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A Climber's Guide to the Interior Ranges of British Columbia

A Climber’s Guide to the Interior Ranges of British Columbia, by J. Monroe Thorington. Published by the American Alpine Club, 140 East 46th Street, New York City, 1937. 149 pages. Price $2.00.

The appearance of this book may rightly be hailed by our membership with gratification. It represents the fruition of an enterprise begun by the club nearly a score of years ago with the publication of the first climber’s guide to the Canadian Rockies. While it was then hoped that a companion volume might ultimately be issued to embrace the adjacent interior ranges, the hope seemed almost chimerical, for, excepting the Selkirks, only a small part of this territory had been climbed in, and the remainder was so extensive and formidable of access that half a century might elapse before enough material for a guidebook would accumulate.

And yet the book is now before us and it treats of more than 300 peaks ! This does not mean that all the worthwhile mountains included in the 20,000 square miles of the Selkirk, Purcell, Monashee and Cariboo groups, which constitute the subject matter of the text, have been ascended, but it does mean that an astonishing amount of pioneering has been completed and the highest summits attained. The principal climbing activity of recent years has concerned itself with the Purcells and this range may now be considered to have yielded up its last topographical secrets, although the virgin “Snowpatch Spire” still offers a standing challenge to the craft.

Speaking broadly, there remains to be explored only the belt of territory at the northerly ends of the Selkirks and Monashees and around the core of the Cariboos. Is it too much to hope that some keen mountaineer from our ranks will turn his steps thither and carry the insignia of the club to new heights, exactly as these pages show that his fellow-members have done so effectively and so often in the past? Yuko Maki came from Japan to attack Mt. Alberta because he read about it in the first edition of the guidebook. Perhaps history will repeat itself, but with cast and scenery altered. We shall see.

Meanwhile this small volume demonstrates that the club is steadily pursuing its professed objectives: the encouragement of climbing and the dissemination of knowledge about mountains— in fact, it constitutes a notable milestone along this road. Apart from its utmost utility on the peaks, it epitomizes the history of the region covered and serves as a most convenient index to the existing literature and maps. The labor and devotion of the author, both afield and in literary research, are beyond all praise and place every mountaineer thereabouts heavily in his debt.

H. P.