Na Vrh Sveta, by Aleš Kunaver, Ante Mahkota, Jože Andlovic, Matija Maležic, Danilo Cedilnik and Tone Skarja. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, 1979. Published in both Slovene and Croatian. 254 pages with 184 photographs in color, 124 in black-and-white and 9 route sketches. Price: 640 Yugoslavian dinars.
Although most readers of the American Alpine Journal will not be able to read the text of Na Vrh Sveta (“To the Top of the World”), I still highly recommend this lovely book. Its photographs are some of the most breath-taking and beautiful imaginable.
The book covers two decades of Yugoslavian climbing in the Himalaya. Their first expedition in 1960 approached Trisul from the south and failed to climb the main peak but did ascend Trisul II and III. In 1976 they ascended the Nandakini and made a splendid and difficult new route on the western side of Trisul. In 1965 an expedition pioneered a route on 25,925-foot Kangbachen to about 1000 feet from the summit. Although Poles followed their route in the spring of 1974 and completed the first ascent, in the autumn of that year ten Yugoslavs reached the top and also made the first ascents of difficult Wedge Peak and two others. In 1969 they climbed Annapurna II and IV. In 1972 they pioneered a remarkably difficult route, the south face of Makalu, but bad weather and exhaustion prevented their climbing the final 1500 feet. An Austrian and an international expedition attempted their route but did not get even as high as they had. In the fall of 1975 the Yugoslavs returned and completed the route. The final section of the book deals with their outstanding achievement, the ascent of the complete West Ridge of Everest.
The section on each mountain is introduced by a brief history of the climbing on the peak with some fascinating photos from all epochs, a detailed description of the Yugoslav expeditions with excellent sketches of the routes and finally a collection of superb color photographs.
For the reader who does not read Slovene or Croatian, the photographs are reason enough to buy the book. They are of real artistic merit and are beautifully reproduced. There are excellent pictures of the approaches, of the people of the region, of the peaks and of climbing action.
H. Adams Carter