Young Geoffrey Winthrop
Young Geoffrey Whintrop, * Marlborough ,England, später Cookham in der Grafschaft Berkshire,
Jena (Deutschland, Grovehurst (Kent), + London
Geoffrey Winthrop Young war Sohn von George Young und ein englischer Alpinist, Schriftsteller und Pädagoge. Er wuchs in Cookham in der Grafschaft Berkshire auf und studierte am Trinity College in Cambridge klassische Sprachen. Während der Studienzeit begann er zu schreiben und in Wales und im Lake District zu klettern. Seine Studien setzte er in Jena fort. Er sprach fließend Deutsch, aber auch Französisch und Italienisch.
Seine erste große Bergtour war die Jungfrau im Berner Oberland, im Gedenken an seinen Vater, der mit den Führern Christian Almer und Peter Baumann 1865 die Erstbegehung über den Guggigletscher gemacht hatte. Young hat die Klettertechnik weiterentwickelt und hat neue Routen erschlossen,die bis heute noch beeindrucken.
Seine erste bedeutende Erstbegehung war am Weisshorn. Mit den Führern Louis und Benoît Theytaz bestieg er am 7. September 1900 eine vom Nordgrat nach Westen hinabziehende Rippe, den später so genannten Younggrat. 1904 stand Young zum ersten Mal auf dem Matterhorn. In der Folge gelangen ihm in den Alpen große Erstbegehungen, meist mit dem Walliser Bergführer Josef Knubel aus St. Niklaus. Unter andern bestieg er die Südostwand des Weisshorns (28. August 1905), die Südwestwand des Täschhorns (11. August 1906), die Ostwand des Zinalrothorns (21. August 1907), die Nordostwand des Weisshorns (31. August 1909), den ersten Abstieg über den Hirondellesgrat an den Grandes Jorasses (11. August 1911), die Ostwand der Aiguille du Grépon (19. August 1911), die Südwestwand des Gspaltenhorns (14. Juli 1914). Nebst dem Weisshorn gibt es am Zermatter Breithorn einen Younggrat, ein Gipfel der Grandes Jorasses heißt Pointe Young.
Ab 1890 war er Mitglied des Alpine Club, den er während des Zweiten Weltkriegs präsidierte. 1913 wurde er Präsident des britischen Climber's Club, der das sportliche Felsklettern förderte und die ersten Kletterführer herausgab. 1945 war Young Promotor des British Mountaineering Council, der Dachorganisation aller britischen Bergsteiger und Bergsteigerorganisationen. Am Pen-y-Pass in Snowdonia, Nordwales, organisierte er zwischen 1907 und 1947, unterbrochen von den Weltkriegen, Zusammenkünfte britischer Kletterer. Zu den Gästen zählten neben der Elite des britischen Alpinismus auch der Physiker Ernest Rutherford, der Ökonom John Maynard Keynes, der Schriftsteller Aldous Huxley und der Everestpionier George Mallory, ein intimer Freund und Protegé von Young.
Als Kriegsreporter berichtete Young von der Westfront für Daily News. In der zerstörten belgischen Stadt Ypern organisierte er Ambulanzen von Freiwilligen, die Friends Ambulance Units. Von 1915 bis 1917 war er mit dieser Einheit, die aus Kriegsdienstverweigerern bestand, im Einsatz an der Isonzo-Front in Norditalien. Am 31. August 1917 verletzte eine Granate am Monte San Gabriele sein linkes Bein so schwer, dass es oberhalb des Knies amputiert werden musste. Am 25. April 1918 heiratete er in London die 20 Jahre jüngere Eleanor Slingsby, Tochter von William Cecil Slingsby, Pionier des norwegischen Alpinismus und des Skibergsteigens. 1919 begann er mit einer speziellen Beinprothese wieder zu wandern und zu klettern, ab 1927 auch wieder in den Alpen. Dabei schaffte er wieder große Touren wie das Weisshorn, den Grépon und das Zinalrothorn. Im Abstieg vom Zinalrothorn mit Josef Knubel stürzte er am 24. Juli 1935 schwer und gab darauf das Bergsteigen auf.
