Salt to Summit: A Vagabond Journey from Death Valley to Mount Whitneyby Daniel Arnold
Badwater Basin sits 282
From the depths of Death Valley, Daniel Arnold set out to reach Mount Whitney in a way no road or trail could take him. Anything manmade or designed to make travel easy was out. With a backpack full of empty two-liter bottles, and the remotest corners of desert before him, he began his toughest test yet of physical and mental endurance.
Badwater Basin sits 282 feet below sea level in Death Valley, the lowest and hottest place in the Western Hemisphere. Mount Whitney rises 14,505 feet above sea level, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Arnold spent seventeen days traveling a roundabout route from one to the other, traversing salt flats, scaling dunes, and sinking into slot canyons. Aside from bighorn sheep and a phantom mountain lion, his only companions were ghosts of the dreamers and misfits who first dared into this unknown territory. He walked in the footsteps of William Manly, who rescued the last of the forty-niners from the bottom of Death Valley; tracked John LeMoigne, a prospector who died in the sand with his burros; and relived the tales of Mary Austin, who learned the secret trails of the Shoshone Indians. This is their story too, as much as it is a history of salt and water and of the places they collide and disappear.
Guiding the reader up treacherous climbs and through burning sands, Arnold captures the dramatic landscapes as only he can with photographs to bring it all to life. From the salt to the summit, this is an epic journey across America's most legendary desert.
Praise for Early Days in the Range of Light
“Ever wish you could travel back to climbing’s early days and follow the earliest first-ascent visionaries? This fantasy comes to life . . . In this elegant narrative.” Climbing Magazine
“A spirited journey . . . This well-written memoir and travelogue should find a welcome home in many climbing collections.” Kirkus
“With great originality and insight . . . This is a splendid chronicle of early climbing in the Sierra Nevada.” Royal Robbins
- Counterpoint Press
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- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
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- 3 MB
Meet the Author
Daniel Arnold is the author of Early Days in the Range of Light, and his work has appeared in Rock and Ice, The Mountain Gazette, and elsewhere. He lives in Sonora, California, with his wife and son.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Don't use it as a trail guide! Aronlds "trails" are not for everyone (anyone else?) - but it IS a fun adventure read. It might help to have some knowledge of the land but if not, imagine yourself as the author trying to transcend the region. If you do know something of the Eastern Sierra you understand the hardship faced here. The land is beyond unforgiving. Everything is at an extreme from elevations to depth of sand to right angle cuts of rock to climate changes. The idea of trying yourself against such a place must come with the knowledge that it isn't going to suffer fools lightly. Arnold conveys this. It's a good adventure read, for those who have been in some of these places, it's a harrowing return.