When I was about to share my final list of the five boldest ascents in Alaskan climbing history on Monday, I realized that one climber that I thought would be included — Jack Tackle — wasn’t a part of the five I identified.
Shouldn’t the boldest routes in Alaska be done by some of the most renowned Alaskan climbers? Think about it. Would you accept my list if it didn’t have a Steve House, a Hudson Stuck, a Bradford Washburn, or a Mugs Stump in one if not all of the ascents?
I say all that to say that I hope to start on Monday, May 18. I plan to post at 3:00 eastern time and each day at the same time that week. It will be a count-down to the boldest ascent in Alaska. Thanks for bearing with me.
I was tempted to skip posting anything this week, but I know how much some of you like book recommendations. Here is a list of resources I have referred to during this project, some of which are books and publications you can access:
The Experts — By far, the input from people like Steve Gruhn, Jonathan Waterman, Mark Westman, Damien Gildea, Clint Helander, John Frieh, Jason Stuckey and readers like you have been the most valuable resource to me. Reading through the resources below only get you so far and certainly don’t put things in position to be compared against everything else. They also identified ascents I wouldn’t have considered, and provided insight that one big visit to Alaska can’t get at.
The Scree — This is the annual publication of the Mountaineering Club of Alaska. It’s edited by Gruhn and covers more ascents in Alaska than the American Alpine Journal and in more detail. It’s available to MCA members, and archives are online.
American Alpine Journal — This has long been my favorite annual publication. Every August I start to read through it as quickly as possible, pulling out whatever interests me. It’s available to American Alpine Club members or for purchase on the AAC website, but I think it alone might be worth joining. The online search tools on the AAC website has been very useful.
High Alaska — Quite possibly the greatest climbing guidebook ever written. Waterman wrote this with the help of original black and white photography of Denali, Mount Hunter, and Mount Foraker from the great Alaskan pioneer Bradford Washburn.
On the Ridge Between Life and Death and The Last of His Kind — These two books by David Roberts are full of nuggets about Alaskan mountaineering that I have been pulling on since they were published. I continue to be inspired by them in whole and in parts.
After these, it’s mostly been a handful of recent articles online from Alpinist, Climbing, Rock and Ice, Gripped, and a few miscellaneous blogs.