Le Ande by Mario Fantin. Milano: Club Alpino Italiano, 1979. 142 pages of Italian text, 69 black-and-white photographs, 53 maps.
Les Andes du Pérou, au coeur de la Cordillère Blanche by Nicolas Jaeger, Paris: Denoël, 1979. 172 pages in French, numerous photographs about half in color, 12 pages of maps and sketches.
Two handsome books on the Andes appeared in 1979. Though neither is in English, the illustrations are enough to interest a climber who knows no Italian or French.
Mario Fantin is Italy’s mountain expert. He knows the Andes well from first hand. He covers the mountains from end to end in Le Ande. The first third of the book deals with the geography of the whole chain, its people, fauna, individual ranges and pre-columbian ascents. In the second third first ascents are listed range by range, after a short history of the region’s exploration. This is followed by a short description of notable Italian ascents. The reviewer noted only a few minor errors, including the omission of his name from one first ascent. There is, however, the troublesome business of giving Italian names to some of the peaks which should be called by their native names. The last third includes a large selection of excellent photographs which are well reproduced and 53 useful maps showing primarily summits and ridges. This is a valuable and handsome book.
Despite its title, Les Andes du Pérou is restricted to the Cordillera Blanca. The first section of the volume talks about the geology, climate, people, fauna, flora and history of the region. The reviewer has again noted minor errors but these are remarkably few. However, someone not familiar with the climbing history of the region might, on reading the book, think that it had all been made by the French. The second half of the book is devoted to the remarkable 1977 and 1978 expeditions led by the author. He describes the climbs made by him and his companions and his daring solo ascents. The black-and-white photographs are muddy, out of focus, and badly reproduced but the color photos are for the most part breath-taking.
H. Adams Carter