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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

46.6482045, 8.1497133

Thurs 24. [24 July 1902] Up at 10.20 and off at 11.10 PM on Wed. A
brilliant night. Fortunately Frl K. [Kuntze] and the Bernets went off
towards the Schreckhorn saddle. We followed the glacier and struck
up to the Strahlegg. In 1/2 an hour we came into brilliant moonlight
and put out our lantern. The Finsteraahorn in the moon was a thing
never to forget. Got up to the Strahlegg at 1.35-50 - most easy walking
up in the night but here we met a most bitter wind coming up the
Schrechfirn. It was awfully cold. We went on pretty soon up the long
long arete leading towards the summit. Every time we turned round
into the Schreckfirn side the wind was bitter. It was good climbing
however. We got to the top of this arete 4.10 and breakfasted 4.25.
Horrid cold. Here the dawn came, one of the loveliest of Alpine
dawns, the whole sky pink. We trembled and admired. Suddenly the
Matterhorn leapt up into the sky. The lovely Weishorn shone beside it
and the light struck Mont Blanc at the end of the line. We then had a
nasty bit traversing across the mountain facing the hut. It was sort of
shale and frozen hard and it took us some time. We got onto the
saddle at 6.35 and met the sun but the wind was cruel. Here Ulrich
half suggested not to go to the top of the Lanteraarhorn but I insisted
and we left the sack and turned to the right over a snow piece and
onto the gendarmes. We got to the summit at 8.5. The rock was not
bad, but not easy and complicated by fresh snow. There was a long
snow cornice which we crept along. Then a tall gendarme not very
easy and at last we were on the top. We breakfasted till 9.10 then
turned back and rejoined our sack at 10.20. Over a small gendarme
and then up a very tall and pointed one where we sat and waited for
Frl K. and the Bernets. They took ages coming down the smooth
gendarme in front of us. They joined us at 10.45. We got to the top of
the smooth arete at 11.35 and then had a difficult bit of very sharp
arete, a hard gendarme, though small, with a flattish top and then the
gendarme with the overhang. Ulrich looked over and said "It is quite
overhanging. I do not care for dis if we can go round." My heart sank,
but next moment he was unrolling the thin rope. It was a drop of some
25 to 30 ft, not really bad as one cd get some hold for the feet and
hands on the rock, but the landing was onto a very sharp place. H.
[Heinrich] went first, I followed, then the sack and axes, then Ulrich,
doubly secured on his own rope. After that a smooth face and we
were on the top of the last. The descent from it was quite easy. We
were just above the saddle by 2 and we stopped to lunch till 2.30. Frl
K. did not go up the overhang. They turned round the bottom and
went up the other side of the gendarme. The snow was bad coming
down, mostly ice and I did not get on very well on it. Finally we took
the rock and got onto the glacier at 4.30 it snowed a little and the hut at
5.30 just before Frl K who had followed the ordinary route down the
Lanteraarhorn and come over the Strahlegg. I found the American
and my 3 friends, Dr Wilson, Mr Wicks, and Mr Bradley, who were
eating beefsteaks which I instantly shared. We had a very merry
evening sitting outside in the drizzle and talking nonsense. Frl. K took
up her bed near me and rolled onto me all night. I was most civil, but
she was rather out of it, poor thing. Dr W. said "She doesn't take our
fancy at all."

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