Albert Frederick Fred Mummery (1855-1895)
Footloose in the Himalaya
In the post-Matterhorn era, things were changing. Until then the accepted wisdom was that no amateur climber could ever hope to match the proficiency of the guide (in the first flush of Darwinian enthusiasm, Alpine Clubber George Wherry even tried to prove that guides had evolved specially adapted feet). By the later stages of the century, however, the view was becoming outmoded and restricted to a few die-hard traditionalists. The new breed of climber would find less need for guides. With most of the major alpine peaks climbed by 1870, he (or she, for more women were at last beginning to enter the alpine arena) was more interested in the way to the summit, rather than the summit itself. This new emphasis on finding and overcoming more sporting ways to the top also encouraged a new sense of self-reliance in the climbers.
Typical of the new wave was Fred Mummery, a myopic stooping tannery owner from Dover with a likeable personality and a forceful leading ability on alpine rock and snow.