American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Carl A. Blaurock, 1894-1993

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994



I first met my long-time friend and climbing companion, Carl Blaurock, in 1920 on a scheduled trip of the Colorado Mountain Club to the Crestone Needle in the Sangre de Cristo Range. The mountain, according to local knowledge, had not yet been climbed. Only four of us made it to the summit and we could find no indication of previous occupation—though we were later informed that others had been there but were driven off by static electricity without leaving a trace.

In 1925 I was with Carl on the Colorado Mountain Club’s annual outing that same year for several climbs of the 14,000ers. On this outing, he met his future wife, Louise Forsyth, to whom he was happily married for 65 years. She preceded him in death by a year, both of them almost 100 years old.

Carl was the last of the founding members of the Colorado Mountain Club. He and Bill Ervin were the first to climb all the more than fifty peaks in Colorado over 14,000 feet. I accompanied them on most of these ascents. They also climbed in Wyoming, California, on the Mexican volcanoes and in the Alps. He was well known for his excellent climbs on the east face of Longs Peak, which he declared to be his favorite. He ascended the east face 18 times.

He joined his father in the metalurgical business, having graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with an engineering degree in 1916.

In World War I, Carl was a balloon observer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. In 1932, he acquired a Gypsy Moth biplane, which he piloted for many years.

He was also an avid skier. Slowing down some, he continued actively in photography. He formed the William Henry Jackson Camera Club, which had the Mount of the Holy Cross as its symbol. In fact, his last climb in 1973, at the age of 79, was up Notch Mountain on a centennial trip of William Henry Jackson’s trip to photograph the Mount of the Holy Cross. He placed a commemorative plaque at the spot where Jackson had placed his camera 100 years before. He also took pleasure and gave pleasure with his piano playing.

He had a host of friends, many of whom attended his funeral at St. John’s Cathedral, where, he used to say, he attended church “regularly, every Easter.”

Dudley T. Smith

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