Thanks for that, article, I really enjoyed reading it. I haven't read First on the Rope, which is a bit of an omission on my part.
I'd love to see the 1944 film, did you ever see it available anywhere?
Fabulous review and biography - I'll have to get a copy.
I'm with you on ambivalence about the Chamonix valley - love the place on the one hand, and on the other hand I'm horrified. Got to give it to the local government, they seem to have balanced growth with keeping (some of) the ambience of decades ago.
Thanks, never heard of this before. From the article it sounds like this is a singular piece of writing, yet it doesn't seem to be on the radar of British readers. This is odd when you consider the popularity of "Conquistadors of the Useless". Perhaps its down to "First on the Rope" being a novel rather than autobiographical, and Frison-Roche's lack of upward achievement when compared to Terray. I will have to look it up if I ever get through the pile still awaiting my attention.
Thanks for another great article Nat. I'll be reading First on the Rope on my kindle tonight
There are some very short clips online if you search 'Premier de Cordée film 1944' and there was a more recent adaptation of the book in a 1999 film. I've been in touch with Roger's daughter Martine and could ask if any digital copies exist, if you like?
Yes, I think Frison-Roche was less well-known as a climber (but who could blame him with all the other stuff he did!) and fiction is probably a deterrent for some people (I'm not a fan of fiction, either). This book is more 'autofiction' though.
This has really made me want to buy this book – like NOW.
Interesting article, thanks. So was the route named in his honour? I can’t recall if he got to be president of the Compagnie des Guides.
I think the book is reasonably well known in French mountaineering circles. Rebuffat’s Etoiles et Lumieres is another classic from the same era (slightly later). At any rate, I seem to recall these books being mentioned when I was doing mountaineering courses with the UCPA.
> I'd love to see the 1944 film, did you ever see it available anywhere?
It's actually on on Monday in Chamonix if you're nearby
It appears so. His daughter Martine didn't know the full story, but assumed I'd answered my own question when I suggested it must have been renamed after him following the filming.
Frison-Roche was dean/'doyen' of the Cie des Guides and Président of the Union Internationale des Guides de Montagne. Not sure if dean is essentially the same as president?
A very good review by Dennis Gray on the Footless Crow website.
And what exactly is autofiction Natalie?
The book is _extremely_ well known in France, even beyond mountaineering circles. Maybe Vertebrate will publish the other two books in the trilogy which are also excellent: La Grande Crevasse and Retour à la Montagne?
I think doyen means oldest / most experienced guide. The current website mentions a practising doyen who is 80 (!!!).
Yeah and it's amazing to see how some of the most famous names in Chamonix guiding are still going strong in the Compagnie today. How many Ravanels can you count?!
You mean like Made in Chelsea and TOWIE? Now I'm interested!