a "vast wall of mountains"

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a "vast wall of mountains"

by LongLost » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:03 pm

"Morning dawned...a trifle sooner than we could have wished, but Professor Brewer and Hoffman had breakfasted before sunrise, and were off with barometer and theodolite upon their shoulders, purposing to ascend our amphitheatre to its head and climb a great pyramidal peak which swelled up against the eastern sky, closing the view in that direction [Mt. Brewer]...

It was twilight of evening, and almost eight o’clock, when they came back to camp, Brewer leading the way, Hoffman following; and as they sat down by our fire without uttering a word, we read upon their faces terrible fatigue. So we hastened to give them supper of coffee and soup, bread and venison, which resulted, after a time, in our getting in return the story of the day. For eight whole hours they had worked up over granite and snow, mounting ridge after ridge, till the summit was made about two o’clock.

These snowy crests bounding our view at the eastward we had all along taken to be the summits of the Sierra, and Brewer had supposed himself to be climbing a dominant peak, from which he might look eastward over Owen’s Valley and out upon leagues of desert. Instead of this, a vast wall of mountains, lifted still higher than his peak, rose beyond a tremendous cañon which lay like a trough between the two parallel ranks of peaks. Hoffman showed us on his sketch-book the profile of this new range, and I instantly recognized the peaks which I had seen from Mariposa, whose great white pile had led me to believe them the highest points of California."

Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada; Chapter Three "The Ascent of Mt Tyndall, 1864", Clarence King

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awilsondc, Baarb, lcarreau, Sierra Ledge Rat

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Re: a "vast wall of mountains"

by Sierra Ledge Rat » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:22 pm

"...stately columns of pine..."

From the preface to the 1902 edition of Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada:

"There are turning points in all men's lives which must give them both pause and retrospect. In long Sierra journeys the mountaineer looks forward eagerly, gladly, 'till pass or ridge-crest is gained, and then, turning with a fonder interest, surveys the scene of his march; letting the eye wander over each crag and valley, every blue hollow of pine-land or sunlit gem of alpine meadow, discerning perchance some gentle reminder of himself in yon thin blue curl of smoke floating dimly upward from the smoldering embers of his last camp-fire. With a lingering look he starts forward, and the closing pass-gate with its granite walls shuts away the retrospect, yet the delightful picture forever after hangs on the gallery wall of his memory. It is thus with me about mountaineering; the pass which divides youth from manhood is traversed, and the serious service of science must hereafter claim me. But as the cherished memories of Sierra climbs go ever with me, I may not lack the inspiring presence of sunlit snow nor the calming influence of those broad noble views. It is the mountaineer's privilege to carry through life this wealth of unfading treasure. At his summons the white peaks loom above him as of old; the camp-fire burns once more for him, his study recede in twilight revery, and around him are gathered again stately columns of pine. If the few chapters I have gathered from these agreeable memories to make this little book are found to possess and interest, if along the peaks I have sought to describe there is reflected, however faintly, a ray of that pure, splendid light which thrills along the great Sierra, I shall not have amused myself with my old note-books in vain."

Clarence King
New York
March 1874

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Re: a "vast wall of mountains"

by aran » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:36 pm

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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