American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Mostly Mischief

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  • Publication Year: 1967

Mostly Mischief, by H. W. Tilman. London: Hollis & Carter Ltd., 1966. 191 pages, 16 pages of photographs, 5 maps. Price: 30s.

Four voyages by H. W. Tilman are chronicled and as the title suggests, three of them were made aboard Mischief, his "retired” English pilot cutter. The remaining voyage was made aboard the converted cray-fishing schooner Patanela.

Mischief revisited Baffin Bay in 1963 to serve a North-South traverse of Bylot Island. She penetrated through ice to Angmagssalik and to the southward on the east coast of Greenland in 1964, and revisited the same area in 1965 further to explore but not to conquer the fjord island, Skjoldungen. Patanela’s voyage from Sydney to Kerguelen and Heard Island is partly a return engagement, for Tilman had sailed to Kerguelen Island, some 300 miles northwest of Heard Island, aboard Mischief in 1960. (Mischief Among the Penguins). Then he had concluded that a larger and stronger vessel and a larger crew would be needed to support the ascent of Heard Island’s Big Ben. Patanela and her crew of ten successfully brought off the venture in 1964. Major Tilman’s fourth account of ocean voyaging to remote Arctic and Antarctic regions is written with the same verve and amusing references as are his previous accounts of voyages to climbing regions. For his circumnavigation of South America (Mischief in Patagonia), Major Tilman was awarded the C.C.A.’s Blue Water Medal in 1956 and all voyages since have been of comparable caliber. Perhaps less prone than of yore to attempt arduous ascents himself, he continues to make unusual climbs available to others in his function of "dean” of the sport. His accounts continue to delight and inspire those of us who, like him, aspire to explore ourselves and our world.

John Ross

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