Accompanied by Franz Biner and Edward Whymper, Almer ventured on this perilous enterprise. The guide moved forward on the rock while cutting the steps for his companions. Seven hours later, the team reached the summit. Delighted to have accomplished this feat, the mountaineers returned to the valley. The villagers’ welcome was cold. None of the inhabitants of Chamonix believed in their achievement.
The Drus "The Terminal Point"
The range Aiguille Verte range located at an altitude of 3,750 meters is clearly visible from Chamonix with its granite obelisk. In 1878 two experienced mountaineers attempted to climb the highest point. Clinton Dent and Jean Charlet were competing against each other. After nineteen attempts , the Englishman Dent succeeded brilliantly. The Frenchman Charlet settled for the ascension of the Petit Dru.
In 1935, the north face of the Petit Dru was conquered again by Pierre Allain and Raymond Leininger. A book was published after this amazing feat under the French title "Alpinisme et Compétition” (”Mountaineering and Competition”). This summit above the Mer de Glace (The Sea of Ice) has been dreamt of by many mountaineers of all nationalities. In 1955, the Italian Walter Bonatti was undoubtedly the most heroic. He set forth alone on the south-west pillar of the Petit Dru and opened a route with 200 pitons. Isolated for five days, this brave climber devoted all his energy to his passion. He experienced unforgettable moments with the mountain. He explained upon his return that at every moment he could see the insurmountable barrier which separated him from his soul.
Climbing gear of the past and present
· In former times, climbers got by with very little. They relied on ordinary walking shoes
· A few years later, metal spikes and crampons appeared.
· Mattocks evolved into ice axes to climb icy walls.
· Hemp ropes were used by the first explorers. They were replaced by nylon ropes for more safety.
· Steel pins were used as pitons.
"The horror of these wild places impresses a degree of elation on the soul that can be diverted by nothing." M. Sherwill