Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas and the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas. Located in the Andes Mountains of Argentina, near the city of Mendoza, Aconcagua has been luring European mountain climbers since 1883, when a German ge-ologist nearly reached the mountain’s summit. (A Swiss climber finally made the ascent in 1897.) In this fascinating book, Joy Logan explores the many impacts of mountaineering’s “discovery” of Aconcagua including its effect on how local indigenous history is understood. The consequences still resonate today, as the region has become a magnet for “adventure travelers,” with about 7,000 climbers and trekkers from all over the world visiting each year.
Having done fieldwork on Aconcagua for six years, Logan offers keen insights into how the invention of mountaineering in the nineteenth century—and adventure tourism a century later—have both shaped and been shaped by local and global cultural narratives. She examines the roles and functions of mountain guides, especially in regard to notions of gender and nation; re-reads the mountaineering stories forged by explorers, scientists, tourism officials, and the gear industry; and considers the distinctions between foreign and Argentine climbers (some of whom are celebrities in their own right).
In Logan’s revealing analysis, Aconcagua is emblematic of the tensions produced by modernity, nation-building, tourism development, and re-ethnification. The evolution of mountain climbing on Aconcagua registers seismic shifts in attitudes toward adventure, the national, and the global. With an eye for detail and a flair for description, Logan invites her readers onto the mountain and into the lives it supports.
In this unconventional memoir, Kevin Holdsworth vividly portrays life in remote, unpredictable country and ruminates on the guts - or foolishness - it takes to put down roots and raise a family in a merciless environment.
Growing up in Utah, Holdsworth couldn't wait to move away. Once ensconced on the East Coast, however, he found himself writing westerns and dreaming of the mountains he'd skied and climbed. Fed up with city life, he moved to a small Wyoming town.
In Big Wonderful, he writes of a mountaineering companion's death, the difficult birth of his son, and his father's terminal illness - encounters with mortality that sharpened his ideas about risk, care, and commitment. He puts a new spin on mountaineering literature, telling wild tales from his reunion with the mountains but also relating the surprising willpower it took to turn back from risks he would have taken before he became a father. He found he needed courage to protect and engage deeply with his family, his community, and the wild places he loves.
Holdsworth's essays and poems are rich with anecdotes, characters, and vivid images. Readers will feel as if they themselves watched a bear destroy an entire expedition's food, walked with his great-great-grandmother along the icy Mormon Trail, and tried to plant a garden in Wyoming's infamous wind.
Readers who love the outdoors will enjoy this funny and touching take on settling down and adventuring in the West's most isolated country.
Climber’s Guide to Devil’s Lake
Sven Olof Swartling University of Wisconsin Press, 2008 Library of Congress GV199.42.W62D488 2008 | Dewey Decimal 796.52230975576
Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin is the most popular rock-climbing area in the Midwest. It features spectacular cliffs and other rock formations where the Ice Age glacier's terminal moraine meets an ancient landscape of rock.
This third edition of the popular Climber’s Guide to Devil’s Lake has been thoroughly updated for twenty-first-century climbers and hikers and includes information for use with GPS receivers. It provides information for climbers of all abilities and preferences, offering precise directions to help them navigate and climb within the park.
•an updated introduction by George J. Pokorny and new photographs by Eric Andre
•a summary of the geologic and natural history of the Baraboo hills by Patricia K. Armstrong
•locations and updated descriptions of nearly 1,800 climbs
•landmark photographs from most major climbing areas
•GPS waypoints, map coordinates, altimeter readings, and approach information
•detailed diagrams locating climbing routes at most major climbing areas
•6 new diagrams, 5 new climbing areas, and 120 new routes
Contact collects new and classic first-person climbing stories from North America’s best-known climbers and writers. Mountain climbers are important but overlooked commentators on the environment, and this collection of alpine adventures demonstrates the relationship between climbers and nature both for a popular audience and for academics working in the field of environmental literature. Contributors include Gary Snyder, John Daniel, Chris McNamara, and Greg Child.
A misread map, a sudden storm, a forgotten headlamp—and suddenly a leisurely hike turns into a treacherous endeavor. In the past decade, inexpensive but sophisticated navigation devices and mobile phones have led to alarming levels of overconfidence on the trail. Adding to this worrisome trend, the increasing popularity of ventures into mountainous terrain has led hikers seeking solitude—or an adrenaline rush—into increasingly remote or risky forays. Sandy Stott, the “Accidents” editor at the journal of the Appalachian Mountain Club, delivers both a history and a celebration of the search and rescue workers who save countless lives in the White Mountains—along with a plea for us not to take their steadfastness and bravery for granted. Filled with tales of astonishing courage and sobering tragedy, Critical Hours will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and armchair adventurers alike.
