The unrivalled scenery of the Alps attracts increasing numbers of visitors every year, while for those who seek the more active and dangerous pursuits of climbing and skiing, the region offers unique opportunities. Ronald Clark, a distinguished historian of mountaineering, who knows the Alps fromend to end, describes the history of the mountains and their most famous peaks. The heroic story of their exploration, first by scientists, then by such early mountaineers as Whymper, Coolidge, Miss Brevoort and their guides, is related with extensive quotations from letters, diaries and contemporary records. With the mountaineers came the pioneer photographers whose cumbersome but fragile equipment had to be manhandled up ice-slopes and across glaciers to enable them to take their photographs, a procedure which necessitated hours of intricate manoeuvring, in freezing weather, to obtain one successful shot. Other chapters discuss the development of the Alps as a mountain health centre, the coming of roads and railways and the growth of the winter sports industry and Mr Clark warns that the mountains, like a Highland deer forest, can carry only a certain number of living creatures without facing disaster.

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