Auch als Schriftsteller und Publizist machte er auf sich aufmerksam. Er veröffentlichte Gedichte, Artikel und 1920 das alpine Lehrbuch Mountain Craft. 1927 erschien On High Hills, ein Buch mit Erinnerungen an seine Bergtouren in England und in den Alpen. 1951 veröffentlichte er unter dem Titel Mountains with a Difference seine Erlebnisse als Alpinist mit Beinprothese. Young verfasste auch eine Autobiografie, The Grace of Forgetting.
Pädagoge und Antifaschist
Nach Hitlers Machtergreifung 1933 reiste Young mit einer Delegation durch Deutschland und besuchte unter anderem das Konzentrationslager Dachau bei München. Während der Nazizeit hielt er Kontakt mit befreundeten Antifaschisten in Deutschland, von denen viele Opfer des Regimes wurden. Es gelang ihm, Kurt Hahn, einen fortschrittlichen jüdischen Pädagogen und Leiter der Eliteschule Schloss Salem in Baden-Württemberg, nach England zu holen. Mit ihm gründete er die Gordonstoun School in Schottland, ein fortschrittliches Internat, das unter andern auch Prinz Charles und dessen Vater besuchten.
Neue Entwicklungen im Alpinismus verfolgte Young eher skeptisch, seine romantische Vorstellung vom Bergsteigen sah er mehr und mehr durch seelenlosen Sport verdrängt. So kritisierte er die Erstbesteigung der Annapurna durch eine französische Expedition 1950, deren Gipfelteam mit schweren Erfrierungen zurückkehrte. Ab 1954 litt Young an Magenkrebs. Die letzten Jahre lebte das Ehepaar in Grovehurst, Kent, in einem mittelalterlichen Bauernhaus. Am 6. September 1958 starb er in einem Pflegeheim in London an den Folgen der Krebserkrankung. Seine Frau und sein Sohn zerstreuten seine Asche in den Hügeln um den Pen-y-Pass.
Das Bergführerdenkmal in St. Niklaus Dorf ehrt u. a. Geoffrey Winthrop Young als Gast der St. Niklauser Bergführer.
Die berühmte Seilschaft Joseph Knubel und Geoffrey Winthrop Young durchstreiften 1910 die Alpen. Beide waren überdurchschnittlich Leistungsfähig. Im Sommer 1911 gelang ihnen im Montblancgebiet innerhalb von elf Tagen vier große Neutouren. Am 9.August die besteigung des Montblac über den Brouillardgrat, indem sie die Erstbegehung über die Westflanke des Col Emile Rey dürchführten, am 11.August die Überschreitung des Hirondelles-Grat zur Grandes Jorasses, am 14.August die Erstbesteigung des Grandes Jorasses-Westgrat und am 19.August die Erstersteigung des Grépon über die schwierige rechte Ostwand (Knubelriss). Der Younggrat, eine vom Gendarmen des Nordgrats nach Westen am Weißhorn hinabziehende Rippe, wurde nach dem britischen Alpinisten Geoffrey Winthrop Young benannt, dem die Erstbegehung am 7. September 1900 mit den Führern Benoît und Louis Theytaz gelang.
H.O.Jones begleitete oft Young und Knubel, manchmal auch Blodig oder Todhunter, L.Croux und H.Brocherei als Führer. Young schrieb öfters über seine Besteigungen und Bergfreunschaften äußerst spannende Berichte.
Der sehr gute Bergsteiger Young steig 1919 mit seiner Beinprothese auf der normalroute auf den Dent du Requin und Grepon.
