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William Cecil Slingsby

Text: Kjerstin Klæboe

The mountaineer William Cecil Slingsby (1849 - 1928) was the son of a wealthy family with Scandinavian ancestors, born and raised in Yorkshire, in the North of England. He became a pioneer in Norwegian mountaineering history and played an important role in the development of mountaineering in Norway. Between 1872 and 1921 he visited Norway no less than 21 times. He accomplished a series of first ascents and climbed countless mountains from Hardanger in the South to Lyngen in the North. His most famous achievement is his 1876 first ascent of Store Skagadølstind (Great Skagastøl Peak), which is, with its 2405 m.a.s.l. Norway's third highest mountain. The fact that the peak was covered in ice and that Slingsby ascended it alone made this Norway's greatest climbing achievement at that time.

In 1904 William Slingsby published the book "Norway, The Northern Playground" (in Norwegian "Norge, den nordlige arena"). The book contains the article "Mt. Stetind, the Lord's anvil", where he writes:

"In spite of numerous references in the Alpine journal throughout the years, it contained no illustrations of Mt. Stetind, probably the most astounding obelisk in the world. (...) Seen from a ship near the bottom of the fjord the peak seems to live up to its name thoroughly. It bares its shoulder under a broad and flat top, suitable to be an anvil."

Many famous characters of the current climbing scene attempted to ascend Mt. Stetind in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. However, both Martin Ekroll and Carl Hall were defeated by the mountain. Even Slingsby failed in ascending this peak, in spite of his numerous climbing achievements in Norway.

Sources: Torbjørn Storjord, Tysfjord Yearbook 2002

Lena Fauske and Øyvind S. Bruland, Mountain Pioneers with Sketchbook


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