THE BUTCHER by John Sack


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The account, previously written up in the Saturday Evening Post, of the excitingly dramatic expedition to climb Mt. Yerupaja in Peru's northern Andes, made by six Harvard students in the summer of 1950. The author went along as their reporter and general message man. He writes at length of the group's journey south and their time in Lima- objecting loudly and with the brittle humor of a cynic on a spree, to South American shortcomings such as delay, faulty sewage systems, Limanean inability to see why anyone wanted to climb mountains. But once the first peton is struck into ""The Butcher's"" foundations, Sack's story, though retaining its vivacity, gains hold of seriousness. David Harrah's and Jim Maxwell's final ascent- on a third and dangerously beclouded try from their precariously pitched High Camp is gripping as the climbers wind their tortuous way through crevasses and around cornices. Their near accidents and their real accident-the break of a ledge which cost the boys an overnight stay on Yerupaja and David Harrah the loss of his toes through frostbite- are terrible and suspense ridden and actually so described as to leave the reader in doubt as to whether or not they could have been prevented. It is a well rounded book- a layman's as well as a mountaineer's and one with a forthright appeal for the thrill of winning a peak. The author's sharp if acrid observations reveal a wealth of geographical and climbing detail.

Pub Date: July 24th, 1952
Publisher: Rinehart