American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Northernmost Labrador, Mapped from the Air

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  • Publication Year: 1939

Northernmost Labrador, Mapped from the Air, by Alexander Forbes. New York: American Geographical Society, Special Publication No. 22.

A narrative account of an important exploration by a Boston sportsman planned as a summer vacation and carried on in a spirit of fun, but nonetheless painstakingly and fruitfully. The author’s yacht and airplane implemented the expedition. The party included professional scientists in various lines. In addition to the geographical, geological and botanical contributions which are covered in separate chapters by Messrs. O. M. Miller, Noel E. Odell and Ernst C. Abbe, respectively, the book tells of a new and ingenious technique of map making from oblique airplane photographs devised by Mr. Miller and here tried for the first time in the field.

Dr. Forbes, a research physiologist at Harvard Medical School, is not only an amateur navigator, aviator, radio expert, canoeist, skier, geographer and writer, he is also a mountaineer who has made a number of interesting climbs in the Isle of Skye, Norway, and the Alps. His party on the major trip to Labrador in 1931 included Odell, of Everest fame, and Dr. Harrison E. Kennard, former president of the Harvard Mountaineering Club. Our fellow-member, Alexander H. Bright, flew one of the expedition planes to Labrador, but business forced him to return almost immediately. There were several climbs made in the Torngat and Kaumajet Mountains mostly by Odell in connection with his geological work. None of the peaks in this region are more than about 5000 ft. high and most of them are comparatively easy of ascent, but the pictures show some fine cliffs, ridges, snowfields and small glaciers.

The author’s style is factual, rather than dramatic, but his story will fascinate the many who have dreamt of doing something worth while in the way of exploration with their summer vacations. It is an unembroidered account of the trips which included airplane journeys in 1932 and 1935 to complete mapping started by the major journeys of 1931.

The American Geographical Society, who sponsored the expeditions, prepared the maps, and published this work, is to be congratulated on the excellent format, the beautiful reproductions of many photographs of the region, and especially on the splendid maps of the area from Cape Chidley to Nachvak Fiord which form a supplement to the main volume.

T. D. C.

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