Die Grossen Kalten Berge von Szetschuan, by Eduard Imhof. 1974, Zürich: Orell Füssli Verlag. 227 pages, numerous photos, sketches, reproductions of water-colors by the author (in color), topographical and sketch maps.
This book is of particular interest to American climbers since it deals primarily with Minya Konka, the 24,890-foot peak in western China, the first ascent of which was made in 1932 by Americans. The Swiss Eduard Imhof and Arnold Heim in 1930 explored this region in Szechwan around Minya Konka. For years Imhof’s photos, drawings and maps lay unedited. Finally in 1974, he published Die Grossen Kalten Bergen von Szetschuan (The Great Cold Mountains of Szechwan). For those who do not read German, the large-format volume has beautifully reproduced photos, water-colors and sketches. The text gives a history of this still relatively unknown region, a detailed description of the Swiss expedition, accounts of the American first ascent and the Chinese second ascent in 1957. Interesting details are given of the Tibetan culture, which since has been forcibly changed. There are sections on meteorology, place names and especially cartography. There is a whole section of topographical maps. It is a fine addition to the coffee table, but it is much more. For the mountain historian, for the climber when this region is opened again to foreigners or for one interested in a fascinating, now probably dead, culture, this is a treasure.