Por los Andes del Ecuador. Jorge Anhalzer and Ramiro Navarrete. Ediciones Campo Abierto, Quito, 1983. 172 pages, 120 color photographs, 8 black and white drawings. Approximately $35.00.
Despite a mere twenty-five ice peaks in its realm, Ecuador has received wide coverage in books and journals. The reasons for this are clearly the beauty of the high country, its historical interest (Humboldt, Bolivar and Whymper) and its easy access. It is no surprise, then, that three new books have been added to the already extensive literature.
Of the first two, Rachowiecki’s has the more complete text: a well-organized work covering general information on Ecuador and basic hints for tourists and hikers, followed by a regional breakdown: central valley, western and eastern ranges, and the western and eastern lowlands and jungles. It also contains appendices on heights and on useful Spanish terms. The illustrations—all drawn from Whymper’s classic—are scanty, however. Each major mountain group is covered in a sketch map with up-to-date information on roads and huts.
Cruz’s The Snow Mountains of Ecuador is in German and covers the high country only. It is also arranged by ranges: western and eastern cordilleras, the inter-Andean area (Rachowiecki’s “central valley”) and the eastern sub-Andean region (with volcanoes Reventador and Sumaco). Photographs are both plentiful and excellent, most of them taken by Cruz himself, an Ecuadorian tourism expert and professional mountain guide. To complement the sketch maps, he added good line drawings of most peaks and routes.
Both guidebooks will meet the needs of visitors to the Ecuadorian mountains, but it must be kept in mind that while Rachowiecki’s is better designed for the traveler and hiker, Cruz’s is more suited to the trekker and the expeditionary climber.
The authors of the third book, Anhalzer and Navarrete, are both expert Ecuadorian climbers whose combined experience includes ascents in Asia, Alaska and Europe as well as in some other Andean countries. Theirs is mainly a pictorial work, concentrating on the peaks of Cayambe, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Altar and Sangay, but covering along the way many other mountains. The book is a large one, quarto size, printed in Spanish, English and German, with nearly all of its fine photos in color. The shots of Cotopaxi and the Altar massif are particularly attractive for their topographical detail. There are also several photos of very respectable unclimbed walls.
Although two of these books are guidebooks and the third is largely pictorial, they complement one another in the information they provide on Ecuador and its mountains.