The Chamonix Valley remembers the “Golden Age of Alpinism” this summer (Photo: http://1865.chamonix.fr/en/)
It is an era remembered today as the “Golden Age of Alpinism” and 1865 marked its zenith.
That was the year which ended a a glorious decade of climbing with 65 first ascents of peaks stretching from Mont Blanc to the Dolomites.
But it was also a year when the first triumphant ascent of Matterhorn, the last of the great unclimbed 4000m Alpine peaks turned to tragedy. Three English climbers, Lord Francis Douglas, Charles Hudson, Douglas Hadow and Chamonix guide Michel Croz died during their descent, a grim reminder of what can happen on a mountain.
Tragedy on Matterhorn in 1865
These and other exploits, almost a century before the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953, will be celebrated this year in Chamoix, France during a summer of tributes to the pioneering alpinists of this age called “1865 and the Golden Age of Mountaineering.”
The programme begins on 10 July 2015 with an exhibition of the treasures of the Alpine Club, the oldest mountaineering organization in the world and whose climbers were involved in many of the early climbs.
Other events, exhibitions and excursions throughout the valley through to September include:
- Jubilee climbs, a retro and modern celebration of the first ascents in the Mont-Blanc Massif: Aiguille Verte, Grandes Jorasses, Aiguille du Bionnassay and the Brenva Spur.
- A theatrical sound and light show in Argentière in memory of Chamonix guide Michel Croz, victor and victim of the Matterhorn on July 14 1865.
- A lecture on the conquests on the Matterhorn by leading contemporary alpinists.
- A focus on the women climbers of 1850 – 1900.
- The republication of the “L’Abeille de Chamonix” newspaper from 150 years ago with authentic news articles from that period.