NABOKV-L post 0014482, Sat, 23 Dec 2006 14:55:35 -0500

DN on Brocken Spectre ("third man")
The "third man" mirage was considered a mountain mystery by some early
Alpine and Himalayan climbers. It is described in various accounts of
climbs of the time,
including that of Whymper's tragic attempt on the Matterhorn. It was, in
all probability, the phenomenon now referred to as the Brocken Spectre,
and impressed the imagination in those days of mystic hyperbole, grainy
black-and-white photographs, and insufficient oxygen and conditioning at
high altitudes. It did strongly appeal to VN and to me. I recall
discussing it with him, and his asking me if I had experienced it on any
of my numerous climbs. It was a good question, especially considering
the circumstances of some of those climbs (first ascents in poorly
charted ranges, occasional zero visibililty with no GPS to back up a
compass that seemed hopelesly untrustworthy, my reading on the subject).
Unfortunately my answer was always no.


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