Black Kaweah Summit Register is Gone

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BBA

climber
OF
Jul 20, 2011 - 12:46am PT
I asked the Bancroft about posting the Starr King register "as is" and they said "NO". So I transcribed it, added comments and made a book out of it and they thought it was very fine indeed even though it was still the whole register on every other page. Go figure. I'm reminded of T.E. Lawrence who said of his book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom (which is really cool history), "There are no lessons for the world, no disclosures to shock peoples. It is filled with trivial things, partly that no one mistakes for history the bones from which some day a man may make history."

I say transcribe the registers and make then searchable as I've done with Starr King. The Bancroft will probably come around on that. Trouble is, it's work.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jul 20, 2011 - 02:03am PT
These registers ARE a historical record of California, even if some of you don't think they are. You might consider the fact that if there is no history of something, there is no value to it, either. I appreciate that a lot of climbers walk through their lives feeling valueless, but that doesn't mean that the entire activity was for naught and should be forgotten as though it never happened. It has been a common strategy through history that when you want to destroy someone, you erase them.

I've had different feeling about the registers over the years, but I'm very clear now.....and that is because of the thieves, who's goal is to destroy the existance and history of climbing in the Sierra, like it never happened. Its as though, by destroying the record of Clyde, Starr, Brower, et al, that they never existed, and what they did can be ignored as forgotten. Norman who?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jul 20, 2011 - 10:00am PT
Its as though, by destroying the record of Clyde, Starr, Brower, et al, that they never existed, and what they did can be ignored as forgotten. Norman who?
The history of those guys CAN'T be destroyed by ripping off a summit register!!





Take digital photos of all the pages for your library and leave the registers where they belong.

Jeebus, we're not talking about the original Gutenberg bible or something.
The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Jul 20, 2011 - 10:51am PT
PAUL SOUZA

Trad climber
Clovis, CA
Jul 20, 2011 - 12:12pm PT
I was up on Mt. Dana this past Sunday. There was about 5 of us looking for the register with no luck.
Adamame

climber
Santa Cruz
Jul 20, 2011 - 12:33pm PT
I was up on Mt. Dana this past Sunday. There was about 5 of us looking for the register with no luck.

I had the same problem on Half Dome. Too many people climb Mt. Dana for a summit register to be justified.
squishy

Mountain climber
sacramento
Jul 20, 2011 - 12:49pm PT
The modern preservation of registers was promoted by Jules Eichorn, Glen Dawson, Richard Leonard and David Brower.

Norman Clyde was also a proponent and participant in register preservation.

Please feel free to post that these has been climbers had their heads in the wrong place. And by the way if you don't know who these gentlemen are you don't belong on this thread.

So? They are just people. I have a ton of respect for every name there, but I can still disagree with them, they're opinion as people carries no more weight than mine or yours on this subject. If it's history, then someone laid it there, others signed in, preserving history means leaving it the way it is, if you want to take them down then your a proponent of them not being placed to begin with, maybe someone should let Norman know..
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jul 20, 2011 - 03:49pm PT
Really, with all the honesty...I live about 20 minutes from that Berkeley library, BUT never had the desire to go and see the original summit registers that were ripped out from those mountains. IMO people that place them into the library are no better than individuals that took original Black Kaweah register. JUST MY OPINION.

Climbing community is not that huge, if person that took the original summit register is reading it...PLEASE do the right thing and put it back where it belongs. I thought about going up to Black Kaweah this year, and this original register was one of the reasons why I wanted to go there. It would be a great feeling sitting there alone and reading the entries from long time ago. I really enjoy it....ON the summit, NOT in a library.

As long as there is one example of NC, Muir, Dawson, Don Jensen etc in that library what is the point of collecting all?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 20, 2011 - 04:04pm PT
I find a huge difference between temporary removal of a register for archiving at Bancroft, and its theft for use by some private souvenir hunter. I think the use of modern digital cameras for recording in situ is a great idea. Of course, Bancroft Library, being part of the U.C. system, is short of funds so we need to volunteer to do this. Anyone interested? I don't have that good a camera, but I'd love to participate as I can. Besides, I haven't seen Claude or Vern in about 35 years, so maybe I can see them and talk about old times.