In The Everest Effect Elizabeth Mazzolini traces a series of ideological shifts in the status of Mount Everest in Western culture over the past century to the present day and links these shifts to technologies used in climbs. By highlighting the intersections of technology and cultural ideologies at this site of environmental extremity, she shows both how nature is shaped—physically and symbolically—by cultural values and how extreme natural phenomena shape culture.
Nostalgia, myth, and legend are intrinsic features of the conversations that surround discussions of historic and contemporary climbs of Everest, and those conversations themselves reflect changing relations between nature, technology, and ideology. Each of the book’s chapters links a particular value with a particular technology to show how technology is implicated in Mount Everest’s cultural standing and commodification: authenticity is linked with supplemental oxygen; utility with portable foodstuffs; individuality with communication technology; extremity with visual technology; and ability with money. These technologies, Mazzolini argues, are persuasive—and increasingly so as they work more quickly and with more intimacy on our bodies and in our daily lives.
As Mazzolini argues, the ideologies that situate Mount Everest in Western culture today are not debased and descended from a more noble time; rather, the material of the mountain and its surroundings and the technologies deployed to encounter it all work more immediately with the bodies and minds of actual and “armchair” mountaineers than ever before. By moving the analysis of a natural site and phenomenon away from the traditional labor of production and toward the symbolic labor of affective attachment, The Everest Effect shows that the body and nature have helped constitute the capitalization that is usually characterized as taking over Everest.
Serendipity placed David Johnston on Mount St. Helens when the volcano rumbled to life in March 1980. Throughout that ominous spring, Johnston was part of a team that conducted scientific research that underpinned warnings about the mountain. Those warnings saved thousands of lives when the most devastating volcanic eruption in U.S. history blew apart Mount St. Helens, but killed Johnston on the ridge that now bears his name. Melanie Holmes tells the story of Johnston's journey from a nature-loving Boy Scout to a committed geologist. Blending science with personal detail, Holmes follows Johnston through encounters with Aleutian volcanoes, his work helping the Portuguese government assess the geothermal power of the Azores, and his dream job as a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Interviews and personal writings reveal what a friend called "the most unjaded person I ever met," an imperfect but kind, intelligent young scientist passionately in love with his life and work and determined to make a difference.
High In Utah
Michael Weibel University of Utah Press, 1999 Library of Congress GV199.42.U8W45 1999 | Dewey Decimal 917.920433
If you measured the highest point in each county, which of the fifty states would have the highest average elevation? You probably didn’t say Utah, but in fact the average elevation of the state’s county high points is approximately 11,222 feet (Colorado is second at 10,971 feet). Most but not all of Utah’s high peaks grow out of a series of mountain ranges that form a backbone from north to south through the middle of the state. Surprisingly, most can also be climbed in a day, and during the warm months climbing gear may be unnecessary. Some summits are even attainable by car.
High in Utah is quite consciously a book for peak baggers, complete with a checklist and elevations. Summits range from Kings Peak, Utah’s highest at 13,528’ to the unnamed peak in Rich County, a mere 9,255’. In addition to the county high points, this book also has four “classic” climbs: Mt. Olympus in Salt Lake County; Mt. Timpanogos above Provo; Notch Peak in the House Range west of Delta; and Wellsville Cone, Cache Valley’s western landmark.
Since finding a place to start can often be the most frustrating part of a hike, emphasis is placed on directions to each trailhead. There is a road map for each hike, as well as a trail map showing contours. The routes in this guide are not always the easiest or most practical, but they may be the most appealing and are often the most commonly used (lessening human impact on other potential routes). Difficulty levels range from 'extreme'—long, steep routes that may require some route finding—to 'too easy'—reachable by car. Two sets of hiking times are provided to accommodate variations in hiking speed, and there are also sections on flora and fauna, mountain weather, low-impact hiking and camping, equipment, and altitude sickness.
"Alaska is our biggest, buggiest, boggiest state. Texas remains our largest unfrozen state. But mountainous Utah, if ironed out flat, would take up more space on a map than either."
—Edward Abbey, 1927–1989
The thrills and chills of mountaineering literature have long attracted a devoted audience of serious climbers, adventure-seekers, and armchair enthusiasts. In recent decades, scholars have come to view these tales of prowess and fortitude as texts laden with ideological meaning. In Imperial Ascent, a comparative study of seven such twentieth-century mountaineering narratives, Peter L. Bayers articulates the multiple and varied ways mountaineering and its literature have played in the formation and maintenance of national identity. By examining such works as Belmore Browne's The Conquest of Mount McKinley and Sir John Hunt's The Ascent of Everest, Bayers contends that for American and British climbers, mountaineering is tied to imperial ideology and dominant notions of masculinity.
