American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Rocky Mountains

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  • Publication Year: 1946

The Rocky Mountains, by Wallace W. Atwood. 8vo., 324 pages, with 32 photographic illustrations and numerous drawings and maps. New York: The Vanguard Press, 1945. Price $3.75.

This is the third of the American Mountain Series, its predecessors having dealt with (1) the Green, White and Adirondacks, and (2) the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge. The present volume, by the president of Clark University, will not be of great service to mountaineers expecting only accounts of ascents. In fact, the author’s ascent of Uncompaghre, highest of the San Juan mountains of S.E. Colorado, is the only climb described. On the other hand, the book offers a pleasant, well-illustrated account of mountain building, and of camps and trails along the continental watershed.

There are sections on trail life during seasons of physiographic study; on mountains from the air and from the saddle; on the growth and decay of mountains; the art of camping; erosion and growth. Ten pages only are devoted to the last ice age, and due credit is given to the spectacular quality of existing Canadian glaciers; but one becomes doubtful of the author’s knowledge when one reads (p. 186) that "tongues of ice ranging up to fifteen miles in length are frequent along the route from Banff to Jasper,” and that (p. 187) “the Clemenceau Icecap [sic] … may be visited with out much difficulty.” Among the Canadian National Parks, Robson Park is not mentioned, and, on the map of these (p. 291) the North Saskatchewan is incorrectly labelled South Saskatchewan. On p. 293, the comma between “mule” and “deer” should be omitted, unless it is intended to indicate that the former is part of the Rocky Mountain fauna—as perhaps it is in the southern groups. It also seems an unusual apportioning that one quarter of the text of a book on this great range should be devoted to prospectors, Indians, ranchmen and tourists.

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