1897 Best.Pointe de la Sana,3435m, (Vanoiser-Alpen)
1897 Best.Aiguille de la Grande Motte,3653m, (Vanoiser-Alpen)
1897 Best.Tsanteleina,3601m, (Grajische Alpen)
1897 Best.Aiguille de la Grande Sassière,3751m, (Grajische Alpen)
1898 Alleinüberschr.Pigne de I'Allèe von Zinal, (Walliser Alpen)
1899 Best.Zinalspitze (Ponte Zinal),3789m, u.Arbenhorn (Mont Durand),3713m, an einem Tag,
1899 Best.Matterhorn,4478m, (Walliser Alpen)
1900 1.Beg.Weißhorn-Westwand "Young-Rippe",IV,4505m, (Walliser Alpen)
1900 1.Beg.Weißhorn-Grand Gendarme-Nordgrat im Abstieg,4505m, (Walliser Alpen)
1904 Überschreit.Matterhorn,4478m, (Walliser Alpen)
1905 1.Beg.Weißhorn-Südostwand "Young Variante",4505m, (Walliser Alpen)
1906 1.Beg.Weißhorn-Südostflanke "Variante II",4512m, (Weisshorngruppe-Walliser Alpen)
1906 1.Beg.Zermatter Breithorn-Nordgrat "Younggrat",III,55°,1250 HM,4165m, (Walliser Alpen)
1906 1.Beg.Dent du Requin-Südostgrat (Chapeau à Cornes-Grat),IV+,800 KM,3422m,
1906 1.Beg.Täschhorn über Südwestwand,850 HM,55°-60°,4490 m, (Walliser Alpen)
1907 1.Beg.Zinalrothorn-Rechte Ostwand "Young-Führe",4221m, (Walliser Alpen)
1907 1.Beg.Rimpfischhorn-Ostwand "Knubel-Führe",4203m, (Walliser Alpen)
1907 1.Überschr.Aiguille du Midi,3842,-Aiguille du Plan "Midi Plan Grat",III,3673m,
1907 1.Beg.Vers.Grandes Jorasses-Nordwand,4205m, (Montblancgebiet)
1909 1.Beg.Weißhorn-Nordostwand "Knubel-Young-Perry Smith-Route",50°,1000 HM,4505m,
1911 1.Beg.Grandes Jorasses-Westgipfel-Pointe Whymper-Westgrat,IV,4196m, (Montblancgebiet)
1911 1.Beg.Grandes Jorasses-Nordostgrat "Hirondellesgrat" im Abstieg,V,750 HM,4208m,
1911 1.Beg.Barre des Ecrins-Westgrat,4101m, (Haute Dauphine)
1911 1.Beg.Aiguille du Grépon-Direkte Ostwand "Knubelriß",V+,800 HM,3482m, (Montblancgebiet)
1911 1.Beg.Montblanc-Brouillardgrat über Westflanke zum Col Emile Rey,IV,Eis 50°,1500 HM,
1911 Best.Pic Luigi Amedeo,4469m, (Brouillardgrat,Montblancgebiet)
1914 1.Beg.Gspaltenhorn-Südwestgrat "Rote Zähne",IV,3437m, (Berner Alpen)
1914 1.Beg.Dent du Géant-Südwestwand "Normalweg",V+,140 HM,4013m, (Montblancgebiet)
1914 Beg.Matterhorn-Zmutgrat,4478m, (Walliser Alpen)
1927 1.Beg.Grandes Jorasses-Nordostgrat "Hirondellesgrat" im Aufstieg,V,750 HM,4208m,
1928 Best.Matterhorn,4478m, (Walliser Alpen)
1935 Best.Zinalrothorn,4221m, (Walliser Alpen)
1.Beg.Grisighorn-Ostseite "Ruppen-Young-Anstieg",3177m, (Berner Alpen)
1.Best.Nördliches Fußhorn über Westwand/Südgrat, (Berner Alpen)
Best.Mittleres Fußhorn, (Berner Alpen)
1.Best.Südliches Fußhorn, (Berner Alpen)
Best.Aletschhorn,4195m, (Berner Alpen)
2.Best.Jungfrau,4158m, (Berner Alpen)
1.Beg.Nesthorn-Südgrat und Südostgrat,3822m, (Berner Alpen)
3.Best.Fußhörner-Nadel der Kleopatra vom Driestgletscher, (Berner Alpen)
Best.Wellenkuppe,3903m, und Obergabelhorn,4063m, Abstieg über Arbengrat,
Beg.Zinalrothorn-Nordgrat,4221m, (Walliser Alpen)
1.Beg.Dom-Südwand,4545m, (Walliser Alpen)
1.Beg.Zinalrothorn-Westwand,4221m, (Walliser Alpen)
