ier, and just before quitting this chaos our nerves were put to a severe test, for the only method of advance was over a ridge of ice about a foot wide, twisting about, and having a very irregular surface. François went first and cut some rude steps with his ice-axe, then we walked after him at a snail's pace, at one moment seeking for a good foot-hold, and the next looking into the crevasses on either side, the azure blue of which was more beautiful than ever. We crossed without a slip, and François remarked, "the most difficult part of the ascent to the summit has now been accomplished."
This observation, however, was not borne out by the facts which shall be narrated in due course; but small blame to him, poor fellow! He was a young guide, having only just passed his examination and obtained his certificate, consequently he was naturally anxious to lead a party to the top; besides this there was another motive, his fee would be increased five-fold, twenty francs being the regulation ch