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.