Baltoro, by Prof. Dr. Gunter O. Dyhrenfurth and others (Hettie Dyhrenfurth, Hans Ertl, André Roch). 194 pages, 202 photographs ; 3 drawings: accompanying folder containing 4 panoramas, 50 sketches, 4 maps. Basel: Bruno Schwabe & Co., 1939.
For the mountaineer and the student of Himalayan geography alike this book is a valuable asset. Written in German, it presents a compendium of most of the available information on that section of the Karakoram encompassed within the watershed of the Baltoro Glacier. The publication is divided into four parts; the first devoted to sections on Nomenclature, Historical review, Geology, Glaciology, Orographical description of the Baltoro Muztagh, The altitude of Sia Kangri (Queen Mary Peak), Bibliography and a glossary of about 300 Hindustani words useful in expeditionary work.
Part Two, some 90 pages, comprises an abbreviated recital of the information already contained in Damon Himalaya, Prof. Dyhrenfurth’s earlier (1935) description of the International Himalayan Expedition, 1934; and Part Three is devoted exclusively to 202 photographs which are divided into four groups: 1, Ten portraits of “Baltoro Pioneers” ; 2, Srinagar-Baltoro ; 3, The Baltoro region; 4, Little Tibet.
A separate folder contains Part Four which consists of four panoramas, two by Vittorio Sella and two by Prof. Dyhrenfurth; fifty transparent outline sketches corresponding to selected photographs in Part Three; and four maps.
As stated above the book is avowedly a compendium, and as such it attains its greatest merit. To the German-speaking peoples it will have its fullest value for, to the reviewers of knowledge, nowhere else is translated into German much of the geographical and mountaineering information here compiled. To American readers the greater part of the book’s information will not be novel for we have the work of Younghusband, Conway, Ecken- stein, de Filippi, Desio, Mason, de Segogne, Shipton and Bates already printed in English. However, mountaineers of all nationalities and tongues have happily one common medium of expression which all understand, that of photography, and most appropriately Baltoro is dedicated to Vittorio Sella and contains a number of his unrivaled photographs which, though not new, never lose lustre by repetition. As one might expect, the book is beautifully illustrated and the transparent outline sketches of Part Four enhance the value of the pictures to which they refer, particularly for the student prying into climbing possibilities in the region. In the case of K2, these sketched delineate the route of the 1938 expedition and one is forced to wonder why such a procedure is followed in this specific case only. In no other sketch devoted to peaks which have been attempted or climbed— Skyang Kangri ( Staircase Peak), Chogolisa (Bride Peak), Baltoro Kangri I (Golden Throne), Pioneer Peak, Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) or Sia Kangri (Queen Mary Peak)—has such been done, and the material is not lacking. One also feels that an opportunity has been overlooked to compile into one map the routes which have been followed in the Baltoro Muztagh, since considerable space is devoted to their accomplishments in Part One.
At the moment Himalayan mountaineering has entered a closed season but Baltoro is a most acceptable substitute with which to while away the time and plan for the day when the gateways to the high snows shall be reopened.
W. A. W.