Cordillére Blanche, by Georges Kogan and Nicole Leininger. Preface by Maurice Herzog. 160 pages, with 34 illustrations, 5 maps, and frontispiece in color. Paris and Grenoble: B. Arthaud, 1952. Price, 690 Fr. francs.
Peru’s enchanting and spectacular Cordillera Blanca was visited in 1951 by a nine-man Franco-Belgian expedition. The group made first ascents of Nevado Pisco, Quitaraju, and Alpamayo. Four ascended the latter, 6120 m., “la plus belle montagne du monde,” by the corniced north ridge, on which the Swiss came to grief in 1948. Also noteworthy is the founding of the C.A.F.-sponsored Andin- Peruvien Club.
A happy expedition and a delightful book. It focuses on Alpamayo, yet evokes a background awareness of the whole continent and its history. It contains mature and sympathetic insight into the characters of the various Peruvian peoples. Kogan writes in a breezy style, with a robust humor that is unforced. His description of the bath-incident in Monterrey is uproariously funny, a “natural” no press agent could have thought of. He is overly modest about the climbing difficulties and rappelling from the summit of Alpamayo. Nicole Leininger’s is a subtle, gentle humor, quite human. She and Claude Kogan, “la plus forte alpiniste de France,” formed the first all-female team to climb a six-thousander. It is a happy book, the finest possible tribute to Georges, who died a few months later.