Death Of Corti Closes Chapter

Monday, 15 February 2010

Those nice people at UK Climbing recently ran a feature by the excellent climbing historian Luca Signorelli following the death of Claudio Corti at the age of 81. The rescue of Corti from the Eiger in 1957 is one of those horrific but compelling stories, with plenty of mystery and intrigue, that writers can't resist. It's clear from Luca's article, and more in-depth work from other writers like Giorgio Spreafico, that Corti suffered a calumny at the hands of Heinrich Harrer in his best-selling history of the Eiger, the White Spider. For many of us, this was one of the books that made mountain climbing so extraordinary. Ironic, then, to discover that one of its most exciting passages is so badly misjudge. Harrer's portrayal of Corti as out of his depth haunted the Italian for decades after. Fascinating too was the role of Riccardo Cassin in adding his weight to the condemnation of Corti – although they more or less settled their differences in old age. Harrer, on the other hand, despite repeated requests and endless documentation, refused to budge. The White Spider still has the original version of the Corti story.

Posted by Ed Douglas at 4.04 PM