American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

A Choice of Mountaineering Books

  • Notes
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1959

The Mountain World, 1958/59.Once again The Mountain World has chronicled nobly the significant climbs of the period. The era of the Eight Thousanders is nearly closed in this volume, with accounts of Gasherbrum II, Broad Peak, and Manaslu. (Of the two remaining peaks, one is already scheduled for the next volume.) The mountains of Peru receive particular attention herein as climbers from several nations push up difficult ice-covered peaks in the 6000-meter range. Hauser tells of the trying ascent of Alpamayo, "the most beautiful mountain in the world,” described also as "the most difficult route we have ever climbed on ice.” North America is visited in three areas: Mount Logan, in Canada; Mount Rainier, in Washington; and the high volcanoes of Mexico. Each of these affords a completely different story: one, a mountain 100 miles from the nearest civilization; another, a mere weekend; while the third is in a friendly and interesting country, thickly populated.

Tragic endings are also involved, on Mont Blanc, on the Eigerwand, and on Chogolisa. In the last we have the exit of one of the most successful and colorful of recent mountaineers. Hermann Buhl is actually mentioned three times in this volume: first, in the Eigerwand table; then, as we see him with the drive and determination that carried him to the summit of two of the Eight-Thousanders as he climbs to the top of Broad Peak; and finally, we see his last fatal footsteps on the corniced ridge of Chogolisa.

But, alas, it is necessary to make one protest. With full appreciation of the problems that confront an editor who has to cover such far-flung territory, we are forced to question the inclusion of the Mount Rainier episode. Climbers most familiar with that great mountain have expressed astonishment that the self-enforced deviation from the normal descent of the Gibraltar Route, involving only 1200 feet of descent down scree and lava cliffs, should have been considered worthy of international fame.

Richard C. Houston

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