jueves, 21 de noviembre de 2013

EDWARD WHYMPER in the Ecuadorian Andes

EDWARD WHYMPER - British traveler and explorer
(London, 1840 - Chamonix, 1911)

He made his first ascents, conducted with a group of climbers, for illustration of an attempt to climb Mont Pelvoux. Once he was passionate about the mountains he made a series of climbs that improved knowledge about the Dauphiné Alps, the Pennines and the Montblanc Massif. After some failures he managed to reach for the first time on July 14, 1865, on the summit of famous Swiss Matterhorn, a victory that cost the lives of four of his colleagues. The narration of such attempts is the largest part of his book “Climbing in the Alps”, published and illustrated by himself in 1871.
Some years later during an expedition to the Andes of Ecuador he ascended first Chimborazo (6310m) and other major peaks. He left the story of this new venture by the Great Travel Andes of Ecuador (1892). He conducted a final expedition to the Rocky Mountains of Canada (1901-1905).

In Ecuador
Whymper next organized an expedition to Ecuador, designed primarily to collect data for the study of altitude sickness and the effect of reduced pressure on the human body. His chief guide was Jean-Antoine Carrel, who later died from exhaustion on the Matterhorn after bringing his employers into safety through a snowstorm. During 1880, Whymper made two ascents of Chimborazo (6,267m), also claiming the first ascent. He spent a night on the summit of Cotopaxi and made first ascents of half a dozen other great peaks. In 1892, he published the results of his journey in a volume entitled “Travels amongst the Great Andes of the Equator”. His observations on altitude sickness led him to conclude that it was caused by a reduction in atmospheric pressure, which lessens the value of inhaled air, and by expansion of the air or gas within the body, causing pressure upon the internal organs. The effects produced by gas expansion may be temporary and dissipate when equilibrium has been restored between the internal and external pressure. The publication of his work was recognized on the part of the Royal Geographical Society by the award of the Patron's medal. His experiences in South America having convinced him of certain serious errors in the readings of aneroid barometers at high altitudes, he published a work entitled “How to Use the Aneroid Barometer” and succeeded in introducing important improvements in their construction. He afterwards published two guide books to Zermatt and Chamonix.

The Ecuador expedition summarized:

09th of December              Landing in Guayaquil
13th-17th of December        Travel to Chimborazo
21st of December               he found out that Chimborazo has two peaks
04th of January                  Summit of Chimborazo
06th of January                  Summit of Chimborazo (highest point on Earth 6300m)

After some weeks of relaxation next project were:

08th of February                Summit of Illinizas

17th of February                Summit of Cotopaxi
18/19th of February            Observation of the Vulcano Crater
Until March                       Observation of Cotopaxi Nationalpark

02nd of March                    Back in Quito
03rd of March                    Whymper received presidential greeting
04th of March                    New goal is the Antisana Mountain
10th of March                    Summit of Antisana
21-23st of March               Rucu y Guagua Pichincha

01st of April                      Summit of Cayambe         

In the following weeks and months he climbed Altar, again Chimborazo and Cotopaxi

Back in EUROPE
Back in Europe and dedicated to spice up his notes of travel, and had considered as one of the largest elevator operators in the world, lived in his hometown, but every summer he went Alpine climbing.

Between 1900 and 1903 he visited the Rocky Mountains of the United States by invitation of the "Canadian Pacific Railway", accompanied by six experienced guides but without attempting ascents.

On 25 April 1906 with nearly sixty years, he married Marie Edith Lewin, just twenty years old and they had a daughter named Ethel who inherited his father's gifts, periodically updating the Alpine Guides of authorship.

In 1910 he learned of attempts to climb the highest peaks of the Himalayas that exceeded their exploits. The character has soured considerably as a result of premature senile neurosis, to the point that his wife and daughter living apart from him.

In August 1911 he undertook his annual trip to the Alps. In September he suffered in the town of Chamonix/France of illness, locked in his room refused all help, where he died on 16th of September 1971.

He established himself as one of the greatest climbers and mountaineers of all time.

Tall, muscular, hardened by the character and the sun in his face, his regular features gave him a severe juvenile poise, blue eyes, blonde – later grey hair. He was the prototype of the Anglo-nineteenth century. In 1921 his book was translated into Spanish by Professor Bahamonde and 1993 published in full, with the title "Travel through the majestic Andes of Ecuador".