Albert Mummery, the father of modern mountaineering Died on Nanga Parbat in 1895
Albert Mummery

Albert Frederick Mummery was an English climber who was the first person to climb numerous Alpine peaks, including Dent du Requin, Col des Cortes, and Zmutt Ridge of the Matterhorn. He was born on September 10, 1855 in Dover, Kent, England, and passed away on August 24, 1895 in western Kashmir, India.

Mummery was a youngster who suffered from a severe illness, but he was able to overcome his physical limitations and myopia in order to become an adventurous climber. At the age of sixteen, he began climbing, and in the year 1879, he made his first ascent of Col du Lion with the assistance of a personal guide named Alexander Burgener. It was in the year 1890 that Mummery began climbing without the assistance of guides. Two years later, he led a group of four people without the assistance of guides on the first ascent of the Alpine peak Crépon, which had been regarded as unreachable in the past. His disappearance occurred in the year 1895, when he was attempting to climb the Himalayan mountain of Nānga Parbat, which is situated at an elevation of 26,660 feet (8,126 meters). It is thought that he and his group of Nepalese porters were buried by an avalanche. In the field of mountaineering, the book “My Climbs in the Alps and the Caucasus” (1895) written by Mummery continues to be considered one of the most prominent sources.
Nanga Parbat was the first mountain that Albert Frederick Mummery, J. Norman Collie, and Geoffrey Hastings attempted to climb in the year 1895. They were also the first climbers to ever attempt to climb a Himalayan peak that was 8,000 meters in height.

While Mummery and two Gurkhas, Ragobir Thapa and Goman Singh, were exploring the Rakhiot Face, they were victims of an avalanche that caused them to fall and meet their deaths. None of their bodies were ever discovered. In the book titled “From the Himalaya to Skye,” written by Collie, the accounts of this terrible journey are detailed.

“Big hole in the cornice of the ridge I could look down 3,000 feet or more onto the vast unbroken glacier,” Mummery claimed after experiencing the Himalayas for the first time in July of 1888. He described the experience as being similar to gazing through a hole. An English climber and novelist, Mummery was responsible for the establishment of a number of routes in the Alps at the time. Nanga Parbat would go on to gain its name as a “man-eater,” as thirty men would lose their life on the ninth largest peak on the earth until the first ascent was completed by the great Austrian mountaineer Hermann Buhl in 1953. He was the first person to climb the mountain. In his description of Mummery, Buhl referred to him as “one of the greatest mountaineers of all time.”

In addition to leaving behind a legacy of some of the most highly recognized routes in the Alps, Mummery also left behind his book, My Climbs in the Alps and the Caucasus, which is considered to be one of the most lasting masterpieces in the field of mountaineering research. The following is an excerpt from the book that was written by Mummery: “It has frequently been noticed that all mountains appear doomed to pass through the three stages: An inaccessible peak – The most difficult ascent in the Alps – An easy day for a lady.” On this page, you will find the complete book.

The Himalayan Range is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of northern Pakistan, and Nanga Parbat is located at the westernmost point of the range. Diamir, Rakhiot, and Rupal are the three primary faces that it possesses. When compared to K2, which is the second-highest mountain in the world, it is regarded to be the second most difficult 8,000-meter summit. Additionally, it is considered to be one of the most dangerous.

Who was Albert Mummery?

Alfred Frederick Mummery was born on September 10, 1855, at Maison Dieu House, which is located on Biggin Street. This is the location where the offices of the current Dover Town Council are located. William Gange Mummery was the name of their oldest son, and he was the younger son of William Rigden Mummery and Esther, who were his parents. William, the father, was born in Deal on December 19, 1819. In 1835, he moved to Dover and rented Maison Dieu House from a miller named William Kingsford. Thomas Kingsford was the miller. They were both devoted Congregationalists and were actively associated with the Russell Street Chapel, which had opened its doors in 1838. He married Esther, who was from Portsmouth, in the year 1843.

When William and Esther purchased the Stembrook Tannery in the year 1850, William Senior quickly began the process of modernizing the business. Considering that this was considered to be a component of their education, William and Albert were both actively involved in the family company from a very young age. In 1857, on May 28th, Maison Dieu House, which was still owned by the Kingsford family, was put up for sale, and the Mummery family placed a winning offer on the property. In the year 1861, the Tannery had 21 men working for it, and William Mummery senior was on his way to becoming a prominent figure in the political scene of the area. 1865, 1866, and 1867 were the years that William was elected Mayor. After being acquired, the town clock was put in the tower of St. Mary’s Church on September 13, 1866. Both events took place.

The razzmatazz that is associated with the formal duties of a mayor was the last time that the family took part in it. William’s death occurred not long after the conclusion of his tenure in office. William junior was 22 years old, and Albert was 13 years old. He was 48 years old. After their mother had finished with the burial, she took their two brothers to the Alps for a vacation. As Albert subsequently wrote in his book, My Climbs in the Alps and the Caucasus, “the crags of Via Mala and the snows of the Theodule raised a passion within me, which has grown with my years and has to a large extent moulded my life and thought.” This enthusiasm has grown over the years. Although William was still attending school at the time, it was decided that he would take over the management of the tannery with Albert’s assistance when they returned to Dover.

After William enthusiastically took over the management of the tannery, he introduced freshly patented technology, and the firm continued to thrive after his arrival. On the other hand, Albert had a strong desire to go back to the Alps, and the opportunity to do so presented itself in the year 1871. The Matterhorn, which is located in the Pennine Alps on the boundary between Switzerland and Italy, was the first mountain that he saw on this trip. It is 14,691 feet (4,478 meters) in height. Albert wrote to his family that he had hardly the courage to think that he would ever be able to climb the mountain. However, three years later, Albert returned to the mountain and successfully climbed it. He was characterized as being tall, blonde, with a muscular build, and dripping with vitality. By the time he reached the summit, he had written that he “ought to cease taking an interest (in mountaineering).”

