Starlight and Storm. The Ascent of the Six Great North Faces of the Alps. By Gaston Rébuffat. Translated by Wilfred Noyce and Sir John Hunt; technique section translated by Ronald Le Grand. Foreword by Sir John Hunt. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1957. 189 pages; ills.; map; diagrams. Price $5.50.
Club members satiated with hundreds of books on the Alps will be delighted and thrilled with this one—as is attested by the redoubtable translators. It describes only the toughest climbs of them all. With shivering fingers and shivers down the spine the reader works his way past verglas and overhang, facing numbing bivouacs which culminate in a series of hard-won victories on six of those famous north faces that used to make the headlines back in the 1930s. And it is all told with a charm and a modesty sure to appeal. The author, certainly unique among guides, has gained fame from the glaciers of Annapurna to the pages of Life, and is the producer of a moving picture film bearing the same title as this volume. Those who have met him on his recent visits to this country are to be envied.
Besides the basic fact of translation, the make-up of this book, from the Anglo-American viewpoint, has been greatly improved from the original French edition previously reviewed in these pages, AAJ, 1956. It also includes a substantial section, "The Beginning Climber—The Technique of Mountaineering," not found either in the original French edition or in the London edition.
Roger S. Whitney