The life of Julius Kugy (1858 - 1944)"And I greet you through all times and places, dear miraculous flower of my heart, Scabiosa Trenta!"
Julius Kugy, the climber and author was born in Gorizia, Italy in the year 1858. Julius Kugy lived in Trieste. In his youger years he became very interested for botany. He made his doctorate from law in Vienna. Later he took over the father`s bussiness. He had many passions like botany, writing books and his biggest passion discovering and climbing mountains. He was only 16 years old when he made his first ascent on the highest mountain in Slovenia, Triglav. Later he visited the wonderful valley of Trenta where he was looking for mysterious flower Scabiosa trenta.
He was a great mountaineer. He made visits on mountains cross the whole Alps (see the section about his ascents) but the big love for mountains remained in Julian Alps and specially in the valley of Trenta. Kugy made a lot of tours with famous local guides such as Andrej Komac, Anton Tozbar and many other.
During the First World War, Kugy was moved to the army because he knew the arey very well but he did not carry a weapon. He only worked as an adviser on the Austrian side of the front.
In his middle age he started writing which soon became his another passion. He wrote seven books. Six of them describe Julian Alps. His style of writing shows how he loved mountains. The first and the most famous book was published in 1925 under the title Aus dem Leben eines Bergsteigers (From the Life of an Alpine-Climber).
He died 85 years old in Trieste.
Aus dem Leben eines Bergsteigers (From the Life of an Alpine-Climber), Arbeit - Musik - Berge (Work – Music - Mountains), Fünf Jahrhunderte Triglav (Five Centuries of Triglav), Die Julischen Alpen im Bilde (The Julian Alps in Picture); Anton Ointzinger - Ein Bergführerleben (Anton Oitzinger: A Life of a Mountain Guide); Aus vergangener Zeit (From Days Past); Im göttlichen Lächeln des Monte Rosa (Divine Smile of Monte Rosa).
Kugy`s climbs"Triglav is not just a mountain, Triglav is kingdom."
Julius Kugy climbed so many mountains that I mentioned only the most important climbs through his life.
In year 1871 he climbed for the first time on Triglav. In year 1877 he climbed Kanjavec, 1880 Skrlatica from the valley Vrata, 1881 on Triglav from Trenta valley and Bavski Grintavec. In 1882 he encircled the summit of Triglav over the famous shelter at the top of the north face called Kugy`s shelter and from Trenta valley on Jalovec. In 1884 ha made first ascent on Veliki Nabojs. In 1885 the first ascent over north face of Razor. In the year 1886 he climbed Visoka Bela spica / Cima Alta di Riobianco. In the year 1887 he made the famous ascent over the north face of Skrlatica. In 1890 he was the first one over the north face of Prisojnik. In 1891 he found the approach from west on Vis / Iof Fuart, in 1893 also the ascent from the east. In the year 1902 the hard climb over the wild north face of Montaz / Iof di Montasio. In the same year he was succesful in first Winter ascent on Kanin. In 1905 another two big success: the Winter ascent on Montaz and the ascent over the north face of Vis. These are the most important ascents. But there are so many climbing routes and mountains that he reached them first.
But he did not climb only in Julian Alps. He had some powerful ascents in West Alps. In the year 1885 he was successful on Königsspitze and Ortler. In 1887 he crossed Col du Geant and aslo climbed on Gran Paradiso and Monviso. In year 1888 he made Aiguille du Midi, Mont Dolent and Aiguille des Glaciers. In 1889 he was successful on Mont Blanc over the route from Dome du Gouter. In the same year he was on Mt. Velan, Zumsteinspitze, Signalkuppe, Monte Disgrazia, Piz Bernina, Finsteraarhorn, Jungfrau, Schreckhorn, Lauteraarhorn, Wetterhorn. Later in this year he climbed on Lyskamm over the Perazzi ridge and also on Parrotspitze, Balmenhorn, Schwarzhorn and Dent Vincent. In 1890 he visited Nordend, Weisshorn, Dent Blanche, Obergabelhorn, Dom, Grande Lys, Col d`Argentiere, Allainhorn, Weissmies and Fletschorn.
In the next years he was successful also on Mont Blanc from Aiguille du Midi, on Les Droites, Aiguille de Trelatete and Les Courtes. He also climbed the north pillar of La Grivola which was the first ascent. In High Dauphiné group he was successful on Mt. Pevoux, he crossed Barre des Ecrins, La Meije, Pic d`Olan, Pic de Neige Cordier, Pic des Agnaeaux, Les Bans and Ailefroide. In the 1912 he made the last ascent in this group on Pic Gaspard. In the Savoie Alps he was successful on Grande Sassiere, Grande Motte, Grande Casse and Mt. Pourri.
In all these years he was successful also on Strahlhorn, Rimpfischorn, Zinalrothorn, Alphubel, Bieschorn, the crossing of Matterhorn from north to south, Castor and Pollux. The attempt on Dent d`Herens was not successful.
Very successful was another trip to Gran Paradiso group. He reached Punto della Tribolazione, Punto di Ceresole, Torre San Pietro, and Aemilius. Later on this trip he visited also Savoie Alps and climbed on Pointe du Charbonnier, Pointe de Mean Martin, Dome de Chasseforet and many others.
He was successful on crossing the whole mighty east face of Monte Rosa. He crossed Nordend from Italy to Switzerland in year 1906.
The Kugy` longest route was crossing Barre des Ecrins, the most dangerous crossing Monte Rosa and Mount Dolent from Neuvaz, the hardest tour in ice was Mount Blanc over Brenva, in the rock Col des Grandes Jorasses, Mont Dolent from the glacier Argentiere. The most beautiful was Mont Blanc from Col du Midi and the Winter ascent in Julian Alps on Montaz / Iof di Montasio.
When I now read all these ascents again with all due respect this is amazing. In those years (more then 100 years ago) to make all these ascents I am speechless.
"And thus you, the long sought and passionately desired miraculous flower of my heart, will rise some time from the dreams of my yearning, from the strength of my trust, from the mysterious gloom of your origin, of your blossoming and vanishing, and you will come and join me in the late evening of my life. Silent and modest, soft and smooth is your sunny figure, your tiny calix has a silvery gleam, the shining white garment of petals is embroidered with golden anthers, you are immersed in a transparent mist of far-off longing, encircled with an aureole of poetry, myth and romance. It will be in this form that you, the little princess from fairy land, will be looking at me from your new castle high above the foaming young Soca. In your heavenly reality. Scabiosa Trenta! Never did my belief in you die, though you seemed to be beyond my reach. And though you were far away, I have never been unfaithful to you. I have been on the lookout for you all my life, anxiously listening to any news about you. I have been repaid for my love by the great, beautiful, good, eternal mountain."
Julius Kugy became attracted by the mountains because he was also a botanist. His obsession was with searching for the flower Scabiosa Trenta. This plant was frist mentioned century ago and he was sure that he will find it. But for all those years when he was walking with many guies over Julian Alps he did not find it. But he found the beauty of Julian Alps. Julian Alps were in his mind till his death. If you now walk or climb in the Julian Alps, you will probably be following in Julius Kugy's footsteps.