1.Beg.Weißhorn-Südwand "Diagonale",4505m, (Walliser Alpen)
1.Beg.Zermatter Breithorn-Nordwand,4165m, (Walliser Alpen)
Best.Lyskamm,4527m, (Walliser Alpen)
Best.Monte Rosa,4634m, (Walliser Alpen)
1.Beg.Aiguille Grépon-Mer de Glace-Flanke,3482m, (Montblancgebiet)
1.Beg Barre de Ecrins-Südwand,4101m, (Dauphiné)
Gerd Schauer, Isny im Allgäu
Geoffrey Winthrop Young (1876-1958)
Geoffrey Winthrop Young was born on October 25, 1876, and died on September 8, 1958. He was the second son of Sir George Young, Bt., of Formosa, Cookham, a distinguished administrator and an erudite scholar. He was educated at Marlborough and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was awarded the Chancellor's Medal for English Verse, and after further study at Jena and Geneva, he became an Assistant Master at Eton in 1900. After five years at Eton he accepted a post as an Inspector of Secondary Schools. He resigned from the Board of Education in 1913 and in the First World War he served first with the Friends' Ambulance Unit in Flanders and later in command of the First British Ambulance for Italy. Though a civilian, he was mentioned in British Despatches, and he was awarded the Belgian Order of Leopold for ' exceptional courage and resource ' and the Italian silver medal' For Valour'. He was badly wounded in 1917 and lost a leg above the knee. After the war he worked as a European Consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation and from 1932 to 1941 he was Reader in Comparative Education at London University. In 1918 he married Eleanor Slingsby, daughter of William Cecil Slinsgby; she survives him with their son, who is a member of the Alpine Club, and a daughter.
His father had taken part in the first ascent of the Jungfrau from the Wengern Alp in 1865, but the next year, when with two brothers he was descending Mont Blanc, one of his brothers was killed and, in consequence, mountaineering could not be mentioned in Young's home. But from very early days his father took him on walking tours among the Welsh hills, and he recalls how in his Marlborough Hymn Book he scribbled, 'Shall I ever go to the Alps?' and, 'If I could only be a mountaineer!' Already his passion for the mountains was well kindled. Next came undergraduate reading parties in the Lake District with his first rock climbs (and also his Guide to the Roofs of Trinity). In 1897 he first visited the Alps, where, alone with Felix Levi, he made a number of ascents in the Tarentaise. In the next two years he climbed in the Oberland and Pennines, first with old Clemenz Ruppen, with whom he explored the Belgrat and made some new climbs on the Fusshörner, and later with Louis Theytaz, with whom, and other Zinal guides, he made the third ascent of the Viereselsgrat of the Dent Blanche. Now and then he made solitary ascents, for instance of the Grand Cornier, to which he does not confess in his list for the Alpine Club.
