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Auguste Rosalie Bisson
A Photographic Ascent of Mont Blanc
1861, 24 August (published)
The London Review, No.60, Vol.III, August 24, 1861, p.236
A Photographic Scaent of Mont Blanc.
M. Auguste Bisson, the well-known Alpine photographer, has recently put into execution a project which has occupied his thoughts for some years past. This is no less than the ascent of Mont Blanc with all the paraphernalia necessary to the obtaining large photographic views from the summit; but, in spite of the well-known energy and talent of this operator, and the experience he has gained during his many photographic excursions at lower elevations, so formidable an enterprise occasioned many of M. Bisson's friends to have serious misgivings as to the success of the attempt. He started from Chamonix with the guide, Auguste Balmat, and twenty-five porters; for in order to carry the large amount of apparatus to such an altitude it was necessary that it should be well distributed. When they reached the Petits Mulets they encountered a terrible storm of wind, accompanied with avalanches falling on every side, whioh compelled the party to beat a retreat to the Grands Mulets. Arriving there, some of the bearers were too ill to proceed, and had to be sent back, while the party waited until seven hardier porters could be sent up to them from below. Upon these arriving the ascent was recommenced, and at length the summit was reached. There, almost all the party were so overcome by sleep or exhausted by fatigue and suffering as to be unable to move, leaving Balmat and Bisson, whose photographic ardour sustained his strength, the only ones capable of thinking of the reproduction of that magnificent panorama which lay stretched out beneath them. The photographer and his brave companion set up the tent and arranged the materials, but when they attempted to melt the snow in order to supply themselves with water, the fuel which they had brought with them for this purpose refused to light on account of the rarity of the atmosphere. In spite of all these difficulties three pictures were obtained, of which two are said to be very satisfactory. The time occupied on the summit of the mountain did not exceed two hours and a half.