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veller.. We entrusted the choice of taehv 120- the other 150.) 1At ten these to themselves ; and our obliging minutes past eleven we again begani hostess hastened to prepare every thing our march, and in five minutes atthat was necessary in the shape of prom tained the glacier of Bossons, which visions for the expedition. The next we had to traverse obliquely, in the day, at a quarter past 5 A. M. we set direction of the Grand-Mulet. About out 4 The morning was delightful, a hundred paces from the edge of the and the thermometer at 100 R. We glacier, we met with scenery which no took, at first, the direction of the gla- pen is able to describe. We stopped eier of Bossons, but, before coming to every moment to remark some strikit, we diverged to the left, and began ing configuration of the ice, and the the ascent in a forest. At seven of only words uttered were, “Look to clock we were already above this the right! Look to the left !” Someforest, at the cottage Dinhabited by times it was a precipice of which no Pierre François 1 Favret, formerly eye could trace the bottom--someone of the guides of M. de Saussuré, times a mass of ice more than a huni who had made the ascent, and of whom dred feet in height. Soon, however, the son was with us. Here one of our the ladder was put in use; and the guides, Julien Devouassou, son-in-law question was, How should we be able of Dr Pacoard, had nearly poisoned to cross a gulf of twenty feet in breadth, himself. He had bought at Cha with no visible bottom, divided length mouny what he conceived was syrup wise in two by a slender partition of of vinegar, and, arriving at a rivulet, ice, of at most a foot in thickness, and he wished to try his syrup before mix- of which the upper edge was ten feet ingl it with water. He swallowed a lower than the margin of the two hol little. It was concentrated sulphuric lows thus united ? Arrived at the acid, which burned his mouth and edge, i the ladder was let down, it's stomach in a dreadful manner. His end resting on the slender wall iso Bufferings were great, and he vomited lated in the middle of the abyss. One much. 7 By good luck this accident of the guides descended, and one of happened near the cottage, where I the party followed him, and, standing found ashes, which I made him swal by the side of the ladder upon the dow, diluted with water. The alkali wall of ice of a foot in breadth, he refinstantly neutralized the acid, and the mained motionless, leaning upon his guide was soon in a state to continue stick, and endeavouring to avoid the his march with us. i
. sight of the two blue gulfs ready to V.1: From the cottage we mounted in a swallow him up on the least loss of zig-zag direction towards the South equilibrium. The guide now turned Needle. : At half-past eight we rested the ladder to the opposite side of the at Pierre-pointue, where the moun ravine, and; the traveller having atain projects between the glacier of scended, he turned it again as before, Bossons and that of Pélerins, but near- for the second of the party to rass, er the first; (therm. 13.) From and so on with the others. When the this place we såw, for the first time, ladder is a few inches longer than the the top of Mont Blanc, and we were breadth of the chasm, it is laid across yet in sight of the Priory. From thence in the form of a bridge, and each we turned a little towards the right, crawls over on all-fours. Other chasms and, at nine o'clock, crossed the tors are also met with, which are connectrent called the Black Water, but ed by bridges of snow, of no great -- which, in place of water, was filled thickness. Sometimes those in the with enormous blocks of granite, which rear of a party find these bridges had rolled down from above. On the pierced by the footsteps of the person left was the pinnacle of La Tour. A who has preceded them: in this case, quarter of an hour afterwards we pass- it is proper to diverge a little to one ed Nant Blanc ; and at a quarter be- side. fore ten we sat down to breakfast a- . In spite of all these difficulties and round a large stone between the gla- dangers, we crossed the glacier withcier of Bossons and Mont Rasselache. out the slightest accident. At a quarThe guides called it the Ladder-stone, ter past one we were above the juncbecause they ordinarily leave here the tion of the glacier of Bossons with that ladder, which is used in crossing the of Tacconay, between which is the glacier. (Barom. 21.1,7-therm. at- mountain of Côte, and, after having ascended a slope of snow, inclined iam stars, although the valley was yet cons bout 56', we arrived, at three o'clock, cealed in mist. Coutet having gone at the foot of the Grand-Mulet, upon out to examine the weather, told us its west side. The rocks which ap- that it promised well; but that it pear in the middle of the ice possess would be prudentto wait yet a little bere as little solidity as those of the longer before deciding upon ascend, Needle of Gouté; and we mounted so ing. About five o'clock the top was slowly, that it was half-past four when already lighted by the sun, the air we arrived at the most elevated part was serene, it was perfectly calm, and of the Grand-Mulet. A black cloud our guides announced to us that we which was now forming on the west might begin our march, M. Selligue, side decided us to remain here for the who had been for sometime indispose night. (Bar. 19.3,6.--therm. 