Because It's There: A Celebration of Mountaineering from 200 B.C. to Today

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Taylor Trade Publications, Apr 9, 2003 - Nature - 496 pages
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Mountains have long inspired the wit and daring of the world's most fascinating explorers. In this definitive collection of mountain lore, Alan Weber exhibits forty-three essays by artists and adventurers to whom climbing was more a mission than a sport. Beginning with the fabled tale of Hannibal's Roman invasion-men, horses, and elephants in tow-through the hitherto impassable Alps, the accounts progress to recent descriptions of high-peaks mountain climbing in Mount Everest and the formidable K-2. Included among the earlier pieces are Petrarcha's introspective journey to the Windy Mount; William Windham's exploration of Montenvers and the "Sea of Ice" in 1741; and English artist-critic John Ruskin's essay on mountain climate and culture. Literary masters portray the idyllic and imperfect aspects of mountain life: the restoration poet Andrew Marvell offers a hymn to the Barrow hills, while poems from Shelley, Lord Byron, and Matthew Arnold praise the natural beauty and fresh air of the mountain crags. Because It's There pays homage to the spiritual introspection and respect for nature engendered by the looming mountain ranges that have demarcated territories, protecting villages and cities from invasion. The explorations these mountains have inspired have tested human endurance and mental strength.
Alan Weber is a research fellow of the Institute for European Studies at Cornell University and a CEMERS Associate Fellow at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the editor and author of Nineteenth Century Science: A Selection of Original Texts, and Women Almanac Writers (Forthcoming). A long-time member of the Penn State Outing and Cornell Outing Clubs, he has rock and ice-climbed in the Adirondacks, Green and Shawangunk Mountains, and Mount Rainier.
 

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Because it's there a celebration of mountaineering from 200 B. C. to today

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From Livy's account of Hannibal's grim crossing of the Alps to entries by contemporary climbers that refer casually to oxygen tanks and brand-name stoves, Weber, a historian and avid climber, has ... Read full review

Contents

Hannibal Crosses the Alps c 200 BCE
1
Petrarch Climbs Mont Ventoux 1336
9
On the Admiration of Mountains 1541
16
from Vallesiae et alpinum descriptio 1574
22
Upon the Hill and Grove at BillBorow 1681
29
from Telluris sacra theoria On the Sacred Theory of the Earth 1684
32
from the Swiss Mountain Roamer 1723
40
Die Alpen 1732
42
from the Shameless Diary of an Explorer 1907
241
from Ruwenzori 1908
250
from A Search for the Apex of America 1911
257
from the Ascent of Denali Mt McKinley 1914
274
The Song of the Himalayan Faeries Ad Alta 1914
284
from the Assault on Mount Everest 1922 1923
288
from the Fight for Everest 1924 1925
307
from on High Hills 1927
322

from an Account of the Glaciers or Ice Alps in Savoy in Two Letters 1744
44
The First Ascent of the Great White Mountain Mont Blanc 1786
54
Mont Blanc Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni 1816
63
Lachin y Gair When I Roved a Young Highlander c 1820
68
Stanzas in Memory of the Author of Obermann 1849
72
from Wanderings among the High Alps 1856
79
Mountain Glory 1860
105
The Weisshorn 1861
134
Ktaadn 1864
144
The Fatal Accident on the Matterhorn 1865
169
Sunset on Mont Blanc 1871
184
from A Ladys Life in the Rocky Mountains 1879
195
The Ascent of the Riffelberg 1880
205
from the Mountains of California 1894
214
The Pleasures and Penalties of Mountaineering 1895
225
The Abominable Snowman 1938
345
from Blank on the Map 1938
352
from Annapurna 1953
356
from Starlight and Storm 1954
362
from High Adventure 1955
373
from Edge of the World 1974
381
from the Snow Leopard 1978
411
from in the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods 1986
418
from the Crystal Horizon 1989
427
Reflections on My First Expedition 1992
442
from we Aspired 1993
450
from Postcards from the Ledge 1998
462
Disaster Deferred 2003
467
Glossary
473
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About the author (2003)

Weber is an historian as well as an avid climber. He is currently a research fellow of the Institute for European Studies at Cornell University and a CEMERS Associate Fellow at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the editor of Nineteenth Century Science: A Selection of Original Texts and Women Almanac Writers . A long-time member of the Penn state Outing and Cornell Outing Clubs, he has rock- and ice-climbed in the Adirondacks, Green and Shawangunk Mountains, and Mount Rainier.

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