I think I should first say that I have a super old copy of this book, so I’m not entirely sure whether everyone else has pictures in their version. My version, which appears to have been added to Hamilton’s library in 1942, has a number of illustrations, some of which are quite helpful as they provide a visual for some of the more technical aspects of the writing, and others are simply quite amusing (people in mid air, lots of slack in the rope, as they fall of a part of the mountain and everyone else appears to be just watching). I enjoyed the range of the types of sketches, which included notes on equipment, geology, notable figures, and scenes from the various expeditions in the Alps.
In regards to the writing itself, I found it to be pretty dull. I was constantly reminded of Herzog’s Annapurna because of the militaristic language in which Whymper refers to the mountains he’s climbing. I found that my interest peaked up when the summit efforts became a race against the Italians. The question of who was going to make it to the summit first kept me interested in reading. I can’t tell whether that my interest stemmed from the fact that it was a competitive effort to be the first ever to reach the coveted summit, or whether it was instead just the competitive spirit itself. It probably would not have been as exciting if the mountain had already been climbed before.
Similar to Hannah, my interest quickly disintegrated into disbelief when they started throwing rocks at the Italians. I couldn’t believe it! My first thought was oh my goodness, one of the rocks is going to hit someone on the head or start an avalanche or something is going to go horribly wrong because of throwing rocks. I did not like their choice one bit. I usually associate climbing as having a pretty tight community, but this is just the exact opposite. Why not allow the Italians the opportunity to continue to push to the summit? What on earth inspired them to throw rocks instead of respecting the efforts that the Italians had made thus far and encouraging them to continue? The action definitely reiterated and reemphasized all of the militaristic language used throughout the narrative.