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A Climber's Guide to the Rocky Mountains of Canada

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  • Publication Year: 1931

A Climber’s Guide to the Rocky Mountains of Canada. by Howard Palmer and J. Monroe Thorington. Second edition. 1930. Pp. 244. John C. Winston & Co., Philadelphia. $3.25 postpaid. Obtainable from the secretary of the American Alpine Club, 50 Court Street, Brooklyn.

The Rocky Mountains of Canada cover an immense area and are not easily accessible at points away from the two transcontinental railways, yet the last thirty years have sufficed for parties equipped for exploration and climbing to cover almost the whole ground and, in addition, the Alberta-British Columbia Boundary Commission has published excellent maps of the main watershed, determining authoritatively the elevations of the neighboring mountains, so that the time is opportune for a summing up of our achievements as mountaineers. For this work no one is better equipped than the authors of A Climber s Guide to the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Few enthusiasts for our mountains have covered so much ground as they have, especially in regions difficult of access, and few have so many first ascents to their credit; and few indeed would have the patience to read the enormous mass of publications which has grown up in connection with the Canadian Rockies so as to collect the necessary data for the purpose of a guide-book.

The work has been performed with much care and excellent judgment and the reader finds concise references to more than six hundred peaks of 9,000 ft. or over strung out along 450 miles of the southern part of the Canadian Rockies. Farther to the northwest, so far as known, the range becomes lower and is of less interest to the climber.

The work is taken up from south to north and the peaks are divided into three groups, the first reaching from the International Boundary to the Kicking Horse pass on the Canadian Pacific Railway; the. second from the Kicking Horse pass to the Yellowhead pass on the Canadian National Railway; and the third from this point to Jarvis pass toward the north, beyond which the mountains are less Alpine in character. The groups are further subdivided into twenty-eight sections, and each section has a brief introduction covering general features and explaining how the region may be reached. This is followed by a list of the peaks taken in alphabeticalorder. The references to the different peaks are necessarily very condensed, but give the altitude, the position, the date of the first ascent and the names of the climbers. Suggestions as to routes of ascent are usually given, and in the case of important mountains more detailed accounts are supplied.

It is, of course, a book for reference rather than for continuous reading, but several of the introductions to the different sections give an excellent outline of the geographic relations, and also of historic discoveries and journeys through famous mountain passes, points of much interest to those who do not browse in old Alpine journals.

A glance through its pages shows many names of routes and peaks that recall vivid memories of toils and troubles, but also sometimes of joys and triumphs, in the breast of a man whose contests with mountain trails and mountain peaks ended almost a quarter of a century ago; but it is a delight to see how splendidly the men, and women, too, of a later generation are taking up the most heroic and unselfish of sports among the peaks and glaciers of the Rockies.

The Climber's Guide to the Rocky Mountains of Canada, compact in form so as to slip easily into the pocket, and yet very complete and up to date, should prove indispensable to the members of our Alpine Clubs and to all travelers who visit the Canadian Rockies.

A. P. Coleman.

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