Commando Climber, by Mike Banks. 240 pages, 18 photos, sketches. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1955. Price, 18 s.
The author is a captain of the Royal Marines who served with the 3rd Commando Brigade in Burma during the last war, and then returned to England and became a climbing instructor on the Cornish sea cliffs. His stories are not of his wartime service but rather of his experiences training men to ascend the very steep and difficult cliffs, his climbing excursions to Scotland and Cyprus, service on Malta, and enterprising exploratory tours in Greenland. He is particularly successful in taking the reader with him on these latter journeys, and he makes that northern land seem most intriguing.
The book concludes with a description of a moonlight ascent of Route Major on the Brenva face of Mont Blanc, obviously something of a feat. Nevertheless, it leaves one with the feeling that the author’s main interest is in difficult rock climbing problems rather than in general mountaineering. Although without very much continuity, and therefore suitable for bedtime, it makes pleasant reading.
John C. Oberlin