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Early Days in the Range of Light

Encounters with Legendary Mountaineers

List Price: $24.95

January 1, 2011 | Paperback | 7 x 9, 432 Pages | ISBN 9781582436166
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“A spirited journey in the footsteps—or footholds—of the mountaineers who first explored the Sierra Nevada... This well-written combination of history, memoir and travelogue should find a welcome home in many climbing collections.” —Kirkus

It’s 1873. Modern climbing gear and Gore-Tex shells are a century away, but the high mountains still demand your attention. Imagine the stone in your hands and thousands of feet of open air below you, with only a wool jacket to weather a storm and no rope to catch a fall.

Daniel Arnold did more than imagine—he spent four years retracing the precarious steps of his climbing forefathers and lived to tell their tales here. From 1864 to 1931, the Sierra Nevada witnessed some of the most audacious climbing of all time. In the spirit of his predecessors, Arnold carried only rudimentary equipment—no ropes, no harness, no specialized climbing shoes.

In an artful blend of history, biography, nature, and adventure writing, Arnold brings to life both the journeys and the stunning terrain. In the process he uncovers the motivations that drove an extraordinary group of individuals to risk so much for the summits of our most fabled landscapes.

DANIEL ARNOLD began climbing the Pacific Rim volcanoes and local basalt crags of his native Portland as a teenager and went on to climb throughout North and South America. He lives and climbs in Southern California.

Praise

“Ever wish you could travel back to climbing’s early days and follow the earliest first-ascent visionaries? This fantasy comes to life… In this elegant narrative, the author blends the predecessors’ accounts with his own adventures, adding classic photos from the 1800s and early 1900s.” —Climbing Magazine

“A spirited journey in the footsteps—or footholds—of the mountaineers who first explored the Sierra Nevada… This well-written combination of history, memoir and travelogue should find a welcome home in many climbing collections.” —Kirkus

“Dan has done something unique in climbing histories—he went back in time—first, by ferreting out and suffusing himself with ancient lore, then by forgoing modern equipment, and finally by retracing the finger-and-footholds used by the first climbers. His approach, as wackily original as the colorful characters he introduces, worked. This ‘book’ is really a Technicolor time machine to the earliest explorations of American high peaks.” —Peter Croft, Canadian rock climber and mountaineer

“For every lover of the Sierras who’s wondered where the names of the peaks came from, who the pioneers were behind the names, and what the stories were they told around their camps.” —Rick Ridgeway, author of Seven Summits and The Shadow of Kilimanjaro

“I much admire what Dan Arnold has accomplished here. Approaching the Sierra Nevada through the lives and passions of its early climbers, he shines fresh light on this mythic mountain range and its place in both the geography and the legend of the Far West. For Arnold himself, each trek is a kind of pilgrimage. His rock-by-rock retracing of their original routes becomes an arduous and enlivening journey of personal discovery, a climber’s odyssey and eloquent tribute to the challenging wonders of the high country.” —James D. Houston, author of Snow Mountain Passage

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