Climbing and Mountaineering.
and swing themselves across, pendulum fashion. It is the principle of the leaping-pole, reversed.
The art of climbing difficult places.-Always face difficult places ; if you slip, let your first effort be to turn upon your stomach, for in every other position you are helpless. A mountaineer, when he meets with a formidable obstacle, does not hold on the rock by means of his feet and his hands only, but he clings to it like a caterpillar, with every part of his body that can come simultaneously into contact with its roughened surface.
Snow Mountains.-Precautions.-The real dangers of the high Alps may be reduced to three:-I. Yielding of snowbridges over crevices. 2. Slipping on slopes of ice. 3. The fall of ice, or rocks, from above. Absolute security from the first is obtainable by tying the party together at intervals to a rope. If there be only two in company, they should be tied together at eight or ten paces apart. Against the second danger, the rope is usually effective, though frightful accidents have occurred by the fall of one man, dragging along with him the whole chain of his companions. Against the third danger there is no resource but circumspection. Ice falls chiefly in the heat of the day it is from limestone cliffs that the falling rocks are nearly always detached. W hen climbing ice of the most moderate slope, nailed boots are an absolute necessity ; and for steep slopes of ice, the ice-axe (described below) is equally essential.
Alpine Outfit consists of ropes, ice-axe or alpenstock (there must be at least one ice-axe in the party), nailed boots, coloured spectacles, veil or else a linen mask, muffettees, and gaiters.
I give the following extracts from the Report of a Committee appointed by the Alpine Club in 1864, on Ropes, Axes, and Alpenstocks :
Ropes.-We have endeavoured to ascertain what ropes will best stand the sharp jerk which would be caused by a man falling suddenly into a crevasse, or down an ice-slope : and on this subject we lay before the Club the result of nearly a hundred
experiments, made with various kinds of rope purchased of the best London makers. We considered that the least weight with which it was practically useful to test ropes, was twelve stone, as representing the average weight of a light man with his whole Alpine equipment, In the preliminary experiments, therefore, all