Monday, April 20, 2009

Alpine America--Don Mellor and Olaf Soot (book review)

Coffee table books are so much fun to look through, but often they have a lot of pretty pictures without a lot of substance. Alpine Americas definitely has its share of pretty pictures--photographer Olaf Soot captures enough gorgeous vistas throughout the book to make a dozen calendars. But the essays that make up the balance of the book offer perspective on the widely varied cultures and regions that are connected on a deep, geological level.

The mountain range spans the length of the globe, from the Arctic, down through North and South America, to Antarctica. Mellor and Soot start with Arctic peaks and skies, and an article about the phenomenon of mountain climbing as a hobby. Moving further south, these upper elevations become populated, and both photos and essays move into the realm of local culture and how it interacts with environment.

Olaf Soot is a multi-faceted fellow. As well as being a photographer, he's the engineer behind one of the Cirque du Soleil shows and several theme park attractions. Don Mellor is a mountain climbing guide, chiefly in the Adirondacks, and has written practical climbing guides in addition to another collaboration with Soot, Adirondacks Alive.

For more information about Alpine Americas check out your local bookstore or the book's website.


  1. If the cover is any indication, that book is gorgeous.

  2. You're absolutely right, Kathy--the photos are spectacular.