New book on Jules Jacot Guillarmod

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A new book on Jules Jacot Guillarmod, the mountaineer and photograph of the Himalaya expeditions of 1902 and 1905, led by Oscar Eckenstein and Aleister Crowley respectively, has been published: PIONIER AM K2 (in German) or PIONNIER DU K2 (in the French original).

It’s an amazing account of the adventures with nearly 200 fascinating photographs. Especially interesting to the members of this site will be the inclusion of quite a few extraordinary and never before seen photographs of Crowley, Jacot Guillarmod and Eckenstein, as well as of the other members of the parties, like De Righi, Reymond, Pache and others. As an extra there also photos of Guillarmod’s visit at Boleskine (one even showing Crowley’s ill-fated daughter Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith sitting on Crowley’s desk in his Boleskine study) and Crowley visiting Guillarmod in France. The book also quotes extensively from Guillarmod’s journals, quite interesting when compared to Crowley’s accounts in his Confessions.

Check out the publisher’s web page. There you will find an interactive extract which already depicts one of the most amazing Crowley portraits ever seen.


There will also be two exhibitions of the photographs (maybe even more, who knows?) in February 2013 and autumn 2013 in Switzerland.

Here is a somewhat stiff translation of the press text:

Charlie Buffet, Pionier am K2 – Jules Jacot Guillarmod

Saw K2 for the first time. Impressive, frightening and delightful at the same time.”

Diary of Jules Jacot Guillarmod

The international expedition led by Oscar Eckenstein (three English, one Swiss, two Austrians) were the first Europeans who dared to go near K2 (8611m). In June 1902 they reached the foot of this giant pyramid and were deeply moved by its impressive beauty. The expedition’s Swiss doctor Jules Jacot Guillarmod documented the undertaking in countless photographs, which over a century later are now republished.

He eternalised the high-altitude landscape of the Himalayas with connecting photographs, such creating panaromic shots which enabled the beholder amazing views of a then completely unexplored part of the earth. Jules Jacot Guillarmod also maintained a journal which in a unique way kept record of the daily routines and the emotional worlds of these six Europeans, who marched through Kashmir and the Karakorum destined for the foot of the mountain, accompanied by 150 porters. He impressively describes the imposing landscape of the upper Indus and its inhabitants, for which he also provided medical treatment.

With scientific precision he documented the life of the people and the villages they encountered during their march. For two months they lived and researched in camps on K2, in an altitude of 6000 meters, which proved to become a mental and  physical test to the expedition members. Especially the behaviour of the notorious and eccentric English poet and occultist Aleister Crowley made him the distinctive personality of the party.

In 1905 Jacot Guillarmod participated on another expedition, surprisingly again together with Aleister Crowley. This time the voyage led him to the other end of the Himalaya chain, to the Kangchenjunga. The disagreements of the K2 expedition from 1902 this time ended in disaster and a final drama.

The journalist Charlie Buffet was born in Paris in 1963. Since 1995 he reports for the newspapers ”Libération” and ”Le Monde” about the world of mountaineering. He is also an author and a documentary filmmaker. Ten years ago the grand-daughter of Jules Jacot Guillarmod told him of the existence of the photographs of the Himalaya expeditions. His research led to the documentation of these unique images and chronicles.


Charlie Buffet

Pionier am K2 – Jules Jacot Guillarmod
Entdecker und Fotograf im Himalaya, 1902–1905

152 pages, 177 b/w images
24 x 30 cm, clothbound with dustjacket
ISBN 978-3-906055-02-2

€ 43,90 / € (A) 44,90 / CHF 58.–

Exhibition at the Naturhistorischen Museum, Neuchâtel Februar 2013
Exhibition at the Alpine Museum, Bern im Herbst 2013

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