Antiqua Print Gallery Lyskamn accident 1877
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Lyskamn accident 1877

The mountain which is most famous for its cornices is the Lyskamn. It is very heavily corniced, and the way to the top lies along the snow ridge from which the cornice is blown out. Three terrible accidents, resembling each other in almost every essential detail, occurred there in 1869, in 1877, and in 1896. The Alpine Journal reference to the 1877 accident may be quoted as an example of all accidents of the kind. "Messrs William Arnold Lewis, and Noel H. Patterson, with Niklaus, Johann, and Peter Joseph Knubel, left the Riffelhaus at 2 a.m. to make the ascent of the Lyskamn. As they did not return that ni^ht, Mr J. A. Carfrae, accom- panied by Peter Knubel, Joseph Imboden, and J. J. Truflfer, started the following morning at 6.30 in search. They followed the tracks of Mr Lewis' party to the foot of the arete leading down from the summit of the mountain towards the Lysjoch, and there found two knapsacks which had been left by them at this spot on the preceding day before they began the final climb. This circumstance caused them at once to fear that a fatal accident had occurred, and after skirting the lower slopes on the Italian side for nearly an hour, they reached a point from which they saw the whole of the party lying upon the snow at some distance beneath them. Being unable to reach the bodies from this point they retraced their steps, and after making a slight detour arrived at the spot. The cause of the accident was at once apparent : a snow cornice on the arete about 500 feet below the summit of the mountain had given way under the weight of the party, and they had fallen some 1200 feet on to the glacier beneath. The whole of the party had received such injuries that death must have been instantaneous in every case. . . . " The cornice had broken away in two places, leaving some ten feet in the middle still adhering to the mountain. The length of the parts which broke away was perhaps forty feet on each side of the remaining portion. . . . The bodies, from the nature of the injuries they had received, had evidently fallen upon their heads on the rocks, and then, in one great bound, had reached almost the spot where they were found."

(Source Wikipedia)