American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Longs Peak, Its Story and a Climbing Guide

  • Book Reviews
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  • Publication Year: 1964

Longs Peak, its story and a climbing guide, by Paul W. Nesbit. Fifth Edition, 65 pages, published by Paul W. Nesbit, 711 Colombia Road, Colorado Springs 4, Colorado. $1.50 postpaid.

The fifth edition of the Longs Peak story naturally contains all of the material of the earlier editions, but has been enlarged and brought up to date with the stories of the two Diamond climbs. Paul has a delightful way of telling his story, interspersed with gems of climbing wisdom, and sparkled with whimsical humor in the right places. This all ties together well and carries the reader along with great interest and ease so that it is hard to lay down the book. One wants to keep on going to the finish in one sitting.

The climbing history of the peak from the earliest beginnings a century ago is carried on continuously to the present day. Full credit is given to all the individuals who have participated and contributed to that history. After the historical introduction Paul takes the reader on the actual trip up the peak by the ordinary climbing routes, points out moderate difficulties and climbing features, and comments on shrubs, flowers, and trees, features of geological interest and scenic views.

Then follows an interesting resumé of practically all the routes by which it has been climbed and the people who pioneered them. The disappointments and the tragedies of the peak are also well delineated. To the non-climbing reader, the mountaineering terms, the hardware and other implements of climbing and their uses are understandingly explained. The excellent photographs and sketches tie the whole story together and make it intimate for the reader. The climbers’ reports of the Diamond ascents forms a most fitting climax to the whole book. Climbers might take some exception to and be resentful of the power of National Park authorities in some of their restrictions on difficult climbs. After all it is human to dare, to risk, to achieve and overcome obstacles. Where would this country have been had the authorities of 100 years ago prohibited travel west of the Mississippi on account of danger from Indians and unknown natural hazards? Nesbit has done a masterful job of telling his tale. Get the book and read it. You will be entranced.

Carl Blaurock

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