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“The Ascent of Mount St. Elias”

Posted on: March 4th, 2011 by Luke Bauer

 

“The Ascent of Mount St. Elias (Alaska)”, by HRH Prince Luigi Amedeo di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi. Narrated by Filippo de Filippi. Illustrated by Vittorio Sella and translated by Signora Linda Villari with the Author’s Supervision. Westminster, Archibald Constable and Co., 1900. Butler and Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome and London. One of Twenty.

Straddling the Alaska-Yukon border, the 18,009’ Mt. St. Elias is the second highest peak in both the States and Canada. Its summit lies a scant ten miles from the ocean—the vertical rise of the peak is immense. A team led by famed mountaineer and explorer Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi made the first ascent in July of 1897 after a long and arduous expedition. Abruzzi invited Vittorio Sella—known for his first winter ascents of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa—to accompany the expedition as official photographer. Sella was a pioneer in alpine photography, frequently lugging enormous, large-format box cameras high into the mountains to take stunning panoramic photos.

Upon returning from their lengthy expedition, the Duke, Sella, and Fillipo de Fillipi collaborated to integrate their notes and diaries into an account of the trip in a huge, lavishly-illustrated volume. Only twenty copies of the book were issued in a rare limited edition which includes paste-ins of original Sella photographs. This rare book is but one of the many fascinating items in what will become the Central Asia Library, a new acquisition of more than 30,000 books donated by a generous, anonymous collector.

As Robert Vosper states in his foreward to Farquhar’s Classics in the Literature of Mountaineering and Mountain Travel, “The meticulous scholarly book collector does not lightly divest himself of his beloved books.  Their transfer to an institutional library is an act of love and faith, a commitment.” The AAC Library endeavors to live up to that commitment by recruiting volunteers and financial donations to shelve, curate and catalog the Central Asia Library so that its holdings are accessible.  To find out more, please contact Beth Heller, AAC Library Director at [email protected].

About the AAC Library
The Henry S. Hall, Jr. American Alpine Club Library has a circulating collection of 20,000+ climbing books, guidebooks, and videos. As an AAC benefit, the Club will ship members up to 10 books/guidebooks/videos at a time for free. Search for and check out books at booksearch.americanalpineclub.org. (Email the library for access to our new and improved online catalog.)
To enjoy this benefit, unite with your fellow climbers by joining the AAC. Established in 1916, the library is one of the oldest alpine research facilities in the United States, and the largest outside of Europe.

 

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