Manless Alpine Climbing- Miriam O. Underhill Nat Geo 1934

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 12, 2012 - 05:45pm PT
This superb article appeared in the August 1934 issue of National Geographic magazine. I have seen portions of the text in various places but the full and lavish presentation really makes this article a standout.

The Underhills were a force to be reckoned with and certainly America's first climbing power couple. I salute their respective accomplishments and am proud to present Miriam's unique perspective in 1934!

































What an amazing slice of alpine climbing history!
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
May 12, 2012 - 05:50pm PT
Grivel frontpoints in 1934? Did not know.. not for mixed routes! lol
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 12, 2012 - 06:40pm PT
Twelve point crampons with front points were advertised and sold by Grivel as early as 1930. Actual origination is still rather nebulous but point of commercial sale by Grivel is clear historically.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
May 12, 2012 - 09:04pm PT
Steve! Thanks for taking the time to scan & post the article.

Miriam was quite a groundbreaker.

For more stories, including her American adventures with Robert Underhill, buy her autobiography: Give Me The Hills.

I think it is a fun read, and although it is out of print, copies are cheap at Abebooks. They start at $1.00 plus shipping. http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?tn=Give+me+hills
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
May 12, 2012 - 09:21pm PT
Tough mothers!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
May 13, 2012 - 12:36am PT
Bump for when National Geographic had some literary content.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 13, 2012 - 02:16am PT
Good work Steve! Manless and skirtless!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
May 13, 2012 - 04:01am PT
hey there say, steve.... wow, thanks for this old-time share...

i really love this kind of history...
thanks again...
:)
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 13, 2012 - 09:02am PT

My thanks also for the post.
I always love photos of the Alps.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
May 13, 2012 - 10:22am PT
Interestingly, I climbed with Brian Underhill at CU, Boulder 1959 thru 1961. He was the son of Miriam O'Brien Underhill and R.L.M. Underhill. One of the reasons I sought after Dolomite climbs was due to Brian's descriptions while we climbed together.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 13, 2012 - 11:34am PT
Great scanning job, too, Stevie. Thanks.

Apparently some of you Pilgrims wonder what the Grossman residence looks like these days. Here from Google Interiors, I have this current shot, also showing some of Steve's interns, hard at work.

Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
May 13, 2012 - 11:23pm PT
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 13, 2012 - 11:37pm PT
Peter's photo shows only the public reading room - the collections and displays are in galleries and rooms to the side.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 13, 2012 - 11:54pm PT
"above the Matterhorn hut, they must be careful lest they dislodge blocks upon the heads of those following."

From what I hear, this hasn't changed in the years since. :-)
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
May 14, 2012 - 12:25am PT

Indeed! Fun to read, especially their ascents in Montana (my home turf).

So, upcoming trip to the Dolomites. I had the UIAA Classic Dolomite Climbs guidebook, but, always like to fish out a few more. Old guidebooks are interesting...

Ran across this old guidebook, and, with Miriam's book, along with the Classics guidebook, "Via Miriam" was on my radar.


Only issue with condition of the guidebook was the previous owners stamp:


Interesting to note, that, the old 1911 guidebook, back from when Cortina and most of the Dolomites were still in Austria, has a recommended list of guides for each area. In the Cinque Torre section is listed Antonio Dimai as "preferable for difficult ascents". His son Angelo was Miriam's main climbing guide, along with Angelo Dibona.

Anyhoo, the "Via Miriam" route was prepared for her ascent by the Dimai brothers and Arturo Gasperi, and, she climbed the route with Margaret Hellburn, father and son Dimai, and Dibona. 1927.

Great route, great fun!
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
May 14, 2012 - 09:17am PT
Brian-

A route I climbed in 1964, "Diretta Dimai," incorporates the first 2 pitches of "Via Miriam." I recall it seemed pretty stout, in boots. Via Miriam, today, is rated 5.8.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2012 - 01:26pm PT
Classic Bump...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 19, 2012 - 02:00pm PT
Steve, shouldn't you be dusting the shelves?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 19, 2012 - 02:04pm PT
Classic stuff! Miriam was ahead of the curve, to say the least. The Underhill Ridge in the Tetons, the Underhill Award with the AAC, their names live on.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 14, 2012 - 01:53pm PT
Underhill and over bump...
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