10°.) ed, and who feared the return of rain The top of this rock assuming the before the end of our journey, prefer form of the letter L, that is to say, red to remain at the Grand-MuJet. being at a right angle, we arranged Two of our guides who had never our ladder and some sticks, so as to been at the top were asked by Coutet form a hypotheneuse ; and a little to remain with Mr Sarebut they réstraw, spread on the horizontal part of fused; however, two of the others the rock, formed a mattrass, - upon consented to stay, behind. We dewhich we lay down side by side. parted fromthe Grand-Mulet at twen. Scarcely were we covered, when it be- ty minutes past five, viz, Messrs Dorngan to rain, and soon after the thun* ford, Henderson, and myself, with der reyerberated majestically around eight guides, (Ther. 7:20. We now us.) Ivattempted to expose the point entered on the snow, which was here of the electrometer beyond our tent, pretty deep, and directed your course but the balls were put in motion towards the Needle of Goûté, and, afwith such h violence, il that I soon terwards ascended in a zig-zag direcdesistedu ds. The night was stormy; tion, to avoid the chasms or almost but the next morning the rain had perpendicular slopes towards the sumceased;: and the air was so pure, mit, which we now saw from this that we saw the Lake of Geneva, side at a quarter before seven. » The and other distant objects, yery dis- day was delightful; and far below us tinctly. We hoped that towards were seen the white clouds, like a mid-day the atmosphere above would tranquil sea, pierced here and there become clearer ; but as this was still by the pinnacles of the highest moununcertain, we resolved to bivouac ano- tains, which Coutet named to me ther night in our tent, after the man- Fours, the Needle of Varens, Buet, ner of the Cossacks. Coutet sent two &c. About seven o'cloek the mists of our men to the Priory for an addi- began to dissipate, and we could now tion to our provisions; and during see the Priory. As we ascended we the lucid intervals I employed myself found the snow harder and of less in again boiling the, mercury in one depth; and it appeared as if it had of my barometrical tubes, which had not snowed for some time. I will been injured. We here tried, the .. At twenty ininutes past seven we temperature of boiling water, which arrived at the first of three platforms of we found to be 72°. I also made snow, which succeed one another in some arrangements to set off fireworks the space between the top of Goûté upon our return from the summit; and Mont Maudit. After having for I was curious to know if rockets traversed this first platform, we mount rose well in air so very rare. I had ed at a quarter before eight an inclinalso luminous balls and stars prepar- ed plane of from 950 to 30°, that ded ed with arsenic ; Bengal fire prepare to a second, which we began to cross ed with antimony; and a bag with a at ten minutes past eight, having on mixture of nitre, sulphur, and orpi- our right those great seracs t of ice, ment, to illuminate the top of Mont Blanc, and the pinnacles of the sur- The eastern shoulder of Mont Blanc rounding mountains.
is thus named. At five o'clock it began to hail, and + Seracs are parallelopipeds, cubes, and from this time to midnight the ato other regular forms, which the ice and snow mosphere was cloudy ; but on the takes at great heights, and are thus named 20th at one o'clock in the morning from a species of white cheese of a similar the firmament appeared studded with appearance made in the mountains,
. which are observed from Chamouny. minds ito impressions which are not The sky seen from the sides of these felt in lower regions. I fancied mya white masses of ice appeared of a very self already on the topmost ridge; in dark blue, almost black. After having idea I broke off specimens of the most ascended another steep slope, we arriv. elevated rock in Europe to place in ed at half past eight at the last great the cabinet of the Imperial Mineralo: platform, bounded on the right by gical Society of St Petersburgh, the the most elevated part of the Dome Museum of Genoa, and other collec: du Gouté, on the left by the last rocks tions. * we met with on this side, and on the We traversed the great platform of south by analmost perpendicular slope, snow, at the entrance of which we at the top of which, but a little higher, had breakfasted. During this passage was the summit of Mont Blanc. Here I had occasion to remain a little bea our guides wished us joy, saying that hind, and it was not till near the anDow all our difficulties were sur- gle on the right that I rejoined our mounted. Never, they said, had an company. We ascended nearly to áscent more happily succeeded; and the half of its height the great slope never had it been done more quickly of snow, which, occupying all the or with so little difficulty. In truth, breadth of the platform, rose to the the snow had I acquired the solidity summit of Mont Blanc. But as bed which made walking on it easy; our tween this plane and the top there footsteps did not sink too deep, and it were ridges of ice almost vertical, we was not too hard. None of the party were obliged to cross the slope hori felt ip disposed, although we had ex-zontally towards the left; to gain thie perienced for some time the effects of last great rocks, (2300 toises, (from the rarity of the air. My pulse was whence we already saw Italy, it and 128, and I was very thirstyou Our from which, op turning to the right, guittes reminded us to breakfast herewe should il mount to the summit: asthigher up they said, the appetite which was not more than 150° toises for eating is lost. A cloth was spread above usit) We walked singly, the one upon the snow at the commencement after the other ; for it was found conof the great platform, which served us venient to put our feet in the foots for chairs and table. Each eat hear- steps made by the first guides, who tily his half chicken; and I arranged were changed at intervals on "account many things for the observations and of the great fatigue. 7!! 