Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project Home

Bob and Ira Spring - High Worlds of the Mountain Climber
Photos by Bob and Ira Spring. Text by Harvey Manning. This book contains a lot of history, in a style that conveys the flavor of the times more than the details of names and dates. There are many fine mountaineering photos by the Springs, including pictures of Northwest climbers who later gained reknown, such as Fred Beckey, Don Claunch, Pete Schoening, Bill Unsoeld, Jim and Lou Whittaker. The book has much broader geographic coverage than High Adventure (spring-1951), with many more photos of technical mountaineering. It appears that the Springs covered a lot of ground during the eight years between these books.

Chapter 1 - Blueberry pickers and dirty miners

A brief history of explorations by Indians, miners and others in the Northwest mountains.

Chapter 2 - Of alpenstocks and helicopters

The story of early mountaineering on Rainier, in the Olympics, and around Snoqualmie Pass. The chapter describes the influence of the Mountaineers Climbing Course, started in 1935 by Wolf Bauer. Within a few years, before World War II, all the major summits of the Cascades and Olympics had been climbed. Finally the chapter notes the wilderness character of Northwest mountains and considers whether in the future, without some sort of protection, they may be overrun by tourists in aircraft.

p. 42: Photo of Bill Fairchild taking off in a ski-plane from the Blue Glacier on Mt Olympus in summer, during the International Geophysical Year.

p. 43: Photo of Mountain Rescue Council evaculating an injured climber from an avalanche on Snoqualmie Peak.

p. 44a: "A mountaineer who has staggered under a heavy pack through blowdowns, torrents, cliffs and glacier to a camp in a remote alpine meadow, and there been buzzed by some joyrider of the open sky, will declare with feeling that when man gained freedom of the air he lost his last chance of privacy."

p. 44b: In 1953 a helicopter pilot landed on Source Lake and carried out the lone survivor of a skiing party buried overnight in an avalanche.

Chapter 3 - Hot granite and cold glaciers

This chapter is a survey of western mountain ranges from the point of view of a Northwest climber. The chapter contains basic history of each area. Included are the Sierra Nevada, Tetons, U.S. and Canadian Rockies, Bugaboos, and Coast Mountains of British Columbia and Alaska.

Chapter 4 - The cannibal mountains

The story of the Olympic Mountains, including the O'Neill and Press Expeditions and the travels of Shaw, Dodwell and Rixon. The 1907 Mountaineers first ascent of Olympus and the Belmore Brown rivalry are also covered. The later ascents of Constance and Cruiser are described briefly.

p. 81: On this page and p. 84 are photos taken high on Mt Olympus in icy winter conditions, presumedly during the International Geophysical Year, when scientists were stationed on the Blue Glacier throughout the year.

Chapter 5 - The north wall of Rainier

This chapter tells the story of the first ascents of Rainier's three classic north ridges: Ptarmigan Ridge by Bauer and Hossack in 1935, Liberty Ridge by Daiber, Borrow and Campbell that same year, and Curtis Ridge by Gene Prater and fellow Sherpa Climbing Club members in 1957. The chapter includes many photos of climbing on Rainier, but none on the actual routes being described.

p. 89: This chapter says that Rainier National Park was created in 1908 and the road opened to Paradise two years later.

Chapter 6 - The wilderness Cascades

This chapter includes stories of the Cascades north of Stevens Pass. It describes the early ventures of Coleman and Morovitz on Mt Baker and mentions the Mt Baker marathon. The Degenhardt-Strandberg explorations into the southern Pickets in the early 1930s are described briefly.

p. 114: The avalanche on the Roman Wall of Mt Baker in the 1930s claimed six lives out of a party of 15. The book describes this as the worst climbing tragedy in U.S. history to that date.

p. 124: Most of this chapter deals with the Cascade crest between Cascade Pass and Glacier Peak, focusing on the Ptarmigan Traverse. The 1938 first traverse (by the Ptarmigans) and 1957 third traverse (by Russell Brockman, Coleman Leuthy, Marjorie and Ray McConnell, Peggy Stark and Ira Spring) are described in detail. The 1953 second traverse is described briefly. Many fine photos of the Ptarmigan Traverse region are shown. The 1957 traverse was made over two weeks in poor weather and utilized an airdrop of supplies on the Le Conte Glacier. The party extended the traverse south from Dome Peak along the Hanging Gardens to Totem Pass and Image Lake, finally exiting along the Suiattle.

Return to the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project home page

Copyright © 2002 Lowell Skoog. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated: Thu Feb 6 12:58:22 PST 2003