Early Days in the Range of Light: Encounters with Legendary Mountaineers

Early Days in the Range of Light: Encounters with Legendary Mountaineers

by Daniel Arnold
     
 

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It's 1873. Modern climbing gear and Gore-Tex shells are a century away, but the high mountains still demand your attention. Imagine the stone in your hands and thousands of feet of open air below you, with only a wool jacket to weather a storm and no rope to catch a fall.

Daniel Arnold did more than imagine—he spent four years retracing the precarious steps

Overview

It's 1873. Modern climbing gear and Gore-Tex shells are a century away, but the high mountains still demand your attention. Imagine the stone in your hands and thousands of feet of open air below you, with only a wool jacket to weather a storm and no rope to catch a fall.

Daniel Arnold did more than imagine—he spent four years retracing the precarious steps of his climbing forefathers and lived to tell their tales here. From 1864 to 1931, the Sierra Nevada witnessed some of the most audacious climbing of all time. In the spirit of his predecessors, Arnold carried only rudimentary equipment—no ropes, no harness, no specialized climbing shoes.

In an artful blend of history, biography, nature, and adventure writing, Arnold brings to life both the journeys and the stunning terrain. In the process he uncovers the motivations that drove an extraordinary group of individuals to risk so much for the summits of our most fabled landscapes.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A spirited journey in the footsteps-or footholds-of the mountaineers who first explored the Sierra Nevada. An experienced climber in the mountains of California, Arnold decided to trace his literary and alpinistic ancestry by examining "high and visually striking" mountains that inspired other adventurers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, profiling the men who undertook them in the process. Over several years, he divided his time between library and mountain wall. In order to recapture his ancestors' spirits, he "had to climb the way they did," which meant leaving behind safety ropes, carabineers and other "modern climbing paraphernalia." His first stop was Mount Brewer, high in the Sierra, whose namesake had been climbing the range since 1860 from the Mexican border to Mount Shasta, but who had not visited the central, toughest wilderness of peaks behind Yosemite, "a dense parade of mountains, sharp summits, and narrow spires," until 1864. A weird pyramid of broken boulders awaited him and his party, a mountain that captivated Brewer, who "had seen nothing so large and lonely in America, nor so desolate." Similar experiences awaited Clarence King, John Muir, Norman Clyde and other legendary climbers, who exploits introduced lowlanders to such things as Kings Canyon and Mount Whitney. Arnold had plenty of exploits of his own, as when, on Mount Clarence King high in the middle Sierra, he stepped on a loose plate of rock and watched as it caromed down 500 feet, striking a cliff several times before exploding, "filling the air with thunder and a smell like shot gunpowder." Yet, as he recounts, only five minutes later the mountains are quiet again, having absorbed the event and regainingtheir eternal composure. This well-written combination of history, memoir and travelogue should find a welcome home in many climbing collections.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582436166
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
01/01/2011
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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