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Climbing and Hiking in the Wind River Mountains

Climbing and Hiking in the Wind River Mountains. Joe Kelsey. Sierra Club, San Francisco, 1980. 400 pages, illustrations, diagrams, maps, bibliography. $8.95.

Joe Kelsey, the author of this book, is perhaps better known as a humorist and the talented and irreverent editor of the late, much-lamented Vulgarian Digest. He appears to us now in a serious work, an excellently done and much needed guide to the Wind River Mountains which is thorough and up-to-date and clearly the result of many years of study and research. The book includes hiking and trail as well as climbing information—from the simplest scrambles to the hardest technical routes. The absence of photographs has drawn some wishful comments from climbers I’ve met; but, thanks to the fine line drawings by Jan Olsen, the book stands up well without them.

Kelsey has come up with a new wrinkle on how to present first-ascent information—in the back of the book, together with a bibliographical reference list. This arrangement is an improvement over the common practice of including first ascent data along with the route descriptions.

Finally, the book is made to be tough. At the end of a summer’s heavy use, my copy held up impressively—quite a plus in these days of so many poorly-constructed books.

Richard DuMais