Short History

     Early attempts to ascend mountain peaks were motivated by scientific, geographic, or spiritual quests. In 1492 Antoine de Ville, lord of Domjulien and Beaupré, was the first to ascend the Mont Aiguille, in France, with a little team, using ladders and ropes. It appears to be the first recorded climb and has been said to mark the beginning of mountaineering. Mountaineering in a contemporary sporting sense was born when a young Genevese scientist, Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, on a first visit to Chamonix in 1760, viewed Mont Blanc offered prize money for the first ascent of Mont Blanc. More than 25 years later, his money was claimed by a Chamonix doctor, Michel-Gabriel Paccard, and his porter, Jacques Balmat.
     Mountaineering gained popularity in the 18th century and many mountain summits were surmounted for the first time. By 1857, mountaineering became a more competitive, popular sport in Britain with the founding of the Alpine Club, the first mountaineering club. By this point the sport of mountaineering had largely reached its modern form. By 1870 all principal summits had been scaled, and climbers turned their attention to the mountains of South and North America, Asia, Africa’s peaks, and finally the vastness of the Himalayas.. The international governing body of climbing and mountaineering is the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), who was founded in 1932 in Chamonix, France.