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Expedición Navarra al Himalaya

Expedición Navarra al Himalaya 79, by Gregorio Ariz (in Spanish). Pamplona, Spain: Grafinasa, 1979. 104 pages, 146 color photos, 10 drawings and maps.

The seventh ascent of Dhaulagiri was accomplished in May 1979 by an expedition from northern Spain. This is a record of the achievement. The route followed was the northeast spur, which the government of Nepal reserved for the Navarrese. But the climbers had to struggle not only with the altitude and exceptionally low temperatures, but also with the French-Swiss Saudan expedition, which had abandoned the route assigned to it and intruded into the Spaniards’, not even hesitating to use the ropes fixed by the latter. But while a Sherpa and four Spaniards did reach the summit and descended safely, several French and Swiss perished under avalanches or suffered severe frostbite. The Navarrese had a good organization, plenty of previous expedition experience and good equipment, mostly made in Spain. Their book is one of the best I have seen describing any Himalayan expedition. It is basically a picture work, averaging almost three plates per page, all brilliantly reproduced. Almost unique merits are apparent in this book: a terse text very modestly records the Navarrese achievement, more than half of the pictures describe the people of Nepal and the road to the mountain and there is no nationalism. A number of appendices provide useful hints drawn from experience. In short, a book that sets an example as to how a Himalayan expedition could be described by means of plate and text.

Evelio Echevarria