John
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Jul 20, 2011 - 04:28pm PT
For me, a summit register is a palpable connection to the people who have come before me. It is a special shared experience whose value is in the context of the PLACE. It's a sort of time-shifted first hand experience that loses that facet of its meaning in a museum. To take it to a library is to capture the physical or intellectual history, but to rob it of its spiritual essence.

It's like breaking off a stalactite in a cave to take to a museum. Sure you preserve it, but you kill it's future growth and dilute the in-situ experience of all who follow, who are arguably the most entitled to sharing in that raw experience.

It would be way more cool to read the actual paper and ink or pencil from past ages, versus a photocopy while an original sits in a museum. For me, that spiritual essence is transmitted from the original hand to the ink or pencil on that paper, which I can see and touch and smell.

It was a very special experience for me to sit on top of Black Kaweah almost 20 years ago, before I learned to climb with ropes. It's one of my fondest memories, including sitting on the small pinnacle and reading the dramatic writing style of the first ascent (from notes we brought with us), which is actually a pretty mellow climb. It made our ascent seem more cool, more important, more meaningful to us.

Edit: All of the above said, I appreciate the effort to mine this data and preserve it for later reflection and contemplation by those who are no longer able to get to it first hand. I think there is a lot of power and community value in this effort, but it should be done in a way that honors the spiritual essence of the primary first-hand experiences.

Take pictures, leave the register!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jul 20, 2011 - 05:59pm PT
For me, a summit register is a palpable connection to the people who have come before me. It is a special shared experience whose value is in the context of the PLACE. It's a sort of time-shifted first hand experience that loses that facet of its meaning in a museum. To take it to a library is to capture the physical or intellectual history, but to rob it of its spiritual essence.

It's like breaking off a stalactite in a cave to take to a museum. Sure you preserve it, but you kill it's future growth and dilute the in-situ experience of all who follow, who are arguably the most entitled to sharing in that raw experience.

100%

Beautiful words.
oldtopangalizard

Social climber
ca
Jul 20, 2011 - 06:15pm PT
Tough one. I always loved the idea of seeing the classic entries in the registers. In the 70's and 80's, when I got my fat butt up the juicy peaks, you could count on some old entries. Those days disappeared when the aholes got off the couch and actually took a hike.
It's unfortunate, but I feel the books should be protected and removed. It's only a matter of time before the lowlifes remove them, never to be seen again.
I do like the idea of a copy on the summit, but that is endless hours of work on somebody's part.
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jul 25, 2011 - 08:45pm PT
Bancroft does not have the register.
R.B.

Trad climber
47N 122W
Jul 26, 2011 - 01:20am PT
Back in the early '60's, my dad was climbing the east face of Mt. Whitney via the Shakey Leg Crack Var.

Near the summit, he came upon the summit register that was thrown over the edge by tourists. He collected it up, and after contacting the Sierra Club, sent it to them for archiving.

There were some really cool old names in that registry. I can only guess that the club still has it, since it has been over 50 years now.

Anyways, it sounds like that is in Sequoia N.P., so anyone who may be in posession of the summit register should 'man' up and give it to the Park Historian. The NPS would archive it.

But in any case, if it is still missing, then I would suggest looking downslope within a 100' radius searching for it. It's either on the slope of the summit or it's in someones library.

R.B.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jul 26, 2011 - 01:22am PT
R.B.

Trad climber
47N 122W
Jul 26, 2011 - 01:32am PT
Is this a photo of the summit? If so, I'm thinking library then.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jul 26, 2011 - 01:52am PT
With all due respect to the Bancroft library for its work at preservation of history (not just climbing history either) and to Norman Claude for making a decision to preserve, I do not agree with a formal or even grass roots efforts to remove registers to be stored in hermetically sealed containers in Berkeley.

These things are not historical artifacts. They have little meaning to those who have not climbed the requisite formation. I'll pick a peak at random, one that I have climbed in fact, oh let's say Temple Crag... would I drive to Berkeley and ask permission to see the summit register I never saw while actually at the summit?

