europe by that time and routine climbs were no longer regularly recorded, so that it is easier to find out about American ascents before 1880 than afterward, there being practically no journals at that time in America through which such information could be disseminated. Although little is known of American mountaineering abroad in the ’80s and ’90s, there is every reason to suppose that it did in a small way parallel the growing activities of European climbers.
The book has a topographical arrangement, beginning with climbs in the Western Alps, and contains a number of rare portraits of early American climbers.