Albert F. Mummery

Albert Frederick Mummery (10 September 1855, Dover, Kent, England – 24 August 1895, Nanga Parbat), was an English mountaineer and author. Although most notable for his many and varied first ascents put up in the Alps, Mummery, along with J. Norman Collie, Hastings, and two Gurkhas are also known to have been the first men in recorded history to have attempted to summit one of the Himalayan eight-thousanders - the fourteen highest peaks in the world.

Their innovative, light-weight endeavour upon Nanga Parbat in 1895 was to prove ill-fated with Mummery and both Gurkhas having perished in an avalanche whilst reconnoitering the mountain's Rakhiot Face. The mountain would go on to earn its reputation as a "man-eater," as thirty-one men would lose their lives on its slopes before the first ascent was made by the legendary Austrian Mountaineer, Hermann Buhl, in 1953. Buhl described Mummery as "One of the greatest mountaineers of all time".[1]

Albert F. Mummery
Albert Mummery
Born10 September 1855
Died24 August 1895 (aged 39)
OccupationMountaineer, Author
My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus, plate 11
Albert F. Mummery, mountaineering


Mummery's father was a tanner and mayor of Dover. The tanning business was prosperous enough for Mummery to devote most of his energies to climbing and economics. He became a friend of J. A. Hobson, and they collaborated on The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that because of economies' tendencies towards over-saving - and this being a cause of depressions – the economy required intervention to achieve stability.[2]


Mummery is best remembered for his pioneering efforts in mountaineering. Initially, he climbed with mountain guides, but with his companions William Cecil Slingsby and J. Norman Collie he was part of the movement which revolutionized alpinism by the practice of guideless climbing. He invented the Mummery tent, a type of tent used in the early days of mountaineering.

He made a series of remarkable first ascents, most notably the Aiguille du Grépon (which features a crack named after him), the Dent du Requin, the Grands Charmoz, the Teufelsgrat on the Täschhorn, the Dürrenhorn and the Zmutt ridge of the Matterhorn, which he ascended on 3 September 1879 with the guides Alexander Burgener, J. Petrus and A. Gentinetta. In 1894, he led his friend, the young Duke of the Abruzzi, to the top of the Matterhorn by the same route.

Mummery occasionally climbed with his wife Mary, or with her friend Lily Bristow.

In 1880, Mummery and Burgener were repelled while trying to make the first ascent of the much-coveted Dent du Géant, being forced back by some difficult slabs. This provoked Mummery to exclaim prophetically: 'Absolutely inaccessible by fair means!'[3]

In 1895, Collie, Hastings and Mummery were the first climbers to attempt the Himalayan 8,000 metre peak, Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world. On this pioneering lightweight expedition, the mountain claimed the first of its many victims, when Mummery and two Gurkhas, Ragobir Thapa and Goman Singh, fell and were killed by an avalanche while reconnoitering the Rakhiot Face. Their bodies were never found. The story of this disastrous expedition is told in J. Norman Collie's book From the Himalaya to Skye.

Mummery left behind him a legacy of some of the most well-regarded routes in the Alps, and also, in his book My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus, one of the enduring classics of mountaineering literature.

It has frequently been noticed that all mountains appear doomed to pass through the three stages: An inaccessible peak - The most difficult ascent in the Alps - An easy day for a lady.

— Albert Frederick Mummery, My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus


  1. ^ Hermann Buhl, È buio sul ghiacciaio, con i diari alle spedizioni al Nanga Parbat, al Broad Peak e al Chogolisa, a cura di Kurt Diemberger, Corbaccio, 2007, ISBN 978-88-7972-871-3; pag. 243 e pag. 261
  2. ^ Bleaney, M (1998) Mummery, Albert Frederick: in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. eds Eatwell et al
  3. ^ Dumler, Helmut, and Willi P. Burkhardt, The High Mountains of the Alps (London: Diadem, 1994) p. 179
  • Collie, J. Norman. From the Himalaya to Skye. Rockbuy Limited. ISBN 1-904466-08-7.
  • Mummery, A. F. My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus. Rockbuy Limited. ISBN 1-904466-09-5.

External links

Aiguille du Grépon

The Aiguille du Grépon (literally the Needle of Grépon), informally known as The Grepon, is a mountain in the Mont Blanc Massif in Haute-Savoie, France. The Grepon has a Southern (3,482 m) and Northern (3,478 m) peak, which are the highest points of a sharp granite ridge to the east of the Glacier des Nantillons above Chamonix and northeast of the Aiguille du Midi. A madonna statue is situated on the Southern peak.

August 24

August 24 is the 236th day of the year (237th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 129 days remain until the end of the year.

Charles Granville Bruce

Brigadier-General The Honourable Charles Granville Bruce, CB, MVO (7 April 1866 – 12 July 1939) was a Himalayan veteran and leader of the second and third British expeditions to Mount Everest in 1922 and 1924. He was given a special prize at the end of the first ever Winter Olympics in France for mountaineering as the leader of the British that tried to climb Mount Everest in 1922.

Dent du Géant

The Dent du Géant (It.: Dente del Gigante, "giant's tooth") (4,013 m) is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in France and Italy.

