Edward Whymper – a portrait of the climber as a young man

Whymper’s name is indelibly intertwined with Zermatt and The Matterhorn as a result of his part in the tragic first ascent of the mountain in 1865. I have already written at length about Whymper and his links with Zermatt in ‘Whymper, the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa Hotel’. Click on the link if you are interested in knowing more.

Directly opposite the famous Monte Rosa Hotel where Whymper stayed, on the edge of the grounds of the Zermatterhof Hotel, stands a glass panel commemorating Whymper.

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This is a portrait of Whymper as a young man, a very young man you might think when you look at the image. But it may surprise you to know that Whymper was only 25 when he succeeded in his ascent of the Matterhorn – and before that he had made a considerable number of first ascents of other Alpine peaks in the previous 5 years.

I tried to capture this image last summer but failed. Since then the panel appears to have been cleaned and I think also that the rather stark background – due to winter – has helped to isolate this image from what in summer can be an all too bright and colourful background.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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4 Responses to Edward Whymper – a portrait of the climber as a young man

  1. oneowner says:

    The panel is beautifully done and very respectful. And your image takes advantage of it, as well.

  2. ehpem says:

    This is an interesting post for me because Whymper’s brother Frederick was an illustrator on an early expedition to explore Vancouver Island. He produced some very interesting drawings which constitute the only visual images of First Nations occupations in the inland areas of Vancouver Island. I have referenced Frederick’s images several times in publications but had no clue that he had an illustrious brother, also apparently a talented artist.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for the fascinating comment. Edward was an engraver too – and his first visit to the Alps was to make some engravings for his London publisher. He fell in love with the mountains and the rest, as they say, is history. I had no idea that he had a brother who was also an engraver.

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