The Mountain World 1956/57. Edited for the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research by Othmar Gurtner and Marcel Kurz; English version edited by Malcolm Barnes. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957. 200 pages; ills. Price $6.00.
The current issue of The Mountain World records the world’s most successful period of high mountain exploration and ascent so far. This single issue describes the first ascents of Kangchenjunga, Makalu, and Lhotse, and the second ascents of Everest and Kamet. The summit of Makalu, in fact, was reached on three successive days by a total of nine climbers. No wonder Jean Franco refers to Makalu as “The Happy Mountain.” But he pays homage to the expeditions before him. “Their lessons were our opportunity, their sufferings were our debt.” And as he says, “… oxygen was for us as much a part of our equipment as a good pair of mitts on Mont Blanc.”
The Mountain World 1956/57 records not only ascents of the world’s
highest peaks, but mountain endeavors of other kinds in widely separated areas. For instance, Arnold Heim writes of the Virungas Volcanoes in tropical Africa, Wilhelm Kick in separate articles discusses glacial movements in the Karakoram and place names in Baltistan, and Bradford Washburn writes definitively of Mount McKinley. The latter article, magnificently illustrated, is certainly the outstanding work in this issue. Well written and compact, this concise account tells the history of past climbing on the mountain, analyzes the weather, air support and snow conditions, and pictures in detail great new routes that will some day be made on this vast 20,000-foot peak that lies 35 degrees of latitude north of Everest. Magnificent double-plate photographs and a section of Washburn’s stunning relief map of Mount McKinley are included. This analysis of Mount McKinley sets a standard that promises to be unequalled for many years.
The Mountain World is written for a world-wide audience and American, German, and Swiss editions are published simultaneously. Despite cavalier tendencies with the proofreading, this publication annually provides readers throughout the world with a clear and beautiful record of research and high adventure.
Robert H. Bates