In February 1900 he was elected to the Club, his proposer being Sir Alfred Wills. He was now arriving at the fullness of his powers and it was in his eleven seasons of serious Alpine climbing before the First World War that he rose to his outstanding position among British mountaineers. It is indeed largely due to him that these years can be regarded as the period of the fine flowering of the Victorian mountaineering tradition. Occasionally he climbed guideless, for example on the first ascent of the Nesthorn from the Unterbachhorn, but usually with guides. He made a number of further climbs with Louis Theytaz, and of these the most distinguished was the first ascent of the Weisshorn from Zinal by what came to be known as the Younggrat (which illustrates his
eye for a rib running up an avalanche-swept face), followed by the first descent of the North ridge. In 190 5 he first climbed with the young Joseph Knubel, and thus was formed perhaps the most remarkable partnership between amateur and professional in Alpine history. It would not be correct to say that Young was the strategist and Knubel the tactician, for while Young had a remarkable capacity for recognizing a new route and the effect of snow conditions on particular ridges and faces, and Knubel was a supreme rock-climber and iceman, yet Young played his part in the tactical solution of the problems of an ascent, while Knubel became one of the greatest all-round mountaineers. Their mutual confidence enabled them to work together as a perfect team and this, with their physical fitness, enabled them to move, even on climbs of great difficulty, with an amazing speed. Moreover, as Young writes, ' We liked mountains in the same way : we liked the same way of showing our affection for them, in sunshine or in shadow '. From 1905 to 1914 Young usually had Knubel with him and often his party included friends such as Donald Robertson, Heywood, Mayor and Mallory. Sometimes they were accompanied by one of the Lochmatters or by other guides. In the first two seasons with Knubel, they joined Ryan and the Lochmatters on the first direct ascent of the Weisshorn by the South-east face, the Matterhorn by the Furggengrat and the North-east shoulder, and on the great ascent of the Täschhorn by the South face, led by the Lochmatters, which even in these days of pitons has only seldom been repeated in its entirety. In these and the following years they also made the first ascent of the Breithorn by the Klein Triftji (another ' Younggrat '), which was brilliantly conceived and executed, of the South-west face of the Dom, and of the South-east face of his beloved Weisshorn, with a further new route on this face, and new routes on the East face of the Rimpfischhorn and East and West faces of the Zinal Rothorn, together with an attempt on the Col des Nantillons, only defeated by the weather. Of course his climbs of these years also included a great number of more usual routes, together with lesser new ascents and variations mainly in the Zermatt and Mont Blanc districts, and he delighted in following a long ridge over several peaks in a single day, for example the Charmoz, Grepon and Blaitiere, or the Monte Rosa summits Lyskamm and Castor and back to the top of the Lyskamm. His great speed served him well, and, combined with his judgment, saved him from .ever being involuntarily benighted.
There followed the great year of 1911, the year of magnificent weather. He, with Knubel, joined H. 0. Jones's party, and, after making a new route up the South face and West arete of the Dome de Neige des Ecrins, they moved to the Mont Blanc area and there Young and Jones, with Knubel and other companions, amateur and professional, achieved a remarkable series of new routes the descent of the East ridge of the Gran des Jorasses ; the Brouillard ridge of Mont Blanc direct from the Col Emile Rey, long projected by Jones ; the West ridge of the Gran des Jorasses, and the direct ascent from the Mer de Glace to the summit of the Grepon. The two seasons remaining to Young before the First World War brought him the first ascents of L'Isolée of the Dames Anglaises and of the Rote Zähne ridge of the Gspaltenhorn.
Then came the loss of his left leg above the knee, but he refused to accept this shattering blow as the end to his mountaineering. Farrar records that in one of his first letters after the amputation he wrote, 'Now I am ready to get quite as much from seeing for the remaining years how near I can screw myself up to my old standards again. I'm still out for the hills!' But first he had to understand the new problems of balance and movement which he must master if he were to climb again and he soon realised how useless for such active purposes were the artificial legs provided by the Government. However, he succeeded in designing a leg, or rather a peg, which was made for him by a friend in a garage workshop, and which, he held, nearly halved the difficulty of fatigue of movement. On visits to North Wales and the Lakes he slowly learned his new technique of balance for rough walking and for climbing rocks and how to overcome what he calls ' the fake registration and fatigue that follows amputation '. From his wide correspondence with limbless men the help that he gave them is very clear. After apprenticeship on British climbs he was ready for the Alps and in 1927 he went to the Riffelalp, whence after training climbs on the Riffelhorn and Furgggrat he achieved Monte Rosa in an 18-hour day, guided by his old friends Franz Lochmatter and Hans Brantschen. To at least one of his companions this appeared to be the greatest physical feat he had ever witnessed. It must have needed courage and endurance of a very high order to sustain the effort of the sheer lift of the whole weight on one leg up so many thousands of feet, the frustrations of the right-handed traverses on snow or on the rock ridge when the peg impeded almost every movement, and the shock and pain of the plunge into soft snow or of the slither on scree. Nevertheless next year he was back in the Alps, first in the Dolomites, where he found that the rock structure did not suit him, and then in the Pennines. There he climbed the Wellenkuppe, the Weisshorn, on which his party was stopped by snow conditions some five hundred feet from the top, and the Matterhorn. In 1929 he was at the Montanvert and climbed the Petits Charmoz, the Requin and the Grepon. In 1935 he returned to the Riffelalp with Marcus Heywood and with Joseph Knubel who had not been with him since the war. With them he climbed the Zinal Rothorn from the Trift and he tells how on the top he came to the realization that these last years of struggle to recapture the magic of mountaineering had not served to recreate more than its simulacrum. With the loss of sure technique and with the intense physical effort required of him the joy was gone, and he resolved that this should be his last Alpine climb. This resolve was fortified by an incident on the descent when, as a result of a momentary loss of balance while adjusting his snow glasses, he' fell some eighty feet over the jagged lip of an overhang and by a supreme effort was held by Knubel.