91935012 experiments wliich I intended to - We thus advanced in a line nearly make when we got up. I wrote two horizontal, crossing the plane at the notes to announce our arrival at the middle of its height; that is to say, summit, leaving a hlank for the hour at' an almost equal distance from the to be afterwards filled up. I meant ridges on our right, and the platform to tie them to a pigeon which I had of snow on our left. Nobody spoke, with me, and which I wished to run for at this height speaking fatigued, loose on the top of the mountain, to and the air conveyed the sound but see how it flew in air so rare, and to feebly. I was still the last of the pare know afterwards if it could find its ty, and I walked only about twelve way back to Sallencheg, where its com paces at once, when leaning upon my panion was. We kept also a bottle of stick I stopped to make fifteen inspid our best wine to drink upon the sum- rations. I found that in this manner mit to the memory of Saussure. * I could advance without exhausting *** At nine o'clock we set out to reach myself. Furnished with green spec the top, which now rose before us. tacles and a crape before my face, my 5 Would you take a thousand pounds eyes were fixed upon my steps, wbich to go down in place of going up?" I counted, when all at once I felt the said one of my companions to his snow recede from my feet. Think countryman.— I would not now re- ing I'only slipped, I struck in my turn for any money," replied he. stick on my left, but in vain ; the We were all full of hope and joy to snow which was accumulating on my see ourselves so near the end of our right overturned me, covered me, and journey. The favourable weather, I felt myself drawn downwards with the calm" which reigned around us, an irresistible force. I fancied at first the celestial air which we had respired that I was the only one of the party during our repose, gave birth in our to whom this accident had occurred,
but feeling the snow accumulate upon stick to the top in the snow, sand lys me so as to hinder me from breath- ing down, and applying my teeth to ing, I imagined that a great avalanche its end, I called the men by their had descended from the top of Mont names, listening afterwards with pro Blanc, and pushed the snow before it, found attention if I heard any noise. Every moment I expected to be crush- But all was in vain. 1- The guides ed to pieces by this mass; in my de- forced us to depart from the place; scent I turned constantly round, and declared that our search was useless; employed all my strength to divide and refused even the money which we with my arms the snow in which I offered if they would remain. They was buried. At last I got out my carried away Messrs Dornford and head, and I saw a great part of the Henderson, and while I wasiyet slope in motion ; but as I happened sounding in the snow, which had pasto be near the edge of this moving sed the hollow to a great distance, portion, I used every exertion to get they had gone a considerable way, so upon the firm snow, and at last suc- that I had to descend alone with Couceeded. It was then only I was a- tet, who had not even a stiek, but, abware of my danger, for I found I was sorbed in the horrod of the event, I very near a chasm which terminated had become insensible to the sentithe slope, and separated it from the ment of danger, and I cleared, withplatform. At the same instant I saw out reflection, all the crevices. I re still nearer this abyss the head of Mr joined my two companions at the Henderson appear above the snow, Grand-Mulet only, * from whence we and I discovered at a greater distance departed for the glacierlof Bossons, + Mr Dornford and three guides but and at half past eight P. M.we were the five others appeared not. Still I on our return to the Uniony Hotel at hoped to see them come out of the snow Chamouny without experiencing much when it stopped; but Mathieu Balmat fatigue. I was the more surprised at cried (6. that all were lost win the this, as after the accident I had, for chasm.". I am unable to describe what upwards of an hour, made great ex then passed in my mind. I saw Mr ertions, at a height where the slight, Dornford throw himself on the snow est movement exhausted pur strength. in despair ; and Mr Henderson was in 'TI shall add here a few words in ex a state which alarmed me for the con- planation of our unhappy accident. It sequences. But judge of our satisface appears the upper bed of the snow on tion when we saw, some minutes, af- the slope lay on another bed, the surter, one of the guides come out of the face of which was hardened and chasm; our hurrah redoubled at the smooth , and as our track along the appearance of the second ; and we first bed had, in a manner, cut it now hoped that the other three might across, the part above us began to also appear; but, alas ! we saw them slide lover the other, forming, what no more, s
: not they call in Oberland of Berne, Saog *The guides, fearing a second sliding gischnee, or: Rutschlanine. At the of the snow, advised us to depart, but place where the first of our file walkthis was impossible. Mr Pornford ed, the slope was much steeper than declared, that he was ready to sacri- near me, as I had measured it some fice his life for the relief of these un- i nie stan d out fortunates I held his hand and partly buried in the snow, yet in mo " We found at this place two travellers, tion, we advanced, in spite of the MM. le Chev. Bourdet de la Nièyre, naguides, towards the unknown depth, turalist, and Castan, botanist, and phar. filled with snow, at the place where maceutist at Geneva, who had also come we supposed they had fallen in. There to ascend to the top of Mont Blanc ; but we descended into the gulf, and I they abandoned this project on learning
our misfortune, sounded the snow 'everywhere with a ou stick, without meeting with any re- found upon an islet of ice, surrounded
* In crossing the glacier of Bossons we sistance. On the supposition that
U by vast chasms, a young chamois, which they might have fallen under some had died apparently through hunger. One hollow or projection of the rock, and of the high seracs, under the shade of of their being yet alive, and as air which we had reposed in ascending, had much rarified does not communicate fallen in the interval, and had covered with sound well, I plunged the longest its wreck the place where we had stopped.