The Dent du Géant remained unclimbed during the golden age of alpinism, and was a much-coveted peak in the 1870s, repelling many parties who attempted it mostly from the Rochefort ridge. In 1880 the strong team of Albert F. Mummery and Alexander Burgener tried to force a passage via the south-west face but were repelled by a band of slabs, causing Mummery to exclaim, 'Absolutely inaccessible by fair means!'The mountain has two summits, 88 feet (27 m) apart and separated by a small col (an 'extremely awkward notch' according to W. W. Graham):

Pointe Sella (4,009 m), first ascent via the south-west face by Jean Joseph Maquignaz with son Baptiste Maquignaz and nephew, Daniel Maquignaz on 28 July 1882. Over a period of four days they placed iron stanchions and fixed ropes, enabling the same party to climb Pointe Sella a second time on the following day with clients Alessandro Sella, Alfonso Sella, Corradino Sella and Gaudenzio Sella.

Pointe Graham (4,013 m), first ascent by W. W. Graham with guides Auguste Cupelin and Alphonse Payot on 20 August 1882. They used the fixed ropes of "Sella's staircase" to repeat the ascent of Pointe Sella, where Graham noted that one of the Maquignazes had carved the letter 'M' on a rock step. They then lowered themselves 12 metres (39 ft) into the col to climb this higher north-east peak.This ascent marked the end of the so-called silver age of alpinism.

On 28 July 1935 the Austrian climbers Herbert Burggasser and Rudi Leitz first ascended the vertical-to-overhanging 160 m-high south face. It was the first climb in the Western Alps systematically aided by the pitons and artificial techniques that were already in use by climbers in the Eastern Alps.During a heat wave in the summer of 2019, a previously unseen lake emerged at the foot of the Dent du Géant, the Aiguilles Marbrées and the Col de Rochefort at an altitude of about 3400 meters, that was considered as evidence for the effects of global warming on the glaciers in the Alps. The following facilities serve the mountain:

Torino Hut (3,375 m, CAI, all year)

Pointe Helbronner (3,462 m, téléphérique station for Skyway Monte Bianco)


The International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation or UIAA recognise eight-thousanders as the 14 mountains that are more than 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) in height above sea level, and are considered to be sufficiently independent from neighbouring peaks. However, there is no precise definition of the criteria used to assess independence, and since 2012 the UIAA has been involved in a process to consider whether the list should be expanded to 20 mountains. All eight-thousanders are located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia, and their summits are in the death zone.

The first person to summit all 14 eight-thousanders was Italian Reinhold Messner in 1986, who completed the feat without the aid of supplementary oxygen. In 2010, Spaniard Edurne Pasaban became the first woman to summit all 14 eight-thousanders, but with the aid of supplementary oxygen; in 2011 Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner became the first woman to summit all 14 eight-thousanders without the aid of supplementary oxygen. From 1950–1964, all eight-thousanders were summited. As of May 2019, K2 remains the only eight-thousander not summited in a Winter ascent.

J. Norman Collie

Professor John Norman Collie FRSE FRS (10 September 1859 – 1 November 1942), commonly referred to as J. Norman Collie, was an English scientist, mountaineer and explorer.

John A. Hobson

John Atkinson "J. A." Hobson (6 July 1858 – 1 April 1940), was an English economist and social scientist. Hobson is best known for his writing on imperialism, which influenced Vladimir Lenin, and his theory of underconsumption.His principal and earliest contribution to economics was the theory of underconsumption, a scathing criticism of Say's law and classical economics' emphasis on thrift. However, this discredited Hobson among the professional economics community from which he was ultimately excluded. Other early work critiqued the classical theory of rent and anticipated the Neoclassical "marginal productivity" theory of distribution.

After covering the Second Boer War as a correspondent for the The Manchester Guardian, he condemned British actions and characterised it as acting under the influence of mine owners. In a series of books, he explored the associations between imperialism and international conflict and asserted that imperial expansion is driven by a search for new markets and investment opportunities overseas. Commentaries on Hobson have noted the presence of antisemitic language and themes in his work, especially in his writing on the Boer War.

Later, he argued that maldistribution of income resulted, through oversaving and underconsumption, in unemployment and that the remedy was in eradicating the "surplus" by the redistribution of income by taxation and the nationalization of monopolies. He opposed the First World War and advocated the formation of a world political body to prevent wars. Following the war, he became a reformist socialist.

Lily Bristow

Emily Caroline "Lily" Bristow (1864 – 5 Aug 1935) was an English mountaineer who made numerous ascents in the Swiss Alps with Albert F. Mummery in the 1890s.

List of Alpine four-thousanders

This list contains all of the 128 summits and subsidiary tops of 4,000 metres (13,123 ft) or more above sea level in the Alps in France, Italy and Switzerland as defined by the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA). Their list, published in 1994, contains 82 'official summits' of 4,000 m or over, with the inclusion of a further 46 'lesser summits' in an enlarged list. Another list containing only independent peaks with a prominence of over 100m contains just 52 mountains.