During all these years Young had been continually visiting British hills, sometimes in the Lake District, occasionally in Scotland, but usually in North Wales. He was largely responsible for the second wind which re-invigorated the Climbers' Club and its Journal immediately before the First World War and he, with the friends he collected for his parties at Pen-y-Pass, played a notable part in the development of climbing in the Snowdon area. These parties included climbers and walkers of all age-~ and in the lists of those who, some occasionally and some constantly, attended them we find the names of many already distinguished mountaineers and many on the road to distinction, such as, to name only a few of those at the pre-1914 parties, Slingsby, Farrar, Morse, Archer Thomson, Bicknell, Shadbolt, Herford, Pope, Finch, Porter, Mallory. They continued for some years after the First World War, and not only provided the best of company but formed a centre for the discussion of every conceivable aspect of mountaineering and for the inculcation of sound doctrine in succeeding generations of younger members. From 1924-30 he was living in Cambridge ; there he was much concerned with the activities of the C.U.M.C. and with the growth of the Trust which he had taken the lead in founding in memory of Donald Robertson for the purpose of enabling undergraduates to embark on adventurous holidays, particularly among mountains. It was to his encouragement and help that many young men owed their escape to the hills.
His books, too, further widened his influence. His first, other than his Roof Climbing juvenilia, was a volume of poetry, Wind and Hill (1909), which was followed by Freedom (1914) and April and Rain (1923), each containing a number of mountain poems. Plenty of poetry had before been written about mountains but with few exceptions none had been written by one who had himself ' walked with death and morning on the silver horns '. Here at last was a poet who could convey and interpret not merely the beauty of mountains, but the sometimes complex emotions aroused by the relationship between mountain and mountaineer. In prose he wrote three outstanding mountain books. The first was Mountain Craft, published in 1920, but mainly written before the war. (Parts had been read at his Pen-y-Pass parties and there debated and criticised.) This was the most all-embracing exposition and analysis hitherto published of every branch of mountaineering, and, in its revised edition of 1947 it still remains a standard work. Its most original feature is the chapter dealing with the psychology of mountaineers and the reactions between them, which may well have saved many a party from failure or disruption. The other two books were autobiographical. In On High Hills (1927) he writes of his pre-war Alpine ascents. In Mountains with a Difference (1951) he is mainly concerned with his return to mountaineering after the loss of his leg. In these accounts of his climbs he deals, as he indicates in the Preface to On High Hills; not only with' the things we are doing 'and 'the things we are seeing' but also with ' the things we are feeling' and these bulk large. The style and diction are occasionally obscure and are not to the liking of all, but we have in these books some of the most vivid and sensitive descriptions in our literature of the emotional as well as the physical adventure of great mountaineering, of which perhaps the best examples are his accounts of the South face of the Täschhorn and of his last climb on the Rothorn. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Durham University.
