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Glacier Ice

Glacier Ice, by Austin Post and Edward LaChapelle. Seattle: The Mountaineers, Seattle-London: University of Washington Press, 1971. 110 pages, 130 photographs and illustrations.

Ice is an essential element of the alpine landscape. It is largely responsible for sculpturing the peaks which most attract us as climbers. It contributes to the austere beauty which draws us again and again into the mountains. It adds to the adventure of our ascents and, indeed, provides the ultimate challenge for many climbers. Mountaineers know, better than anybody, the real essence of ice, its chill and wet, its cold beauty, its slippery self.

Glacier Ice is a book which can expand the mountaineer’s gut feeling for ice and tune his senses to many fascinating features in the world of ice, which he might not otherwise notice. Although this book is written by two scientists, studying it is no dreary experience, certainly not a chore. The jacket reaches out and grabs you. Inside, one finds a remarkable series of photos. The photos go considerably beyond a mere collection of beautiful mountain photographs. Each has been chosen to illustrate a definite feature of glaciation. The sequence is organized to give a logical overview of a wide range of phenomena and their relationships. The visual content of the photos is brought into sharp focus by a brief and informative text. Certain points of interpretation given in the text may be disputed by some, but overall the text is solidly based on the current scientific knowledge of natural ice. Together, the picture and word convey an impressive amount of information in an attractive format. With this book, climbers can lighten their lives in the city and benefit from a heightened awareness when they return again to the mountains.

CHARLES RAYMOND