Ecuador: Tierras Atlas.Jorge Anhalzer. Imprenta Mariscal, Quito, 1987. 154 pages, 120 color photographs, 1 sketchmap. Hardbound.
Frontera Superior de Colombia.José F. Machado et al. Banco de Occidente, Bogotá, 1987. 183 pages, 146 color photographs, 15 line drawings and sketch-maps, 5 maps. Hardbound.
The Andes: Natural Beauty of Chile. Gastón Oyarzún. Editorial Kactus, Santiago, 1988. 88 pages, 73 color photographs. Softbound.
A Chilean, an Ecuadorian and a team of Colombians directed by José F. Machado have almost simultaneously produced a color portraiture of the high mountains of their respective countries. The Chilean work is the English version of an earlier Spanish edition. All three books have a common layout. Each one alternates pictures of stark rock and ice peaks and local climbers in action, with vignettes depicting sunsets, flowers and animal life. All three also offer brief data of important mountains and of main, historical ascents. All three books, too, display here and there impressive photos of unclimbed walls, mostly rock. And all persons participating in the preparation of these books can be identified as the best climbers in their respective countries. There are also some differences among these works, differences that respond to the characteristics of the mountain scenery and of the mountain sports pertaining to each of the countries involved. The Ecuadorian volume places an emphasis on lesser peaks, particularly the very little known ones of southern and eastern Ecuador. The Chilean work, as to be expected, also describes skiing, skiers, winter mountaineering and mountain tourism. The text in Oyarzún’s album is clear and to the point; it intends to supply information. And the Colombian book, the most ambitious of all three, puts a greater emphasis on the portrayal of mountain people. Anhalzer and the Colombians attempt to explain, by means of text and picture and with much feeling, the meaning of scenery for both the local highlanders and for mountaineers.
Of the seven Andean countries, only Bolivia and, partially, Argentina, have not seen their high mountain world portrayed in an album type of book like these. Ecuador has so far been the most favored, with no less than four such books published in the last few years. Every one of the three books listed above contains a challenge and an invitation for mountain adventures abroad.