Climber’s Par­adise: Mak­ing Canada’s Moun­tain Parks, 1906–1974

By Pear­lAnn Re­ich­wein, Uni­ver­sity of Al­berta Press

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This fas­ci­nat­ing, well-re­searched and en­gag­ingly-writ­ten book is one of the few at­tempts to put climb­ing in a broader cul­tural con­text. We’re al l used to read­ing climb­ing epics, jour nals, guide­books and in­str uc­tional man­u­als and com­ing up with a r ich pic­ture of moun­taineer­ing. Us­ing the case of the Alpine Club of Canada’s role in the found­ing of the west­ern Canadian park sys­tem, Re­ich­wein shows that moun­taineer­ing and not just moun­tain ap­pre­ci­a­tion led to the for ma­tion of Parks and contr ibuted to a na­tional view of na­ture and ecolog y. There’s a lot of en­ter tain­ing de­tail here (when the Alpine Club vol­un­teered to train Canadian moun­tain troops, mem­bers had to use their own equip­ment) and some intr igu­ing com­men­tar y about how so­cial change al­tered the Rock­ies. It would have been in­ter­est­ing, how­ever, to hear Re­ich­wein dis­cuss how Parks Canada came to be de­cided ly anti-climb­ing east of the Rock­ies. In any case, this is a highly in­for ma­tive, en­ter­tain­ing and at­trac­tive vol­ume rec­om­mended for any­one who wants more in­sight into the his­tor y of Canadian climb­ing.–

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