American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Bataille Pour Le Jannu

  • Book Reviews
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1966

Bataille Pour Le Jannu, by Jean Franco and Lionel Terry Paris, NRF Gallimard. 293 pages; 61 photographs, 5 maps and drawings. Price: French frs 19.50 French climbing in the Himalayas has a very special flavor about it both in fact and in mountain literature; however well and soberly organized it has a romantic aura, a panache. The French play a vital part in the Golden Age of Himalayan mountaineering, starting with the spectacular ascent of Annapurna, through the conquests of Chomo Lonzo and Mak- alu. Jannu, though less high (7710 m.) presents a greater technical problem than any of these. Tensing thus described it: "Jannu is not a mountain but a ferocious giant on guard. He sits on his throne and watches over the valleys of Nepal… When men or yetis appear, Jannu blows, and there is nothing left.” The numerous photographs in this book show the almost unearthly beauty and savage character of this ice-clad citadel. What a challenge for any expedition! It took the French five years to conquer Jannu. There was first a reconnaissance in 1957 by Guido Magnone, then an expedition in 1959 under Jean Franco, which reached the height of 7400 m., finally the victorious expedition under Lionel Terray in 1962.

Jean Franco and Lionel Terray each tell the story of their own expedition. They both write vividly. We experience with them the hair-raising problems of organization, equipment and selection, we watch them wrestling with the Indian and Nepalese customs officials, we wander with them through the enchanting Nepalese countryside and meet the Sherpas who contributed so immeasurably to the final success. The actual climbing is described so graphically that the reader, even if unversed in Himalayan climbing, feels he participates in all the various vicissitudes till he savors the final triumph on the pin-point summit of Jannu. The main points which emerge from this absorbing book are first the joy in the great adventure which Jannu represented and second the wonderful solidarity and camaraderie of the teams. As Lucien Devies, President of the Himalayan Committee, puts it in his preface: "In this most individualistic of countries, in this most individualistic of sports, French climbers in the course of years have shown in the continuous demands of both organization and action, an irreproachable Team spirit.”

Ursula Corning

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.