Author annotated copy of Scrambles Amongst the Alps in the Years 1860-69 by Edward Whymper, £4000 at Claydon Auctioneers.

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A personally annotated copy of a book written by Edward Whymper (1840-1911), the first mountaineer to scale the Matterhorn, reached a price of £4000 at Claydon Auctioneers (19.5% buyer’s premium).

It sold on April 28 well above the £100-200 estimate via a bid on

Despite being the first to reach the Alpine summit in 1865, the expedition is notorious for the eventual fall of four of Whymper’s team members on the descent. A weak piece of climbing rope, intended to be used as a back-up, cost them their lives.

The accident caused a lot of criticism back home, with much of the press condemning the practice of mountaineering generally.

Scrambles Amongst the Alps in the Years 1860-69 documents the ascent and fateful descent. In the text, Whymper claimed that he would be forever haunted by the event - something that may have contributed to his alcoholism in his later years.

This copy of the 1871 first edition was in poor condition but included a series of ink annotations and corrections - perhaps those Whymper intended for one of the many subsequent editions of the book.

It was consigned by Edward Whymper, a direct descendant of the explorer, and was accompanied by a later family-owned copy from 1900 and other posthumous editions.

The book was bought by a private collector.

Whymper did go on to lead other expeditions some years after the tragedy, including a tour of the Andes in 1879-80.

A group of four books relating to that expedition were also on offer at the Buckinghamshire auction house.

It included a bound copy of Expeditions Among the Great Andes of Ecuador by Edward Whymper, a series of articles that appeared in The Alpine Journal from 1880, plus a copy of Notes on the microscopic structure of some rocks from the Andes of Ecuador, a scientific paper written by Royal Society member Thomas Bonney based on geological samples of the peaks brought back by Whymper from the expedition.

Again, both copies included pencil notes and route marks in Whymper’s hand.

This lot sold at £1600.