Personally, I'd be in favor of no registers. Second choice would be to leave the existing ones in place until they rot.

The Bancroft doesn't initiate collection of registers. The registers come to the B because they belong to The Sierra Club. SC reps (not The B) take them down and then deposit them. At some point, The Sierra Club decided it was a historically significant organization and decided to donate its collection to a major research archive. And its collection included summit registers. Apparently, the vast majority of registers on technical peaks in Cali were originally placed by the SC back when neither NPS nor the USFS nor the BLM cared about that sort of deal. Today, it's technically illegal to place a register within NPS boundaries w/o a permit.

The B doesn't have the dough even to replace major curators when they retire, let alone enough to hire folks to process random boxes packed off of weird hunks of decomposing crap out in the boonies. Not something I would urge The B to spend money on. Processing SC Summit Registers wouldn't be (isn't) high on my priority list, nor on that of B admins, given the insane budget problems the archive faces.

So why did all this end up at The B? I haven't done the research to footnote an answer, but a quick-and-dirty judgment would go like this:

The Sierra Club decided to archive its collection about the time that

1. SC Members decided The SC had an epic place in US History;
2. Costs of archival maintenance became really high.

My guess is that registers got included in the SC Collection and sent to The B partly because register maintenance had become an irritant (whining over false entries, bad penmanship, water stains, illegal drugs, misplaced canisters, missing pencils, etc.) , and partly because the maintenance of big chunks of metal and paper on high peaks clashed with the "Leave No Trace" ethic that developed in 60s and 70s.

So if the register isn't on the summit of the peak you just climbed, and it makes you feel bad, don't blame The B.

For the record, to the best of my recollection, in my career, I have signed two summit registers: one on an obscure summit in the Elbsandsteingebirge where I made the only entry in English (ostentatiously signed, KLK, AAC), and another on a weirdly under-climbed peak in the Cascades, where we had just done a first ascent and got to sign in right after a buddy who had done the dog/Beckey route a few years before (rip Dallas, we miss you buddy).



Meaty

climber
Jul 26, 2011 - 01:59am PT
Too bad for those that really care about all the missing box covers (trash on summits) and the registers within. Robin made a huge mistake by being a bolt chopping schmuck or perhaps they'd still be on summits instead of getting tossed off those summits.I know where a few are, hundreds of feet below a few summits. Rumor has it that a few didn't get tossed and just might be around on display?? LOL!!!
Bolts were chopped by Robin and Bachar and a few others, Robin had started a campaign to preserve summit registers and those registers became targets for some that had bolts chopped. Vandals got some crap thrown right back in their faces. They're cowards and just didn't want to admit they'd chopped bolts.
The untold stories of the bolt wars make for some interesting conversation.
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jul 26, 2011 - 09:28am PT
The Bancroft library has the personnel and the desire to archive these registers and does so willingly. The Sierra Club believes in archiving these registers, on the other hand the Sierra Peaks Section of the Angeles Chapter has come out in favor of leaving them on the peaks. There is no monolithic consensus it seems.

The Bancroft does not have the register in question.

-----Original Message

From: xxxxxx@library.berkeley.edu [mailto:xxxxx@library.berkeley.edu]
Sent: Monday, July 25, 2011 2:11 PM
To: XXXXXXXXX
Cc: xxxxx@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: RE: ...Historic Sierra Peak Registers...

No Black Kaweah registers have arrived here recently. We just have the
one in Carton 4, dated 1921-1927, 1935. I hope you can track this one
down. Keep me posted, please.
BBA

climber
OF
Jul 26, 2011 - 09:35am PT
"In September 1970 the Sierra Club Board of Directors designated The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley as the official depository for the club’s archives. The large collection of records, photographs and other memorabilia known as the “Sierra Club Papers” is thus permanently protected. If one wishes to see the Starr King Registers, one may visit the library and request the Sierra Club Peak Register for Mt Starr King, CATALOG RECORD BANC MSS 71/293 carton 17."

Or, you can pay $35 for a microfilm of it.

Some people like history. Some people have a streak of vandalism. Everyone self justifies. Takes all kinds. Things you think and do change as you age.
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