De Saussure – founder of mountaineering (1740)

De Saussure – founder of mountaineering (1740)

On February 17, 1740, an interesting man was born, whom he considered to be the founder of mountaineering. His name was Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and he was a nobleman from the Swiss city of Geneva. Interestingly, Saussure started traveling the Alps, actually because of an interest in plant species (botany).

In 1760, Saussure offered a prize to whoever first climbed the highest peak of the Alps – the famous Mont Blanc (4810 meters). Namely, that peak had not been won by then. Saussure himself tried to conquer Mont Blanc in 1785, but failed. Mont Blanc was first won by Dr. Michel Paccard and Jacques Balmat, both from the city of Chamonix, and encouraged by the Saussure competition.

Saussure also eventually managed to win Mont Blanc himself, next year. Saussure died in Geneva in 1799, at the age of 58.

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