List of climbers and mountaineers

This list of climbers and mountaineers is a list of people notable for the activities of mountaineering, rock climbing (including bouldering) and ice climbing.

List of deaths on eight-thousanders

The eight-thousanders are the 14 mountains that rise more than 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) above sea level; they are all in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges.

This is a list of mountaineers who have died on these mountains.


The Matterhorn (, German: [ˈmatərˌhɔrn]; Italian: Cervino [tʃerˈviːno]; French: Cervin [sɛʁvɛ̃]) is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a large, near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres (14,692 ft) high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Furggen, Leone/Lion, and Zmutt ridges. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt, in the canton of Valais, to the north-east and the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Just east of the Matterhorn is Theodul Pass, the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides, and a trade route since the Roman Era.

The Matterhorn was studied by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the late eighteenth century, who was followed by other renowned naturalists and artists, such as John Ruskin, in the nineteenth century. It remained unclimbed after most of the other great Alpine peaks had been attained and became the subject of an international competition for the summit. The first ascent of the Matterhorn was finally made in 1865 from Zermatt by a party led by Edward Whymper which ended disastrously when four of its members fell to their deaths on the descent. That climb and disaster, later portrayed in several films, marked the end of the golden age of alpinism. The north face was not climbed until 1931 and is amongst the three biggest north faces of the Alps, known as "The Trilogy". The west face, which is the highest of the Matterhorn's four faces, was completely climbed only in 1962. It is estimated that over 500 alpinists have died on the Matterhorn since the first climb in 1865, making it one of the deadliest peaks in the world.The Matterhorn is mainly composed of gneisses (originally fragments of the African Plate before the Alpine orogeny) from the Dent Blanche nappe, lying over ophiolites and sedimentary rocks of the Penninic nappes. The mountain's current shape is the result of cirque erosion due to multiple glaciers diverging from the peak, such as the Matterhorn Glacier at the base of the north face.

Sometimes referred to as the Mountain of Mountains (German: Berg der Berge), the Matterhorn has become an iconic emblem of the of the Alps in general. Since the end of the 19th century, when railways were built in the area, the mountain has attracted increasing numbers of visitors and climbers. Each year, numerous mountaineers try to climb the Matterhorn from the Hörnli Hut via the northeast Hörnli ridge, the most popular route to the summit. Many trekkers also undertake the 10-day-long circuit around the mountain. The Matterhorn has been part of the Swiss Federal Inventory of Natural Monuments since 1983.


Mountaineering is the set of activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, hiking, skiing, and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are also considered mountaineering by some.While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed big mountains, it has branched into specializations that address different aspects of mountains, depending on whether the route chosen is over rock, snow, or ice or on level ground. All require various degrees of experience, athletic ability, and technical knowledge to maintain safety. It is still common to venture out and seek the summits of peaks, whether unclimbed or not; this practice is known as peak bagging.Mountaineering is often called alpinism, and mountain climbers are sometimes called alpinists, although use of the term may vary between countries and eras. The word "alpinism" was born in the 19th century to refer to climbing for the purpose of enjoying climbing itself as a sport or recreation, distinct from merely climbing while hunting or as a religious pilgrimage that had been done generally at that time.The UIAA, the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, is the International Olympic Committee-recognized world governing body for mountaineering and climbing, addressing issues like access, medical, mountain protection, safety, youth, and ice climbing.


Mummery may refer to:

Christmas Mummering

Performance of a Mummers Play.

Albert F. Mummery (1855–1895), British mountaineer

Browning Mummery (Opera tenor) (1888–1974), Australian operatic tenor

Browning Mummery (Electronic sound works), stage name of Andrew Lonsdale (born 1961), Australian electronic musician

Eddie Mummery, English football player

John Howard Mummery, a British biologist and source of the eponymous Pink tooth of Mummery

John Mummery, English appeal court justice

Mummery Cliff

Mummery Cliff (80°27′S 21°23′W) is a cliff situated in Antarctica rising to about 1,250 m to the southeast of Whymper Spur in the Pioneers Escarpment, Shackleton Range. In association with the names of pioneers of polar life and travel grouped in this area, named by the United Kingdom Antarctic Place-Names Committee (UK-APC) in 1971 after Albert F. Mummery (1855–95), English mountaineer and designer of the Mummery tent.

This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document "Mummery Cliff" (content from the Geographic Names Information System).

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat (Urdu: نانگا پربت [naːŋɡaː pərbət̪]), locally known as Diamer (دیامر), is the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8,126 metres (26,660 ft) above sea level. Located in the Diamer District of Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region, Nanga Parbat is the western anchor of the Himalayas. The name Nanga Parbat is derived from the Sanskrit words nagna and parvata which together mean "Naked Mountain". The mountain is locally known by its Tibetan name Diamer or Deo Mir, meaning "huge mountain".Nanga Parbat is one of the eight-thousanders. An immense, dramatic peak rising far above its surrounding terrain, Nanga Parbat is also a notoriously difficult climb. Numerous mountaineering deaths in the mid and early-20th century lent it the nickname "Killer Mountain.”

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.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.


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