Mountaineering on the Sierra Nevada, by Clarence King. Edited and with a preface by Francis P. Farquhar. 8 vo. ; 320 pages, 8 illustrations. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1935. Price $3.50.
The material of this book, first appearing in 1871 as a series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly, was followed in book form by many successive editions.
With the aid of a suitable preface, minor text changes, sparingly used footnotes and a few superb, oversize illustrations, the editor of the present edition, himself an authority on the Sierra Nevada, has skilfully accomplished his purpose of indicating “the relationship between this book and the scene as viewed by the visitor of the present day.” This edition stimulates discussion of the following questions: (1) Was Clarence King, in spite of his distinguished pioneering achievements in the High Sierras, a chronic tenderfoot, the type of which is occasionally seen in other walks of life? (2) Could the average mountaineer of today have avoided King’s faculty of making mistakes in exploration if he were handicapped with yesterday’s lack of mountaineering knowledge and equipment? The editor’s plea for latitude is convincing, although it is difficult to withhold an affirmative vote to the first question when contemplating King’s feat of climbing Mt. Langley by mistake when in quest of Mt. Whitney, 5 miles distant, after having started from a nearby known point at the eastern foot of the range.
L. I. G.