With its beginning slightly predating the formation of the Alpine Club in London in 1857, the golden age was dominated by British alpinists and their Swiss and French guides. Prominent figures of the period include Lord Francis Douglas, Paul Grohmann, Florence Crauford Grove, Charles Hudson, E. S. Kennedy, William Mathews, A. W. Moore, Leslie Stephen, Francis Fox Tuckett, John Tyndall, Horace Walker and Edward Whymper. Well-known guides of the era include Christian Almer, Jakob Anderegg, Melchior Anderegg, Johann Joseph Benet, Peter Bohren, Jean-Antoine Carrel, Michel Croz, Ulrich Kaufmann and Johannes Zumtaugwald.
Walker's sister Lucy also attained some notable firsts during the period, including the first ascent of the Balmhorn (1864), and later several first female ascents.
In the early years of the "golden age", scientific pursuits were intermixed with the sport. More often than not, the mountaineers carried a variety of instruments up the mountain with them to be used for scientific observations. The physicist John Tyndall was the most prominent of the scientists. Among the non-scientist mountaineers, the literary critic Leslie Stephen was the most prominent. In the later years of the "golden age", the non-scientist pure sportsmen came to dominate the London-based Alpine Club and alpine mountaineering overall.
1854 Knigspitze, Ostspitze (Monte Rosa), Strahlhorn
1855 Mont Blanc du Tacul, Westspitze (Monte Rosa), Weissmies
1856 Aiguille du Midi, Allalinhorn, Lagginhorn
1857 Mnch, Monte Pelmo
1858 Dom, Eiger, Nadelhorn, Piz Morteratsch, Wildstrubel
1859 Aletschhorn, Bietschhorn, Grand Combin, Grivola, Rimpfischhorn, Monte Leone
1860 Alphubel, Blemlisalphorn, Civetta, Gran Paradiso, Grande Casse
1861 Castor, Fluchthorn, Lyskamm, Mont Pourri, Monte Viso, Schreckhorn, Weisshorn, Weikugel
1862 Dent Blanche, Dent Parrache, Doldenhorn, Gross Fiescherhorn, Monte Disgrazia, Tschhorn, Zuckerhtl
1863 Bifertenstock, Dent d'Hrens, Parrotspitze, Piz Zup, Tofane
1864 Adamello, Aiguille d'Argentire, Aiguille de Tr la Tte, Antelao, Balmhorn, Barre des crins, Dammastock, Gross Wannenhorn, Marmolata, Mont Dolent, Pollux, Presanella, Zinalrothorn
1865 Aiguille Verte, Grand Cornier, La Ruinette, Matterhorn, Ober Gabelhorn, Piz Buin, Piz Roseg
Hermann Alexander Berlepsch (1861), The Alps; or, Sketches of life and nature in the mountains (English translated from German by Leslie Stephen).
Trevor Braham (2004), When the Alps Cast Their Spell: Mountaineers of the Golden Age of Alpinism (publisher: In Pinn)
Ronald Clark (1953), The Victorian Mountaineers (220 pages).
John Tyndall, (1871), Hours of Exercise in the Alps (475 pages).
Whilst the golden age of alpinism (18541865) was characterised by the first ascents of many of the Alps's most dominant mountains, the subsequent silver age may be seen as consisting of the first ascents of the many worthwhile peaks left unclimbed, although these peaks were and remained largely unknown to the wider public in Great Britain.
Once these peaks had been climbed, many ambitious alpinists turned their attention to more distant and often loftier ranges, such as the Caucasus, the Andes, the Rockies and, latterly, the Himalayas.
Prominent alpinists and guides of the period include Christian Almer, Melchior Anderegg, Hermann von Barth, Alexander Burgener, W. A. B. Coolidge, Henri Cordier, Clinton Thomas Dent, James Eccles, D. W. Freshfield, Pierre Gaspard, Paul Grohmann, Paul Gssfeldt, John Oakley Maund, Thomas Middlemore, A. W. Moore, Albert F. Mummery, Julius Payer and William Penhall.