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Item #: OP971-172
THE AVALANCHE ENIGMA Colin Fraser 1966 1st ed Hardcover DJ Fine
By Fraser, Colin
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Detailed Product Description

London, John Murray, 1966, 1st edition. 301 pp, 41 b/w photographs and 14 drawings included. Bright green cloth hardcover with dust jacket. Fine. 

Classic of avalanche study. The author is an Englishman who has worked in Alpine rescue teams. He describes avalanches and explains how the processes in the snow create them. Based on the work of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research. The best English language book on the subject. 

His book is far ranging and covers the usual information on snow and avalanche formation, mitigation and rescue, but the most effort is placed on telling great stories. Fraser excavated many interesting historical avalanche anecdotes and incidents as far back as Strabo (36 B.C.). These accounts include the identification of the pass that Hannibal crossed, triggering perhaps the most dramatic avalanche in history.
 
He also discusses witchcraft as a supposed source of avalanches in European tradition, and the nuts and bolts operation of the Parsenndienst, among other things. You really get a sense of how integral avalanches are to the culture of European mountain communities. This is an interesting contrast to the US perspective where avalanches are still an utter unknown to most people, including many who now live in avalanche paths.

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