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The Story of the Mont Blanc Observatories



THE announcement of the death of Joseph Vallot -o- the founder and director of the permanent observatory on Mont Blanc, at the age of seventy-two years, at his residence in Nice, will doubtless render the following account of some special interest. After I had made a particularly memorable ascent to the summit of Mont Blanc in magnificent weather on August 9, 1923, spending some time, both on the ascent and on the return to Chamonix, at the most welcome refuge and observatory of M. Vallot on the rocks of the Rocher des Bosses, at the height of 14,312 feet-it was obvious that the veteran mountaineer and scientist was in failing health-I was fortunately able to persuade M. Vallot to put the salient facts regarding the Mont Blanc observatories in writing. M. Vallot responded most kindly, and prepared a typed and signed statement, which is now of such interest and importance that it has been freely translated and embodied, with some additional facts of earlier date, in the following account. Indeed, M. Vallot gave special permission, almost a request, that its essence might be contributed either to NATURE or to the Royal Astro nomical Society, and it is with great pleasure that this account is now at last written, although the sad cir cumstance of M. Vallot's passing from the magnificent scene of his life-work on Mont Blanc, in the valleys around which he will be greatly missed as a munificent friend and benefactor, renders the occasion one which the scientific world will deplore.

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