Notes from My Climbing Diary

The pages linked to below represent a collection of notes and recollections from my days of climbing. These climbs pre-date digital cameras; I had a number of slides scanned professionally but scanned most myself. See below for technical details.

In preparing these accounts I am struck by how much I have forgotten, how few pictures were taken and how beautiful the Cascades are.

After taking up my academic career, I found that climbing is not like riding a bicycle: one cannot return to climbing at a high standard after a long absence and climb safely. Furthermore, I lost contact with people I had climbed with and trusted; finding and developing trust in new partners would have required more effort than I could spare from my career. Now I get my thrills by reading about climbing.

Completed Accounts:

Tragedy on Mount Baker

Mount Rainier: Nisqually Ice Fall

Mount Rainier: Kautz Glacier

Mount Rainier: Fuhrer Finger

Mount Rainier: Liberty Ridge

Mount Rainier: Ptarmigan Ridge
(Bruce Carson Memoriam)

Mount Rainier: Winter Attempts

Mount Goode: Northwest Ridge

Mount Stuart: North Ridge

North Cascades: Ptarmigan Traverse

Mount Index: Index Traverse

Mount Hood: Cooper Spur

Mount Shuksan: The Hourglass

Torment/Forbidden Traverse

Enchantment Lakes

Monkey Face

Mixup Peak

Mount Rainier: Emmons Glacier

Merchant Peak
(My Closest Call)

Random Stories
(How Many Pull-ups?)
(The Difference Between Stupid and Crazy)
(I Meet Jim Whittaker)
(Ice Climbing "Ringer”)

Kilimanjaro: Machame Route

Still in Preparation:

The Six Majors

Mount Olympus

Mount Shasta

Some Notes About the Pictures

My collection is a mixture of pictures taken by me and the people I climbed with. Almost all of us took slides (positives) rather than negatives since we could then project them up to large sizes for group viewing. It was common for us to get together periodically to show each other the slides we had taken and make lists of the copies we would like from each other. Most of the pictures that include me were taken by someone else. On rare occasions I did hand someone my camera and have them take a picture of me, but we generally relied on our swapping sessions to get pictures of ourselves.

Most of the pictures I took used a Canon FT QL body with a small zoom lens and a large zoom lens. I don't recall the ranges of the lenses, other that one of them included 50mm and the other went up to 200mm. I sometimes used a 2x tele-converter to increase the magnification of telephoto shots. Very little was automatic on this camera; focus and F-stop were done manually, but one could let the camera set the exposure time.

Most of the people I climbed with preferred 35mm Kodachrome film with an ASA of 25 because the light in the mountains is usually intense. However, I used the more sensitive ASA 64 film because many of the climbs started at very early hours when the light was poor. Besides, I could always increase the F-stop of the lens to limit the light, and the larger the F-stop, the better the depth of field, which allowed me to take pictures with people in the foreground and scenery in the background with both in reasonable focus.

A 35mm slide is approximately 1.375 inches by 0.9 inches. When scanned and digitized at high resolution, the result is an approximately 3,600 by 2,400 pixel (8.5 mega-pixel) JPEG picture stored in an 8MB file. Since most people's computer monitors are about 1,200 by 800 pixels, I create smaller copies of the pictures for the web pages so they fit on the screen and use less storage space.