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The Last Amateur

admin @ May 25, 2010 # 4 Comments

In 1989 I spent a day at Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, Colorado, climbing (or trying to climb) a famous set of short, difficult routes on gorgeous sandstone. One problem in particular drew me: An overhanging face, perhaps seventeen or eighteen feet tall known as Left Eliminator. The route wasn’t impossibly hard, but the crux […]

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Yosemite’s First

admin @ April 29, 2010 # No Comment Yet

pictorial representation may be this one, sketched by Thomas Ayres in 1855. The version you see here is a scan of the original, part of The Robert B. Honeyman Collection at The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The image shows Yosemite Valley as European Americans experienced it in the 1850s: open and […]

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In 1552 . . .

admin @ January 31, 2010 # No Comment Yet

Pieter Brueghel crossed the Alps into Italy. The Flemish artist was already known for his sympathetic images of rural life, and after his return to the Netherlands, he became one of the first painters to attend carefully to landscapes, drawing upon experience rather than idealized scenes from Biblical tradition. In 1567 he finished this interpretation […]

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In The Beginning . . .

admin @ January 31, 2010 # No Comment Yet

or at least the late Middle Ages, the highest peak in the Alps was known as Mont Maudit, the Cursed Mountain. Yet by the time of its first acent in 1787, it had become Mont Blanc, the White Mountain. Historians of the Alps have long argued that the change involved more than a name. Although […]

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The Idea of Alpine History

admin @ January 26, 2010 # 4 Comments

I’ve been a professional historian since 1995, but I’ve been a climber for much longer.  This blog is meant to bring those two worlds together.   It will use the history of mountaineering as a way of thinking about the bigger histories of mountain places and people. At the moment, mountaineering history breaks into two distinct […]

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