On Climbing

Publication Year: 1957.

On Climbing, by Charles Evans. New York: A. S. Barnes & Company, 1957. 191 pages; 33 plates; 6 pages of maps; numerous pen-and-ink drawings. Price $5.00.

"The mountains and the hills are there to be discovered; and whether they are the boys’ crags of heather, or the great ranges untrodden since they were made, always they entice us to know them, to master all that bars the way; to them a part of us belongs." On Climbing shows that a considerable part of Charles Evans "belongs" to the mountains, and in this book he does his best to help us "master all that bars the way." On Climbing is an extremely readable, easy-to-understand book on mountaineering techniques and equipment. It is slanted at the young climber in the British Isles, but what it says is so sound and clearly presented that no veteran climber anywhere can fail to find useful lore in it. This is no mere textbook. Analysis of techniques and climbs are delightfully interspersed. In more or less chronological order we progress from scrambles in the Berwyn hills to the first ascent with Dawa Tensing of the Kang Cho Shar. Always there is modesty and companionship and deep happiness. Perhaps the book’s best feature is the large number of Evans' own pen and ink sketches of techniques and routes. He is particularly good on step cutting and on the pleasures of bivouacs. Many Americans will be pleased with his praise of the Logan tent and interested in his comments on the Tarbuck knot, "approximately 30 per cent stronger than a bowline when tested to breaking point by slow loading."

Whether Charles Evans is climbing the north face of Snowdon in the winter, traversing the Täschhorn and Dom in the summer or reconnoitering the Chola Khola in the fall, one recognizes what a splendid mountain companion he must be. His concluding words about hills and mountains speak to us all, "… once we have seriously played with them we can never let them be."

Robert H. Bates