First ascents in new? light

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by BainthaBrakk » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:22 pm

Dubzion wrote:

P.S: Sorry for incoherent rambling :D

Neither incoherent nor rambling. Insightful rather.


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by aglane » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:41 pm

Dubzion wrote:
Scott wrote:
I remember discussing these things during high school history lessons. Imperialistic aspirations back then were just as much about publicity stunts as they were about materialistic gains. You absolutely have to remember that many of the aristocracy, for example, were basically above the financial world, so for them honor and prestige offered by such actions offered more than simply conquering more land to farm etc.

A minor clarification is in order: recent studies in the history of British mountaineering are generally in agreement that as things got serious, it was not at all the aristocracy, but one step down, the often very wealthy upper class of more recent earned, not inherited, wealth and lack of noble status who provided the mountaineers. Dubzion's primary point remains solid here, however, that there was extraordinary value placed upon the 'publicity stunts' (only a slight exaggeration!) of achieving first ascents. See, e.g., Robert Macfarlane's Mountains of the Mind and Isserman and Weaver's Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes. I rather doubt that the climbers themselves saw their efforts as 'stunts,' but more as honorable accomplishments to the greater glory of the realm.

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by Jukka Ahonen » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:41 am

Aye, I think 'publicity stunt' was too strong as a concept (English is not my mother tongue). And I agree that from the era's mountaineers' point of view they were no stunts, but honest attempts at doing something extraordinary, both for the glory of themselves as well as their country (or king or queen).

The same ideas and issues are, in my opinion, also discussed in David Thomson's very good "Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen - Ambition and Tragedy in the Antarctic". The race to the Antarctic is not just between these great men, but also between their nationalities. But, I think, not their nations as such. Scott, for example, would not take advise from anyone outside British empire, based on the belief of superiority - even though from our point of view shrugging off feedback from Arctic people would seem silly.

(Edit: fixed a few typos)
Last edited by Jukka Ahonen on Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by Lolli » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:48 pm

Well put and interesting


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