A generous collection of excerpts from mountaineers' records reflecting a range of attitudes; situation rather than writing provides the thrust. The glossary supplies definitions of the most frequent technical terms; a greater obstacle is the large number of selections, mostly in the Alps. Anyone can appreciate John Ormsby's playful piece on fleas in an ""Alpine Lodging"" or Elizabeth Knowlton's social examination while ""Waiting at Camp IV"" for the weather to change. Successful fasts, success mixed with tragedy, the value of an ax--after a while, the suspenseful moments diminish in intensity, making the few lighter offerings, such as Tilman's musings on the Abominable Snowman, that much more welcome. Too many sound-alikes for the general reader; enthusiasts may be more receptive.