At the same time, he demonstrates how Tiger of the Snows,, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay's account of climbing Mount Everest, undermines Western conceptions of mountaineering and imperialism. Throughout this theoretically informed critique, Bayers manages to retain the sense of awe and adventure inherent in the original works, making Imperial Ascent a highly engaging read.
John Muir University of Utah Press, 1997 Library of Congress GV199.42.W39M84 1997 | Dewey Decimal 796.5220978
One of the world’s foremost writers of the mountaineering essay—his writings are finely wrought expressions of the transcendental joy he found in the mountains—John Muir also founded the Sierra Club in 1892 as a way of supporting his belief that Americans must preserve national parks throughout the country in order that future generations might be spiritually inspired. Characterized by an iron endurance and an insatiable curiosity, Muir vowed to spend his days studying God’s unwritten Bible—nature—or what he termed the "University of the Wilderness." Muir early on learned to keep a journal in the manner of Emerson, but he is also considered one of America’s pioneer glaciologists, an interest he gained while wandering in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Whether frozen in a subzero blizzard on Mount Shasta, seemingly doomed on the unforgiving slopes of Mount Ritter, or exhilarated by the ice-shapes viewed from the summit of Mount Rainier, Muir reveled in the mountain experience.
This volume contains eleven mountain essays that include both adventurous narrative, joyful exultation, and descriptions of natural features such as alpine soil beds, ancient glaciers and living glaciers, and mountain sculpture. In each, Muir maintains a careful and subtle balance between the physical aspects of ascending and the more symbolic observations of the sublimity of his surroundings. Mountains are for him a source of discovery that provide an affirmation of the human spirit.
In the mountains, the difference between a pleasant day of hiking and a life-threatening disaster is as simple as a loose rock, a turned ankle, or a misjudged patch of ice. In an instant, even the most experienced and prepared of outdoorspersons can find themselves at the mercy of the elements (and their own choices) — and suddenly, sometimes tragically, the situation slips out their control. In this collection of over fifty tales of day hikes and long treks gone awry, the seasoned climber and writer Carol Stone White brings together some of her favorite tales of outdoor misadventure written by colleagues and fellow enthusiasts who have experienced the harsher side of climbing the peaks of New England and the Adirondacks. From freak falls to outrunning storms, from life-threatening hypothermia to the excitement of unlikely rescues, these tales inform as much as they entertain, teaching even the experienced climber that accidents can happen to anyone and that preparation and the ability to make split-second decisions can often mean the difference between life and death. Like sitting around the campfire sharing tales of terror and near death with your hiking buddies, this collection will appeal to the true outdoorsperson as well as the armchair adventurer.
Few things suggest rugged individualism as powerfully as the solitary mountaineer testing his or her mettle in the rough country. Yet the long history of wilderness sport complicates this image. In this surprising story of the premier rock-climbing venue in the United States, Pilgrims of the Vertical offers insight into the nature of wilderness adventure.
From the founding era of mountain climbing in Victorian Europe to present-day climbing gyms, Pilgrims of the Vertical shows how ever-changing alignments of nature, technology, gender, sport, and consumer culture have shaped climbers’ relations to nature and to each other. Even in Yosemite Valley, a premier site for sporting and environmental culture since the 1800s, elite athletes cannot be entirely disentangled from the many men and women seeking recreation and camaraderie.
Following these climbers through time, Joseph Taylor uncovers lessons about the relationship of individuals to groups, sport to society, and nature to culture. He also shows how social and historical contexts influenced adventurers’ choices and experiences, and why some became leading environmental activists—including John Muir, David Brower, and Yvon Chouinard. In a world in which wild nature is increasingly associated with play, and virtuous play with environmental values, Pilgrims of the Vertical explains when and how these ideas developed, and why they became intimately linked to consumerism.
Tells the fascinating story of the Red’s climbing community through interviews with the people who lived that history and considers how sustainable ecotourism might contribute to the region economically.
Rock Climbing in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge documents, for the first time, fifty years of oral history from this famous climbing community. Through extensive interviews, Maples reconstructs the growth of rock climbing in the region—including a twice-failed dam project, mysterious first routes, unauthorized sport-route growth on public lands, and a controversial archaeological dig. The book details five decades of collaborations to secure ongoing access to some of the world’s most beautiful and technically demanding routes and the challenges along the way.
