John Muir


image preview



(11[th]) Morning clean & lovely everyone of the [stony] isles of the lake lighted as if sun rose for it alone The finely carved mtn [mountain] fronts to N [north] show out [their] arches & [pillars] to [fine] advantage with the splendid [arrangement] of light & shade. Sun silvers the cascade as if getting it ready for the spangles of the lake. The gls [glaciers] are tinted [with] rose but ever and anon comes a black foggy cloud down swooping from the W [west] summits & applies its chill [somber] folds to its surface in [every] part filling also all the chambers & vaults of the black walls around them

More over into the [other] valley belonging to cluster of gls [glaciers] nearer Lyell ready to ascend Matterhorn Camp in the protecting lee of a clump of P flex [Pinus flexilis] at alt [altitude] of 10450 on edge of gl [glacier] lake

12th Mildly [came] the wind all through the half lighted night clds [clouds] black & cold hanging about summits but will attempt the Matterhorn

Coffee & away free legged as any Highlander Arrived at [summit] after stiff climb [no] névés & gls [glaciers] & loose rocky taluses but alack the [Matterhorn] is yet miles away & fenced off from the shattered crest I was on by a series of jagged unscaleable crests & gls [glaciers] that seemed steeper & glassier than any I had seen

After [studying] the situation like a chess board [running] my [eye] narrowly along each spiky wall and around their glacier guarded bases made up my mind to the unhappy opinion that it would be wrong to incur so many dangers in seeking a way to the peak of Matterhorn [from] [this] direction Concluded to spend the day with 3 gls [glaciers] to the left towards Ritter & seek the Matterhorn again next day by ascending a cañon leading up



from the N [north]. Yet in order to make sure of the [practicability] of even that route I scaled the pk [peak] next me on the left to obtain a more map like view of the intricate zigzags of walls & spires. On reaching top (12000) saw that N [north] was possible to descend to one of the gls [glaciers] wh [which] before seemed to threaten so [much] & that at its head it was not only snow covered but less [steeply] inclined & that in its shattered [precipitous] head [wall] was a narrow slot 3 or 4 feet wide wh [which] I could [risk] [for] the head of the gl [glacier] & possibly descend on the S [south] [wall] into what promised to be a cañon leading up to the highest névés of Matterhorn towards wh [which] I [could] see a long easy [spur] coming down from [ ]

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 15 x 18 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.


John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist