American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Butcher

  • Book Reviews
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1953

The Butcher; The Ascent of Yerupaja, by John Sack. 8 vo., 213 pages, 8 pages of illustrations. New York: Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1952. Price $3.00.

This account of the 1950 expedition to Peru, which included four present A. A. C. members and which accomplished the ascent of the dangerous and spectacular peak, Yerupaja (ca. 21,769 ft.), is written by a young newspaper reporter who commuted between Lima and the mountain for the United Press during the climb. Beginning with the organization of the expedition in the States, he recounts the many trials involved in getting to the mountain and then up it. Some of the incidents recited are genuinely amusing, and some are thoroughly dramatic, but the style and emphasis are naturally those of a journalist. The first part of the book emphasizes the humorous aspects of the venture, in fact overemphasizes them, while the second part deals with the actual climb in much more detail than any previously published account. From the technical point of view, the text is well printed and very readable; whereas the illustrations are extremely badly reproduced with the exception of the color photograph on the dust wrapper. Dr. Kinzl has questioned the propriety of the name “The Butcher” (El Carnicero), but it seems to have acquired a degree of acceptance. This reviewer feels that the author’s rather frequent derogatory comments about Peru and Peruvians in general represent an attitude not shared by most mountaineers who have been visitors in this friendly and hospitable land and their inclusion in the book is unfortunate. Nevertheless, it is a book which may be expected to appeal to the general public and is selling well.

John C. Oberlin

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.