Silver age of alpinism

The silver age of alpinism is the name given in Great Britain to the era in mountaineering that began after Edward Whymper and party's ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 and ended with W. W. Graham and party's ascent of the Dent du Géant in 1882.[1]

Whilst the golden age of alpinism (1854–1865) was characterised by the first ascents of many of the Alps's most dominant mountains, the subsequent silver age may be seen as consisting of the first ascents of the many worthwhile peaks left unclimbed, although these peaks were – and remained – largely unknown to the wider public in Great Britain.

Once these peaks had been climbed, many ambitious alpinists turned their attention to more distant and often loftier ranges, such as the Caucasus, the Andes, the Rockies and, latterly, the Himalayas.

Prominent alpinists and guides of the period include Christian Almer, Melchior Anderegg, Hermann von Barth, Alexander Burgener, W. A. B. Coolidge, Henri Cordier, Clinton Thomas Dent, James Eccles, D. W. Freshfield, Pierre Gaspard, Paul Grohmann, Paul Güssfeldt, John Oakley Maund, Thomas Middlemore, A. W. Moore, Albert F. Mummery, Julius Payer and William Penhall.

First ascents in the silver age

A number of high, major summits were reached at a still later date, including the Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey (1885). Many technically challenging peaks, especially in the Dolomites, defeated climbers into the 20th century, with Campanile Basso (1899),[2] de:Campanile di Val Montanaia (1902), Torre Venezia (1909), Torre Trieste (1910) and Aiguille Dibona (1913) perhaps being the last big prizes.

See also


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