An Early Mountaineer's Map of the Mont Blanc
A fantastic, highly detailed, and beautiful map of the Mont Blanc Massif, the highest point in continental Europe. The map is marvelously executed and represents the work of Xavier Imfeld, a noted Swiss engineer, cartographer, and topographer.
The map shows the range of mountains that contains the Mont Blanc, which is now roughly circumnavigated by the famous "Tour du Mont Blanc" hike and race. Cities in three countries are shown, including Chamonix, Martigny, Courmayeur, and Orsieres.
The topography shown is of an exacting standard, with fifty-meter contour intervals indicated, the extent of glaciers shown, the elevation and names provided for many peaks and sub-peaks, and the location of a number of refuges and high altitude cabins shown. Various climber's routes are shown ascending the mountain and its subsidiary peaks, including the Aguille du Midi, the Mt. Blanc du Tacul, and the Aiguille des Glaciers. The map also includes an inset sketch map of the major peaks that simplifies the information collected and would allow a mountaineer to execute a traverse of the Massif.
This is the fifth edition of the map issued by Louis Kurz, an early mountaineer who wrote the Guide de la Chaine du Mont Blanc, first published in 1892. Like with many early mountaineers, he was unable to pursue his passion full time and was a musician on the side, although his Guide brought him worldwide prestige. While preparing the guide, he realized that the published topographies of the mountain were still fallacious, and therefore decided to collaborate with Imfeld to produce an updated and accurate map. He would continuously work on improving the map until his death in 1942.