A meeting between Albert and J. Norman Collie and William Slingsby, who were at the forefront of guideless climbing at the time, may have occurred around this time. Instead of losing interest in the sport, Albert became enthralled by it. In the end, Albert made seven ascents to the top of the Matterhorn, taking the three of them to the highest point in the mountain range. Regarding this, he said, “no sooner had I ascended a peak than it becomes a friend, and delightful as it is to seek fresh woods and pastures new, in my heart I long for the slopes of which I know every wrinkle, and on which each crag awakens memories of mirth and laughter, and of the friends of long ago.” He was referring to the fact that he had climbed a peak.

Mary Petherick, the daughter of an Exeter barrister who also liked mountaineering, was someone whom Albert met during one of his travels to the Alps. In 1883, they tied the knot, and as part of their honeymoon, they did a trek to the summit of the Matterhorn. It was the midst of July at the time, and as they sat at the top of the mountain, looking out over the gorgeous Alps that they both cherished, Arthur remarked that “the wind was not sufficient to stir the flame of a match?”

Despite the fact that high-risk activities like mountaineering were considered to be unacceptable toward the end of the nineteenth century, Albert continued to climb. The Aiguille du Grépon, which is part of the Mont Blanc range, was the first mountain to be climbed by him, and a well-known crack was later named after him. Other mountains in the Mont Blanc Group include the Dent du Requin and the Grands Charmoz; the Teufelsgrat, which is located on the three-sided Tschorn in southern Switzerland; and the Zmutt ridge, which is among the most challenging on the Matterhorn.


Albert Frederick Mummery tomb
It was in July of 1888 when Albert made his first trip to the Himalayas. He described the experience as being similar to peering through a “big hole in the cornice of the ridge.” He was able to see 3,000 feet or more down to the wide unbroken glacier. His mother, Esther, passed away in that year. She was known for her untiring efforts to improve the lives of others who were less fortunate, as stated in her obituary. After she passed away, Albert made the decision to remain in Dover and devote his time to assisting William with the operation of the family business. At the time of the census in 1881, the company had 27 male employees and three male employees by that point. Mary and their daughter Hilda, who was born in 1885, resided in the home that Albert purchased on Leyburne Road, which has since been destroyed.

Whilst William was serving as a Liberal councillor for the Town Ward, Albert put in a lot of effort to assist him at the Tannery. In addition, he devoted a considerable amount of time to examining the administration of the Town Council. Together with his buddy John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), Albert conducted research and was the author of the book The Physiology of Industry (1889), which was published in 1889. a groundbreaking piece of work on the economic theory of underconsumption, the core of which is that the macro economy requires intervention in order to maintain stability for the economy as a whole. This viewpoint was extremely contentious at a period in which traditional macroeconomics was centred on the concept of thrift.

On the other hand, Albert’s heart was still in the mountains that he cherished, but he penned his biography out of the dread that he would never be able to return from those mountains. It was then in the year 1895 that he was given the opportunity to go back to the Himalayas and make an effort to climb Nunga Parbat, which is the ninth highest peak in the world and has never been conquered. In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, close to the border between Afghanistan and China, the Nunga Parbat mountain range may be found in the westernmost point of the enormous mountain range. “Nunga” means “naked,” and “Parbat” means “peak.” One of the sides of the mountain is so steep that snow cannot be flattened on it. The mountain is known by its moniker, the Killer Mountain, despite the fact that this description is accurate.

On the mountain’s northern face, which is known as the Rakhiot, snow may be seen. The mountain has three sides. He embarked on his journey from the military post of Astor, accompanied by two pals who were mountaineers and a handful of Gurkhas. Having successfully erected a camp at an altitude of 10,000 feet, he embarked on a mission to reconnoitre the Rakhoit Face of the huge mountain on August 24, 1895. He was accompanied by Gurkhas, Ragobir, and Goman Singh accompanied him on this expedition. There was an avalanche that occurred shortly after the three individuals left the camp, and they never came back; their remains were never discovered. There were further efforts to climb the Nanga Parbat, and a great number of lives were lost as a result of these endeavours. It was finally achieved by a German-Austrian team in the year 1953.

After the passing of Albert, Mary and Hilda relocated to Exeter, Exeter, to be with Mary’s parents. It was at Bournemouth that Mary passed away on March 8, 1947; she never remarried. In the year 1899, on January 8th, William Gange Mummery, Albert’s older brother, passed away unexpectedly at Maison Dieu House. He was 53 years old. His funeral ceremony was performed at the Russell Street Methodist Church, where he had served as the treasurer for many years. Following the service, he was laid to rest in the St. Peter and St. Paul’s Churchyard in Charlton parish. George Bacon managed The Tanyard until he retired on his seventieth birthday in 1922. He had purchased the business after it had been placed up for sale. Following the conclusion of World War II, Pencester Court was constructed on the parcel of land that had been included in Pencester Gardens not long after.

In June of 1899, Maison Dieu House was put up for sale, and its purchase by the Corporation occurred in 1904. After World War II, the House was converted into the municipal library. It remained there until 2003 when it was relocated to the new location of the Dover Discovery Centre, which had previously been known as White Cliffs Experience. It was in 2004 when the Dover Town Council purchased the House, and there was a plaque inside that commemorated Albert Mummery at one point, but it has since been removed. St. Peter and Paul Churchyard in Charlton is the only place in the town where a memorial has been erected in honour of Albert. Despite this, Arthur, who was born, worked and lived in Dover, earns the title of “Father of Modern Mountaineering” from people all over the world.


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