National Geographic : 1934 Aug
MANLESS ALPINE CLIMBING Photograph by Mrs. Robert Lincoln O'Brien MULES CARRY THE CLIMBERS TO THE MATTERHORN HUT So frequently did the author and her companions make this trip over the dusty path from Zermatt that they felt personally acquainted with every saddle animal in service (see text, page 169). The riders, left to right, are Alice Damesme, Jessie Whitehead, and the author. remarks in Latin. Sure enough, two of the Italian boys responded at once, and Jessie and they carried on a conversation that im pressed us as having every appearance of a fluent discussion of the day's events, until we listened carefully and discovered that they were considering such burning questions as the division into three parts of all Gaul! The Italian boys soon noticed that my Italian Alpine Club badge was not of the most recent model, with the Fascist symbol on it, and one of them insisted on exchang ing it for his own. Then, on learning that Alice and I were indeed the girls who had done the Grepon manless, a second boy presented her with his badge. Alice demurred a bit, pointing out that she had no "right" to wear it. They in sisted vehemently that it was no question of right, that it was an honor to the Italian Alpine Club. Poor Jessie was left out, with a cour teous, but very brief, "We regret, Made moiselle, that we haven't another one for you," a remark that was not strictly true, since they obviously still had the one that had originally been mine. Jessie was furious, and rightly so, and insisted that Alice's flashing black eyes had a lot more to do with the question than climbing the Grepon. From then on her main purpose in life was to acquire an Italian Alpine Club badge. But the weather was so bad that no more Italians crossed the Matterhorn into Zermatt, and she was finally compelled to take extreme measures and join the club. CLIMBERS SLEEP EN MASSE In these little Alpine Club huts the climbers sleep in low-walled box stalls for six to ten people, with straw mattresses underneath, and usually in the Swiss huts there is at least one blanket apiece. (I'll never forget my first night in a French hut some years ago. "Here is a blanket, Made moiselle," said the hutkeeper, doling them out. "Share it with the gentleman next to you.") The hut, as is usual for the Mat terhorn Hut, was crowded, and Jessie later took great pleasure in telling some of her more conventional friends in the valley that she slept next to a young man who kicked her all night long.