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Flat caps, a bit of rope and a lot of guts: Earliest photos of Britain's rock climbers show dangers of sport in 1908

The modern-day climber has protective clothing, spikes, clips and high-strength cables to keep them safe - but these images show the early age of climbing where daredevils took their lives into their hands

Climbers prepare to tackle a difficult ascent on the Isle of Skye in 1908. (SWNS)

Protected only by woolly socks and flat caps, these amazing pictures show Britain’s first rock-climbing photographers scaling the highest peaks with their bare hands.

The modern-day climber has protective clothing, spikes, clips and high-strength cables to keep them safe - but these images show the early age of climbing where daredevils took their lives into their hands.

Pictured on some of the UK's tallest summits, the images show early rock climbers in the early 1900s relying on heavy ropes and sheer guts to scale the massive climbs.

Climbers in 1908 had no protective clothing other than woolly socks and flat caps - forming human chains to haul themselves over rocks and ridges.

Rock climbing first took hold in the Lake District in the 1880s, when early climbers would use wooden poles.

By the late 19th century basic safety equipment included heavy, thick ropes, though the groundbreaking carabiner clip was not invented until 1911.

Two of the earliest recognised climbers, George and Ashley Abraham, took heavy camera equipment with them so they could document their adventures.

They published their remarkable images in several volumes, including 'Rock Climbing in North Wales' (1906) and 'Rock Climbing in Skye' (1908).

A copy of each is set to go under the hammer at Dominic Winter Auctioneers in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, on January 29, where they are expected to make about £200 apiece.

Auctioneer Chris Albury said: 'They were recognised photographers encapsulating the dangers and difficulties in photographing rock climbers at the time.

'The pictures show they have very limited climbing equipment and taking the photographs would have been tricky with their heavy cameras.

'It's not uncommon to find pages missing from books such as thee as rock climbers would often rip out pages to carry around in their back packs as they tried to emulate some of the climbs.'