CSUMarmot wrote:I enjoy signing and reading registers because it gives me an idea of when and how often peaks are climbed, especially the obscure ones. Finding really old entries is fascinating to me, and sometimes you can find useful information left by other people.
I agree ^^^^^
My first alpine summit was Goat Mtn when I was 19 y.o. I didn't really know what a summit register was, until my climbing partner, Dave, reached into a pile of rocks and pulled out a metal box that had a book and some pencils in it. After we signed it, he flipped back several pages and found his father's entry from several years earlier. He was quite thrilled and I was fascinated. It seemed almost like a form of immortality. The book was still there the following year, but it was gone during my third ascent in 1981. So much for immortality...
I made it to the summit of Mt. Russell in the late seventies and found that the register went back to 1932. It was in excellent condition and was only about 3/4 full. I have to confess that out of the hour or more that I spent on the summit, only about 15 or 20 minutes were devoted to enjoying the view- the rest of the time was spent reading and skimming this amazing book. There was the usual collection of well known names, but also some sobering drama in those pages. For instance, I saw several entries by the same backcountry ranger within a short period of time as he searched for a missing climber. Sadly, the last entry by the ranger was an announcement that the missing climber's body had been found on the south face. Apparently, he'd taken a fall during his descent. I flipped back a few pages and there was the doomed climber's entry. It chilled me to read it knowing what was about to happen to him and it made me very aware that I was all alone on a somewhat spicy 14000 foot summit.
Many Sierra Nevada registers (including the Mt. Russell book mentioned above) end up in Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf738nb2br/