[It] is hard to give up a brave mtn [mountain] like the Matterhorn that you have counted on for yrs even for a single day & the upshot of this new view was that I began to scramble down towards the first gl [glacier] that lay beneath me reached it struck my axe into its snow & found it in good condition crisp yet not too hard. There were some crevasses that threatened & in some places the schrund [bergschrund] yawned in what is called a cruel & infernal manner but I escaped all these passing the schrund by a snow bridge & reached the narrow gap found to my delight that I could scramble down the S [south] side & that after I reached the edge of a little lake in wh [which] huge snow bergs were drifting [that] the rest of the way to the pk [peak] of the Matterhorn was a work of nothing but determined scrambling over snow slopes over the V [very] snout of the Matterhorn gl [glacier] across moraines down the faces of fissured [precipices] up couloirs threatened with avalanches of loose stones up higher higher a thousand peaks rising all around. [Dour] Hoffman Ritter pinnacles of Minaret group Merced group clouded with ice & snow gls [glaciers] near & far a score of lake gems. Many a rest for breath & for waiting upon the sublimity of the ever changing landscape & without any fierce effort or very apparent danger reach the topmost stone
Take bearings of [few] peaks & gls [glaciers] give myself up to the glorious [ ] [ ] of all that is sublime in mountains let myself [ ] [perfect] union & away down again [out] of [the] [ ] temple. Discovered narrow avalanche spout or [channel] in NE [northeast] shoulder wh [which] let me down to [Matterhorn] Lake a gem at foot of vertical N [north] face of Mat [Matterhorn] at foot [also] of gl [glacier] of N [north] ridge (Its alt [altitude] is 12000 one of highest in [ranges]) The Matterhorn breaks away at top in huge [rough] [edged] fluted [precipice] is approachable by way I came up from can [canyon] of San Joaquin & by way I made out to descend wh [which] is on N [north] side in cañon of Rush Creek but [that] is difficult & hard to find the first easy after getting [into] the Joaquin Cañon [wh] [which] however is [outlandish] from [any] point of civil travel
[sketch: glacier between Ritter & Lyell]
Original journal dimensions: 15 x 18 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist