Chattel (Fitzroy). Carlos Capellas, editor. Servicio General de Información de Montaña, Barcelona, 1985. 46 pages, 13 black-and-white photographs 22 line drawings and sketch maps. Paper. Pesetas 300.
The Cordillera Real has slowly been drawing greater attention in the last six years and the appearance of this guidebook is timely. Its text is arranged as per groups of peaks: Part I, Illimani and Mururata; II, Huayna Potosí and Tiquimani; III, Chearoco, Chachacomani and Condoriri; and IV, Illampu and Ancohuma. Many subsidiary peaks are also surveyed in all four parts. Unfortunately, this guidebook exhibits extremes. It is very useful for its coverage of means of transportation, access, approaches and, above all, routes, illustrated with panoramics (including the many remarkable climbs of the author himself). But listings display many errors in names of peaks and climbers, heights and ascents. Mountaineers who intend to visit the Cordillera Real should certainly obtain this guidebook, but before leaving for Bolivia, information about the mountain peaks and areas desired should be rechecked carefully and, once in Bolivia, climbers should continue to research up-to-date information.
Bartle’s book was published to support conservation projects in the mountains of Peru. It can be said that it is a beautiful pictorial complement to his own well-known guidebook Trails of the Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash (reviewed by Leigh Ortenburger in AAJ 1984, pages 331-3). This album type of book offers a well balanced composition of mountains and mountain peoples, glaciers, lakes, flowers and sunsets. Peaks are well identified. Some pictures display great unclimbed walls. Both illustrations and text well betray the author’s devotion to Peru’s most imposing mountain land, where he has resided for the last six years.
The Servicio General de Información de Montaña some years back issued a first monograph, dealing with Aconcagua. Chaltel is the second, and forthcoming ones will treat the Hoggar, Paine and Huascarán. Each monograph is a compendium of what is so far known about a given mountain peak. Subjects covered are: history, routes, useful data, bibliography and maps, plus summaries in English, French and German. In spite of its title, this second monograph by the Servicio includes all the peaks of the group: Fitzroy itself, Poincenot, Guillaumet, St. Exupery, Mermoz and “Raphael” (unofficial name). Routes are described, analyzed and graded. Illustrations are both good and useful, while all information supplied, albeit laconic, is up to date (to December 1984 inclusive). All in all, this is a useful handbook for the Chaltel system of peaks.
Andean literature, meager in comparison to the literature of other great mountain ranges, continues nevertheless to grow and fortunately, instead of concentrating heavily on a single area (as Karakoram or China) it is more evenly distributed, as these three new publications on the Andes of Bolivia, Peru and Argentina will attest.