In response to:
Excelsior! from the July 30, 1964 issue
To the Editors:
In his insulting review of Sayre’s Four Against Everest, Mr. Alvarez implies that there is only one justifiable approach to mountaineering: that of “modern climbing” designed to bring success on very difficult rock faces or on complex expeditions. He then proceeds to judge Mr. Sayre by this standard without even mentioning that Mr. Sayre explicitly rejects it.
Actually Mr. Sayre’s whole book is a thesis in defense of a very different approach. He climbs for adventure, not for success, and his idea of an expedition is “a band of good friends out to see what they can do on a mountain and to enjoy themselves as much as possible in the process.”
If Mr. Alvarez disagrees, he should answer Mr. Sayre’s arguments. Or he can write his own book. But as a reviewer he must render his author the courtesy of meeting him on his own ground.
September 24, 1964