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Introduction to Rock and Mountain Climbing

Introduction to Rock and Mountain Climbing by Ruth and John Mendenhall; illustrated by Vivian Mendenhall. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1969, 192 pages. $5.95.

This straightforward book is full of information and is concisely written and well organized. Among the chapters are: Rock climbing for beginners; Gaining experience on rock; Equipment and techniques for snow climbing; Snow, ice and glacier terrain; Climbing and descending the peaks. There are also chapters describing various climbing regions, and lists of climbing clubs and reference books. This book by. the Mendenhalls will probably start a lot of people climbing and get them off on the right foot. A good piece of advice (p. 39) “… refrain from complaint. Grunt, ask advice, or make jokes – but don’t claim you can’t!” Amen!

There are good discussions of rappelling, belaying equipment and clothing. Perhaps, there could have been more descriptions of innovations such as jümars and rurps. The book lists some useful elementary tips on climbing in other countries, especially in Mexico. A recommendation to use old tennis shoes for starting fires (p. 142) is surely not meant to be taken seriously, unless the Mendenhalls are so used to smog that they miss that good old Los Angeles fragrance in high camp. Chapters 4 and 5 on snow and ice climbing are very compact and well written.

Thomas H. Jukes