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Pioniere der Alpen

Pioniere der Alpen, by Carl Egger. 371 pages, with 24 portrait drawings. Zürich: Verlag Amstutz, Herdeg & Co., 1946.

Here are presented 30 biographies of notable Swiss guides from Melchior Anderegg to Franz Lochmatter, forming an outline of mountaineering history through somewhat more than a century. Those familiar with Carl Egger’s entertaining Aiguilles, and his later work on the Caucasus, know that the author is always interesting. He has quite evidently read the Alpine Journal from end to end, proper preparation for the compiling required in the work before us. The new volume is divided into four parts: (1) The Beginning. A section largely concerned with early attempts and successes on the Jungfrau, Finsteraarhorn and lesser peaks. (2) The Golden Age. Coincident with the founding of the Alpine Club and terminating (arbitrarily) with the ascent of the Matterhorn, this period of conquest among the outstanding Swiss peaks brings to the fore the guides of Meiringen, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, who outdistanced their compatriots of the Valais and Engadine. Melchior Anderegg, Christian Aimer and the Taugwalders are remembered names. (3) The Second Generation. The men of this era came upon the Alps when few of the higher summits were still untouched, but Alexander Burgener, Peter Knubel, Ferdinand Imseng, Aloys Pollinger and Christian Klucker had still new ridges and unscaled faces on which to prove themselves. (4) Guides Abroad. Often beset with homesickness and ailments sometimes imaginary, these men are yet not forgotten in distant ranges— Himalayas, Caucasus, Andes.

The 24 portraits drawn by the Zermatt artist, Emil Aufdenblatten, from contemporary photographs, are unequal in value, but those of Melchior Anderegg, Peter Knubel, Martin Schocher and Christian Klucker seem done to the life.

J. M. T.