- moments before the accident, and the least suspicion of any danger. At (found it to be only 28o. Farther on, the moment the accident took place, likewise, the mass of snow was thick- the brother of one of our chiefs marcher, especially in the upper part, fored first, and a man who made the the wind generally blows the loose journey for the twelfth time was the snow towards the top. On this ac- second. * count, the sliding naturally commenced at this place, and the spow descended straight towards the ra
* When M. de Saussure passed this
* place, he had the good fortune to find that vine, whilst around me it took an ob
an avalanche had the preceding night car. lique direction downwards. This
ried away from the slope a great part of seems to be the cause why the three the loose snow. I shall quote here part first individuals in the line * fell of § 1985 of the work of M. de Saussure, into the gulf, and were covered with where, speaking of this place, he says :snow so deeply that they could not " The next day we traversed the second recover themselves; while the fifth platform, at the entrance of which we had and sixth, + who also had fallen in, passed the night ; from thence we ascendwere yet able, by their exertions, to ed to the third, which we also crossed, and rid themselves of the snow which sur- we were in half an hour at the bottom of rounded them. Coutet, on coming the great slope, by which, inclining to
wards the east, the rock is reached which out of the snow, had his face of a blue
uc forms the left shoulder of the summit of colour, with all the symptoms of as- Mont Blanc. On commencing the ascent, I phyxia. Mathieu Balmat, & very was already out of breath from the rarity strong man, and one of our chiets, of the air; however, by stopping at every who marched fourth, was the only thirty races to respire for a moment, but one able to stop himself while the without sitting, I held out; and I arrived snow was in motion. Overturned, in forty minutes at the beginning of the and already drawn to a certain dis- avalanche which had fallen the preceding tance, he had the presence of mind tonight, and the noise made by which reach sink his large stick, as an anchor, into ed our tent. the firm snow. The two other guidest
" There we stopped for some moments, were, like the three travellers, buried
in the hope that, after having rested our
legs and our lungs, we should be able to in the snow and carried to the chasm,
asin, cross the avalanche pretty quickly, and without, however, falling into it. :
at one breathing space; but this we found • The guides estimated the surface of impossible; that species of fatigue which snow which was in motion at nearly results from the rarity of the air is abso100 toises in breadth, and 250 in ob- lutely insurmountable; and when it is at Jique height. The snow which slid its height, the most imminent danger could down had not recently fallen, for it not make me move a step farther. But I was of considerable firmness. Those encouraged my guides by saying to them of our guides who had the most ex
od the most ex that it was the less dangerous, as all the perience among the snows, had not
loose snow which covered the top had been swept away.
" Beyond this avalanche the slope be* * These were Pierre Balmat, brother of came steeper, and terminated on our left Mathieu, and eldest son of P. Balmat, one in a frightful precipice ; and we had to of the old guides of M. de Saussure; Pierre cross a large cleft, the passage of which Carrier, a smith to trade, who had already was likewise interrupted by a rock of ice, been eleven times at Mont Blanc : and which stretched to the edge of the slope. Auguste Terraz. This last, and P. Bal. The first guides had cut steps in the hard mat, had never made the ascent of Mont now with a hatchet ; but they had made Blanc. These were the two guides who them rather at too great a distance ; and to refused to remain at the Grand-Mulet. reach the footsteps it was requisite to stride All the three carried provisions, instru. as far as we could, at the risk of missing ments, and other things, as well as the the steps and sliding irremediably down the pigeon and the living chicken. None of precipice. Higher up the snow was softthem were married.
er, and the surface broke under our feet : + Joseph Marie Coutet, one of our two and above this we found loose flakes of principal guides, (his father had been also snow, to the depth of eight or nine inches, with M. de Saussure,) and Julien De which rested upon a second crust of hard. voaussou, he who had nearly poisoned ened show. We walked thus up to the himself by the oil of vitriol.
middle of the leg, at the risk of sliding to David Coutet, brother of Joseph the side of the precipice, our only security Marie, our chief, and David Foligue from which accident was the superior crust,