Friday, December 4, 2020

"Mode of Travelling in the High Alps" (7)

From C T Dent's Mountaineering in the Badminton Library Series

Alpine advice from a founder of modern mountaineering

In the matter of clothing and diet the tastes of Alpine travellers naturally vary; but perhaps twenty years' experience of the advantages of a Scotch plaid by one who has made it an invariable companion, may entitle him to recommend it. 

Whether for protection in case of an unexpected bivouac, for sleeping in suspicious quarters, or on hay of doubtful dryness, for shelter against the keen wind, while perched on a peak or the ridge of a high pass, or against rain and snow, this most portable of garments is equally serviceable. 

For excursions where some days must be spent in chalets, and no supplies but milk and cheese can be counted on, rice is the most portable and convenient provision. One pound is more than enough for a man's daily diet when well cooked with milk, and with this he is independent of all other supplies. 

To some persons, tea will supply the only luxury that need be desired in addition. A few raisins are a very grateful bonne bouche during a long and steep ascent; but the best preservative against thirst is to keep in the mouth a quartz pebble, an article which the bounty of nature supplies abundantly in most parts of the Alps. 


From J Ball, “Suggestions for Alpine travellers”, Chapter XVIII, Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers: A series of excursions by members of the Alpine Club, London, 1859.


Iainhw said...

Linking the post to Japan, I remember talking to an elderly climber at the JAC in Tokyo about climbing in Japan in the post war years. In those days you had to prove to a hut guardian that you had your own rice before you were allowed to stay the night.

I would have been quite happy with rice pudding, cheese and raisins in victorian times, not so sure about quartz pebbles though.

Project Hyakumeizan said...

Iain: good to hear from you. Interesting that you had to bring your own rations to a Japanese mountain hut in (I assume) the 1940s and 1950s. A long time ago, it was the same system in the Alps - you brought your own food, and either cooked it yourself or the guardian (for a fee) cooked if for you. Not sure when the present luxurious system of half-pension came about. We have all become softies...

Coming soon in this series: what our Victorian forebears took with them in the way of liquid refreshment .... Cheers!