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Welzenbach's Climbs (1980)
Author:Eric Roberts
The Icicle Thief
Scholarly biog of the German alpine trail-blazer who was a one-man ice-climbing revolution
Description:Willo Welzenbach was one of the most skilful of the many Weimar Wunderkind who exploded out of the creative climbing community of Munich in the 20s and early 30s. He was arguably the finest climber of his day and certainly the best ice-technician of them all. A dodgy elbow meant that Welzenbach elected to concentrate on the white medium, and between 1924 and 1933 he set about making dozens of audacious ascents of gnarly ice-climbs in the Alps, pioneering innovative technology, such as ice-pegs. Sadly, he pegged it himself rather prematurely in the general cull of expedition members on the ill-fated German expedition to Nanga Parbat in 1934. In Welzenbach's Climbs Eric Roberts translates Welzenbach's original writings (and some of his fellow partners in climb) and skilfully stitches them together with insightful biographical essays. An interesting and very useful presentation of the life and climbs of one of climbing history's more important players, from material which would otherwise be inaccessible to an anglophone audience.
Publisher:West Col. Second hand, ca. 20-30
Excerpt:'What a joy it was to swing my axe into the brittle ice, spraying fragments like sparks in the blazing sun. We changed lead a few times at the insistence of the second man and always to the regret of the person in front. With one?s ambition and zest for action aroused, just who would choose to have such fine ice climbing work snatched away from him?'
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