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The High Mountains of the Alps,
Volume I: The 4,000-meter Peaks

by Helmut Dumler and Willi P. Burkhart

The Mountaineers, Seattle, Washington; I989. Hardcover; 224 pages, 250 color photos;


“Yes, £30 to get your hands on this one. Volume 1 is sixty one 4000 metre Alpine peaks, all in glorious, sumptuous, lavish full colour. Large format colour transparencies have ensured quality on the page, the reproduction is superb. The original material has been supplemented by anecdotal and historical references from journals and books. Willi Burkhardt's splendid photos of the Alpine peaks and faces are complemented by over 150 action photos depicting key sections of the routes described. These are not the hardest routes in the Alps, nor necessarily the most popular; the book describes routes up the 4000m peaks, giving preference to the great pioneering routes of each peak. It's not cheap, and it isn't meant to be a guidebook, but it will give you the inspiration to get out there and make the next move.”
“On The Edge” 1993, December, No. 39, p. 77

“This 12- by 11 -inch coffee-table book seeks to document all the highest mountains of the Alps, both pictorially, historically and statistically. It does a good job at all three tasks. Swiss-born Willi Paul Burkhardt has provided excellent large-format photographs of each mountain, taken either in the air or from the summit of a nearby peak. Supporting photographs were taken by a host of prolific British alpinists, and they help show the nature of the easier mountain routes.
Each picture highlights the uniqueness of its subject: One illustration of the Bosses Ridge on Mont Blanc shows its typical crowds, while another of the Schreckhorn pictures beautiful rock-climbing without another soul around. Each group of mountains — the Bernese Alps, the Pennine Alps and Monte Rosa Group and the Mont Blanc Range — is dealt with in turn.”
Adrian Burgess, “Rock & Ice”, 1994, January/February, No. 65, p. 130

“As a beautiful object to own, the book is well worth its £30, but its real value lies in the inspiration it will give to anyone with even a passing interest in the European Alps. For those of us who have been going there for years, the book will stir memories and provide inspiration for future plans; for the mountaineer who has not yet visited the Alps this is a wonderful introduction to the place where it all began.”
Andrew John Kauffman, “American Alpine Journal” 1995, p. 351-353

“The photographs alone guarantee the book's value. By this reviewer's count there are 275 in color and three in black-and-white. All of these are of the highest professional quality, taken under ideal conditions. This, of course, is a bit misleading, as those of us familiar with both Alaska and the Alps; for our memories also evoke pictures of torrential rain and blinding snowstorms.
However, the photos are the icing on the cake. The text is, if anything, more meritorious than the pictures. It is extremely well written and crammed with valuable information as well as frequent anecdotes and historical references. Contemporary observations, notably about modern ski-mountaineering, are found side by side with geographical notes and well-researched history. Sooner or later, of course, attention is focused on the Golden Age, that half century between about 1860 and 1910 when the last of the as yet unclimbed 4000ers were finally ascended. Apprehensive people began to wonder whether the ascent of the final great summits might not spell an end to mountaineering. "Where do we go from here?" they asked. How wrong they were; for as the old traditions died, new ones began to replace them.”
Andrew John Kauffman, “American Alpine Journal” 1995, p. 351-353

“I tried to read the book from cover to cover but failed miserably. It is not really designed to be read in this manner. Inevitably you flick through the book curious to see what is said and shown about mountains you have climbed on or dreamed about and before you know it you find yourself hypnotised by some particularly striking image and are reading the text to find out what it is. It is beautifully designed to do exactly this, draw you in and transfix you like a rabbit in the beam of a headlight. If you want to learn some specific facts about a certain peak you will have to show a great deal of disciplined self-control not to be led astray and find yourself avidly studying a peak whose name you had never heard of before. It might take you three times as long to learn what you were after but the delight of the digressions will be worth the wasted time.
This is a truly magnificent book, the best of its type that I have seen. A glorious illustration of the Alpine odyssey, an affirmation of all that is beautiful and passionate and life enhancing in the mountains. It is a guidebook, a history, and a stupendous photographic study of the Alps.”
Joe Simpson, „High” 1994, January, No. 134, p. 86-88


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