In Scrambles Amongst the Alps, I was extremely surprised with the way that Whymper and his companion Croz alert the Italians of their success on the Matterhorn. When Whymper and Croz stand on the summit and look down, they can see the Italian group far below, and the two climbers at the top attempt to make themselves known by shouting and waving. Not sure if the Italians have received the message, Whymper decides that it is time to throw rocks down the mountain to make sure it is clear that they have reached the summit first.
Whymper says, "I seized a block of rock and hurled it down, and called upon my companion, in the name of friendship, to do the same. We drove our sticks in, and prized away the crags, and soon a torrent of stones poured down the cliffs. There was no mistake about it this time. The Italians turned and fled." (365)
We have talked in the past about the morality of the actions of climbers who leave each other in difficult situations without helping each other, but this goes beyond that. Actively preventing another climber from reaching the top using a potential dangerous barrage of rocks seems crazy! Even if the Italian climbers did not hear the first attempt, the summit group still puts up a flag and builds a cairn to mark their success, meaning that anyone who reached the summit after them would be understand that Whymper and his companions had gotten there first.
Although it was an early time of exploration, it still seems absurd that these men would throw rocks down to stop others from climbing after them. The worst part is that Whymper doesn't even seem to feel any remorse about what he did, even when he says that he wished that his old climbing companion, Carrel, could have been there with him.
If we questioned the morality of leaving climbers stranded on a peak when you are capable of helping them, throwing rocks down a mountain at climbers certainly is immoral behavior.