From early days Young took an active part in the affairs of the Alpine Club, and, on occasion, if he felt the Club was going to sleep he seemed deliberately to stir up controversy. For example, in 1910 he proposed and carried the introduction of a Club badge, a question which aroused feelings of a violence out of all proportion to its importance. (Later he declared that in order to enliven the atmosphere of the Club he was· quite ready to propose the badge's abolition!) In 1938 he became Vice-President and in 1941, President. As President he was confronted by two major problems. First he had to keep the Club not merely in being during the war years but actively in being, and this with the help of Donkin, the Honorary Secretary, he most successfully achieved by increasing the number of meetings, by organising Alpine Club meets in Wales and the Lakes, and by welcoming foreign mountaineers who were in England. Secondly, he had to meet the situation arising from the already rapid growth in the number of British climbers and their probable need for expert guidance, and also from the pressing demands for help and advice from Government Departments and others who were concerned with the uses of mountaineering for warfare or education. It was to deal with these developments that he took the leading part in forming and fostering, under the aegis of the Alpine Club, the British Mountaineering Council, representative of virtually all British clubs, which was to facilitate consultation and co-operation between the clubs and, whenever need should arise, to give expert advice or to speak in the name of British climbers. This association of the Alpine Club with home climbing clubs was a revolutionary move and was a first step towards its transformation from a small self-sufficient body which, as has been said, was rapidly becoming a Victorian periodpiece into a force in British mountaineering.
We have so far been concerned with a factual account of Young's career so far as it was related to mountaineering. It remains to attempt some assessment of his influence and personality. In his paper 'Mountain Prophets', in the Alpine Journal of 1943, Young wrote: ' Percy Farrar was probably the strongest single influence that modern mountaineering has known. . . . With Farrar we may say with some certainty that even the revised version of the later prophets was closed.' To that list of prophets Young's name should be added. Though he had many contacts with foreign and, especially French, climbers (he was an Honorary Member of the G.H.M.), Young had not the same universal influence abroad that Farrar had, but his impact on the British climbing community was remarkable and, moreover, as that community ceased to be drawn only from the more prosperous classes and came to include members of all classes in astonishing numbers, so his influence spread. This came about not only through his books and his articles in climbing journals, for he was constantly in demand as a lecturer or after-dinner speaker at Clubs, large and small, and he met and corresponded with numberless climbers who sought his advice and to whom he was lavish in his encouragement. His homes, in Cambridge and London, were frequent, sometimes almost continuous, meeting places for mountain talk.
The doctrine that he preached can be no more than touched on here and it must be confessed that in his more mystical passages he is often difficult to follow. Its fundamental principle was that the true and lasting joy of mountaineering can only be achieved if the mountaineer is fonder of the mountains than of his own skill, and that it flows from the spirit in which the skill of the climber is adjusted to the mountain to be climbed. It follows that difficult mountaineering can only be approached through an apprenticeship, that the true spiritual satisfaction attainable by the mountaineer has no concern with competition or records, or even with the attainment of the summit, and can be reached by anyone, whatever his skill, provided that he loves and respects the mountains and does not regard them merely as glorified gymnasia for the exercise and display of his prowess, and that no climb is worth a man's life, even though mountaineering may have enriched that life beyond all comprehension. Nothing but good could follow from such a doctrine.
Geoffrey Winthrop Young was a man whose personality could never be ignored, in whatever company he might be. It was not merely that he possessed an original and sympathetic mind which moved with great intellectual power and aesthetic perceptiveness, but that there was in him a dynamic (on a mountain sometimes daemonic) force which made him a natural leader. On the mountains in his prime, whatever his place on the rope he ·was the leader of the party, and this held good in other spheres. Yet his mind was essentially the mind of a poet and a wit and this, with his love of action, lent an Elizabethan flavour to his personality. As in the case of all men of strong character there were some whom he antagonised. But he was redeemed from the ruthlessness of many such by his humour and his kindness, which was all the more effective by reason of his almost alarming capacity for knowing what his companion was feeling. I well remember the first time I met him: it was a chance meeting all but fifty years ago at Ogwen Cottage, where three school contemporaries and I were staying, and it took us some little time to decide whether here was a man whom we disliked, or towards whom we could ever feel real friendship, but once we had made up our minds there was no looking back. There can indeed be few who have had so many friends.
C. A. Elliott
Quelle: Alpine Journal Vol. 64. Nr. 298, 1959, Seite 107-114
* Marlborough ,England,später Cookham in der Grafschaft Berkshire,
Grovehurst (Kent),+ London
WIKIYoung Geoffrey Winthrop - Bergkamerad 1958-59, Seite 112.pdf