A Climber’s Guide to the Interior Ranges of British Columbia, by William Lowell Putnam. New York: American Alpine Club. 1971. 323 pages, 35 photos. $7.00 The new revision of this guide has been updated with a see-through plastic-cover similar to many European guidebooks. It contains much new information and even the white spaces at the end of the chapters have been utilized for historical and often humorous quotations.
The simplest criticism of the book is that it covers too many mountains. Route descriptions are usually accurate, but brief. References such as (AAJ 10-421) are attached to most descriptions and have caused disgruntled climbers to mutter that in order to find necessary facts about routes in a certain area, they need hundreds of volumes of old journals and seventeen porters to carry them. Actually, the references can be of great help in the city when we wish to learn more about a certain climb or mountain. The book is as valuable for an index of information as it is for a guidebook. Dates, code numbers of pertinent maps, and information on geology are often more useful than F8’s, obvious ceilings, and sixty-foot traverses that are actually only forty feet long and place the climber twenty feet in the wrong direction, trying to hold his guidebook and his temper.
The route descriptions are short and general enough so that climbers will not be lulled into false confidence by possession of the book; in fact they will wish that the book was a little longer and more comprehensive. As climbing and exploration continue, it will be necessary to have separate guidebooks for areas now contained in this work. That time may not be too far in the future.
GALEN A. ROWELL