American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

A Tourist Guide to Mount McKinley

  • Book Reviews
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  • Publication Year: 1973

A Tourist Guide to Mount McKinley, by Bradford Washburn. Anchorage (Northwest Publishing Co., Box 4-EEE, Anchorage, Alaska, 99503): 1971. Size 10? × 8¼, 80 pages, with 106 black and white or color photographs, mostly by Bradford Washburn, line drawings and map end papers. Price: $4.20 for softbound and $7.75 for hardbound copies.

The best topographic map of an American mountain is Bradford Washburn’s map of Mount McKinley and the best book on Mount McKinley National Park is this magazine-size picture book with text that reveals the unique qualities of our highest mountain and its environment. Although the book is primarily for the tourist visitor, it is full of information for the climber who is planning his first climb in the park. It is not a guidebook, but there are compact sections on topography, weather and early climbs. Tourists of course will be keenly interested by information on what to look for from the highway en route to Wonder Lake, such as grizzlies on the Toklat Flats at Mile 52.9 or beaver in the ponds at Mile 76.3. The superb pictures are culled from hundreds taken in the park during a period of over 30 years. The result is a gem of a book for tourist and climber alike.

Robert H. Bates

Climber’s Guide to the Olympic Mountains, Olympic Mountain Rescue. Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1972. 225 pp., 18 photographs, 17 sketches, 4 maps, $4.95.

With the publication of this attractive volume, the Olympic range is given its first treatment in a separate guidebook. Earlier editions of the Washington Cascades climbing guides had included sections on this smaller, but enchanting range. In an unusual departure from most guidebooks, this one is authored by a mountain rescue unit based near the Olympics. While one might wish occasionally for the stylistic verve of a Roper or the patient attention to route intimacies of a Beckey, the group-writing approach does not detract from the usefulness of what will be the standard Olympic guide for some years to come.

Aside from the detailed descriptions of virtually all the range’s many rock, snow and ice routes, the new Olympic guide also contains an introductory chapter on the range’s history, geology and type of climbing opportunities. Additional chapters are on high alpine traverses, ski and snowshoe tours and (expectedly) mountain safety. These are well done, as are Dee Molenaar’s excellent sketches, which continue to provide a welcome diversion from the use of frequently uninformative photographs depicting routes.

James Wickwire

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