More than a recounting of the past, however, Rock Climbing in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge uses the region’s extraordinary history to argue that climbing has the potential to be a valuable source of sustainable economic activity in rural areas throughout Appalachia today and in the years to come. The book concludes by offering policy recommendations and lessons learned about building beneficial partnerships among climbers, local communities, and public land managers to encourage community development and ecotourism alongside preservation.
The history of mountaineering has long served as a metaphor for civilization triumphant. Once upon a time, the Alps were an inaccessible habitat of specters and dragons, until heroic men—pioneers of enlightenment—scaled their summits, classified their strata and flora, and banished the phantoms forever. A fascinating interdisciplinary study of the first ascents of the major Alpine peaks and Mount Everest, The Summits of Modern Man surveys the far-ranging significance of our encounters with the world’s most alluring and forbidding heights.
Our obsession with “who got to the top first” may have begun in 1786, the year Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard climbed Mont Blanc and inaugurated an era in which Romantic notions of the sublime spurred climbers’ aspirations. In the following decades, climbing lost its revolutionary cachet as it became associated instead with bourgeois outdoor leisure. Still, the mythic stories of mountaineers, threaded through with themes of imperialism, masculinity, and ascendant Western science and culture, seized the imagination of artists and historians well into the twentieth century, providing grist for stage shows, poetry, films, and landscape paintings.
Today, we live on the threshold of a hot planet, where melting glaciers and rising sea levels create ambivalence about the conquest of nature. Long after Hillary and Tenzing’s ascent of Everest, though, the image of modern man supreme on the mountaintop retains its currency. Peter Hansen’s exploration of these persistent images indicates how difficult it is to imagine our relationship with nature in terms other than domination.
David M. Rose University of Utah Press, 2004 Library of Congress GV199.42.U36R67 2004 | Dewey Decimal 796.5220979214
Most Utahns are familiar with the Uinta Mountains, but few realize that the range has twenty-one peaks above 13,000 feet, some of them still unnamed. The elevation, challenging terrain and weather, solitude, and beautiful setting in Utah’s largest wilderness area make climbing these peaks a particularly rewarding experience. Better yet, in the summer and early fall every one of them can be climbed by a reasonably fit hiker without rope or climbing gear.
This guide provides detailed topographical maps and information on trailheads, access and summit routes with difficulty ratings, camp locations, estimated hiking times, weather, advice, and brief facts about geology and the history of the wilderness area. It also includes over fifty photographs of this breathtaking country.
Offering a beguiling view of the history of walking, Wanderers guides us through the different ways of seeing—of being—articulated by ten pathfinding women writers.
“A wild portrayal of the passion and spirit of female walkers and the deep sense of ‘knowing’ that they found along the path.”—Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path
“I opened this book and instantly found that I was part of a conversation I didn't want to leave. A dazzling, inspirational history.”—Helen Mort, author of No Map Could Show Them
This is a book about ten women over the past three hundred years who have found walking essential to their sense of themselves, as people and as writers. Wanderers traces their footsteps, from eighteenth-century parson’s daughter Elizabeth Carter—who desired nothing more than to be taken for a vagabond in the wilds of southern England—to modern walker-writers such as Nan Shepherd and Cheryl Strayed. For each, walking was integral, whether it was rambling for miles across the Highlands, like Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt, or pacing novels into being, as Virginia Woolf did around Bloomsbury. Offering a beguiling view of the history of walking, Wanderers guides us through the different ways of seeing—of being—articulated by these ten pathfinding women.
Imbued with a sense of place, Pete Sinclair climbed mountains and rescued others trying the same. He thrived on the risky business of ascending sheer rock, of moving from one adrenaline-boosting moment to another. In this book he recounts his mountain-climbing and park ranger days from 1959 to 1970, a time some people call a golden era of climbing in America, a time when climbers knew one another and frequently gathered in Grand Teton National Park. There, Sinclair was the ranger in charge of mountain rescue, a job that, especially when it involved the North Face of Grand Teton, drew on all his young team’s climbing skills. Mixing adventure with personal reflection, Sinclair recounts expeditions taken with friends to scale mountains in Alaska, Mexico, and other parts of North America, as well as his work rescuing injured climbers in the Tetons. The book serves as a history of a past era in mountaineering as well as a meditation on what it all meant. Throughout the book, he challenges readers to consider their relationship with the western landscape. Originally published in 1993, We Aspired was a finalist for the Boardman-Tasker Award for Mountain Literature. The account of one famous rescue on the North Face of the Grand Teton is retold in The Grand Rescue, a film by independent Utah producer Jenny Wilson.