American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Land of Tempest: Travels in Patagonia

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  • Publication Year: 1964

Land of Tempest: Travels in Patagonia, 1958-1962, by Eric Shipton. 224 pages, 1 colored frontispiece, 24 black & white pictures, 3 maps. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1963. Price $5.95.

This is a fascinating account of exploratory mountaineering in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, the sub-antarctic regions that form the southern end of the Andes. The book tells of four expeditions : a reconnaissance to make the acquaintance of this region; an investigation of a mysterious volcano hidden somewhere in the vast Patagonian icecap; the crossing of the northern half of the icecap from north to south; and the ascent of the highest peaks of Tierra del Fuego, a glaciated island northwest of Cape Horn. From the climbing viewpoint, Land of Tempest describes little actual mountaineering, but every journey in such a land demanded mountaineering skill; it must be remembered the glaciers reach sea-level, that its weather is among the worst of the world, and that the land is uninhabited, except for small settlements on the eastern foothills. Even so, eight peaks up to 10,000 feet were climbed and another, Murallön, was missed by a few feet. In his last two journeys Mr. Shipton climbed with Chilean mountaineers and had the aid of the Chilean Navy, which proved most useful. The text is a vivid picture of this interesting area and the photographs, particularly those of the glacier barriers, adequately complement the description. Little is left to criticize: a couple of full body photos of peaks would have been welcome; and Pico Francés (p. 201) was not climbed by the Italian 1956 expedition. But these are minor remarks for a good book.

Evelio EchevarrÍa C.

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