Chamonix can be regarded as the birthplace of modern mountaineering, the time when men began to see the mountains and wanted them as a game, a challenge, a challenge.
In 1760, Horace Benedict de Saussure - natural, physical and Swiss geologist, found himself surprised at the magnificent sight before her eyes, the icy slopes were exposed to thoughts that there were vast white, cold, inhospitable were planted. Saussure thought that being once at the summit could achieve several scientific experiments, providing a great reputation. The impetus of desire cumear Hill was posing a challenge. Saussure offered a prize to those who achieve the improbable, then the scientist added the cold -1000 ° at the top of the mountain to the already unthinkable challenge. However a farmer saw a path, a path safe enough to venture against the monsters who lived there.
Several attempts were made, and, in one of them, until they gained some height, but the daring adventurers returned, because the rise should be done in one day. "People could not believe it was possible to venture out to spend the night in those snows," could have said to Saussure.
Jacques Balmat was the man to challenge, devils, cold, loneliness and everything, accustomed to hunting "chamois" in the region, climbed the slopes of Mount enigmatic, until once got lost and had to stay overnight in the open, terror-dominated during the night ... the hills are alive, you could hear sounds from the glacier and the biting wind, nothing so terrifying when the possibility of finding the dragons who lived there.
Statue of de Saussure and Balmat with Mont Blanc in the background Chamonix, France. Photo of the authors. The day finally came, the sun's heat and the certainty that he was alive, had not been disturbed by monsters. On returning to the city found Michel-Gabriel Paccard, told him what had happened and how he had seen a possible move to the top. The August 8, 1786 climbing the last steps by the absence of unsuspecting beasts, monsters or any other inhabitants of cumearam heights of Mont Blanc. By getting your return premium and already preparing the first guided science. In 1787 Saussure himself was before the valley who lived his life, his 17 companions were needed to transport scientific equipment used during the four hours frantically to stay on top you want.
The Spanish magazine Pitch in its editorial of issue number 1422, clearly defines this movement: "Since 1786, nothing has stopped the search for beauty that exists in the mountains. The first ascent of Mont Blanc was a scream at the top, whose echo has spread throughout the world and then brought further rises. She stopped where there were prepared to understand it. " He continues: "The repetitions to Mont Blanc and the first ascents alpine ridges more accessible, have given way to more challenging goals. But above all, it has something much more important. Then, and not before it triggered a movement that has brought its own cultural universe. Thanks to him, the climbing world was filled with great art works, literary, photographic and cinematographic. " It was more than a mere revolution Alpine, was a human revolution, because there appeared mountaineering, three years before the French Revolution and Industrial Revolution in full.
The Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Europe, because it loses in height to the Elbrus (5.642m) in the Western Caucasus in Russia, but is the highest of all neighboring peaks, which form the epicenter of the global movement Alpinist . Balmat returned to the mountain in June 1787, in company with two other guides, to make the second ascent. Finally, in August of that year, Saussure, then 47, realized his dream stepping on the summit of Mont Blanc, accompanied by 18 aides Balmat and more in the third ascent to the summit of the mountain. "Do not give credit to my eyes, it seemed a dream, when I saw my feet Cimas these majestic, these needles are appalling," wrote the Swiss.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the Mont Blanc went on to share the spotlight with other mountains of the Alps, but still remained the site of historic accomplishments. The first female ascent of Mont Blanc was Marie Paradis in 1808. Then in 1856 the Irish physicist and philosopher John Tyndall spent a night camped on the summit. The Mont Blanc also began to attract writers, painters and artists from across Europe. The British painter John Ruskin called the Mont Blanc massif of "the cathedrals of the earth."
Aiguille du Midi (3.800m) in Chamonix, France. Photo of autores.As mountains surrounding the Mont Blanc were also gradually being lifted. In 1818, the Aiguille du Midi (3.800m) has been climbing. In 1855, it was the turn of the Mont Blanc du Tacul (4.248m) and in 1872, the Aiguille de Leschaux (3.759m). On July 24, 1821 was founded the first and most prestigious association of mountain guides in the world, the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix. Most of the time rises expeditions were true, as de Saussure, and porters with heavy equipment.
Mont Blanc du Tacul (4.248m) in Chamonix, France. Photo of the authors. Mountain climbing in the first half of the nineteenth century, had a strong scientific motivation. The mountain was a completely new universe, which aroused the curiosity of researchers from various fields. Then in 1850, climbing and left the scientific aura began to be seen and practiced as a game, a sport. It was there that he lived on what became known as the golden age of mountaineering. Taken from a boom in ascension, the climbers in Europe, but especially English, began to conquer any summit virgin. To get an idea, only in the Alps, between 1863 and 1865, were recorded first ascents of peaks over 100 major.
Also in this golden era of great unrest arose among the climbers interest to meet and organize, which led to the creation of numerous clubs and associations. In 1857 he founded the first club in London's mountain history, The Alpine Club. Between 1859 and 1862, he published three volumes with stories of pioneering climbers, called peaks, glaciers and Steps, "which gave rise to the Alpine Journal, the first periodical devoted to mountaineering. Soon there were clubs alpine Austrian, Swiss, Italian and German. In 1874, founded the Club Alpin Français, just a year later had grown to one thousand members. It was Albert Frederick Mummery Briton, however, who laid the foundations of modern mountaineering in the late nineteenth century. Over time, already conquered the peaks are still virgin, the grace of the game no longer has to climb a ridge for the first time, but reach it at its most difficult and challenging. The change in mindset required new materials, so that arose was the predecessor of ice axes and crampons, and when it began to use strings on the climbs in order to protect climbers.
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