Globalisation of Alpinism in the Twentieth Century: Publicity, Politics, and Organisational Endeavours
After its emergence in the late nineteenth century, the globalisation of alpinism continued throughout the twentieth century, albeit in a complex, context-dependent manner, with setbacks and different speeds at different levels. This article aims to investigate this process by way of contrastive exemplification. Two aspects of the globalisation of alpinism will be contrasted: a centre stage, constituted by memorable ascents, the object of intense public attention and interest; and a little-noticed offstage area in international organisation. The examples include the climbing of the Eiger North Face, Lenin Peak, Stalin Peak, and Mount Everest. The organisational endeavours are illustrated by the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation. I will argue that it is mainly their relation to politics and power that makes these two strands of globalisation so different.