Norman Clyde of the Sierra Nevada

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 26, 2007 - 02:06pm PT
A rare and superb interview with one of the luminaries of the Range of Light. The embodiment of old school grit and determination and one of my heroes for sure!








From The History of the Sierra Nevada by Francis Farquhar.

From Climbing in North America by Chris Jones.
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Aug 26, 2007 - 02:09pm PT
Nice stuff...thought about his boots on Clyde and other peaks when I am up there...
WoodySt

Trad climber
Riverside
Aug 26, 2007 - 04:21pm PT
My kind of guy; he used to blow away marmmots with his old Colt 45. Those were the days. Wherever you are Norman, I hope they let you carry that old revolver.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 26, 2007 - 04:32pm PT
great stuff! Holy cow thanks Steve.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 26, 2007 - 04:48pm PT
Woody: Did he eat the marmots, too?
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 26, 2007 - 04:56pm PT
here's his bio -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Clyde


"Clyde lead or participated in many mountain rescues and is credited with saving a number of lives. He said of himself, "I'm like the village half-wit who could always find Old Bes the cow when nobody else could. I just imagine where I'd go if I were Old Bes – and then I go there.""


his wife dying in 1918 may give some insight into Clyde's loner status.

here's another great link:
http://www.stanford.edu/~galic/rettenbacher/clyde.html


and here's his FA list:
http://www.owensvalleyhistory.com/norman_clyde/page57.html
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 26, 2007 - 05:44pm PT
A great collection of his tales

WoodySt

Trad climber
Riverside
Aug 26, 2007 - 07:51pm PT
Good question. Now I have an excuse to find out. Of course, I'll have to experiment with numerous subjects: size, age, gender etc., and various cultural approaches: French, BBQ, Chinese, Thai, Malay, Mexican, Qechua etc. However, being as there are plenty of opportunities, I see no problem in starting as soon as possible.
10b4me

climber
Site C4 in TMCG
Aug 26, 2007 - 08:30pm PT
Clyde was awesome.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 26, 2007 - 08:33pm PT
Perhaps nature could experiment with a marmot roll at FaceLift SushiFest.
Risk

Mountain climber
Minkler, CA
Aug 26, 2007 - 09:04pm PT
According to my dad, legend has it that Norman Clyde would carry an iron anvil and hammer just in case some weary packer needed farrier services along the way. Yes, an anvil. I once carried a cast iron skillet for properly frying fish I knew I would catch, but an anvil? The guy was a legend in the 60’s, known to be wandering the crest with his 100-pound+ pack. As far as I'm concerned, he's still out there. . . .
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 26, 2007 - 09:07pm PT
Great links Ray! The question is, where in the Sierra did he not visit. All the more impressive given the access and gear then available.
I never met Norman but had the pleasure of encountering a kindred soul in the Wind Rivers in the person of Finnis Mitchell after whom Mount Mitchell is named.
I was heading in to the Cirque of the Towers (via Big Sandy opening) with a party of Udalls when this oldtimer pulls up and swings his equally well seasoned frame pack off and to the ground. A big cast iron skillet clanked that this was no ordinary backpacker. As we looked off towards our destination while making small talk with the iron man and his much younger female companion, he asked strangely "Do you like the view?" "Sure do," we said, "it's gorgeous."
The iron man danced over to his enormous pack and fished around inside. Out came a handfull of postcards which he passed around gleefully. "Well, now you can take it home with you." It was a postcard of the very same view with the name Finnis Mitchell in tiny print.
Though not so much a climber, Finnis was a legendary figure in the Winds and used to hand stock the lakes and streams with fingerlings carried in on foot and horseback. Amazing personal vigor and drive. Like Clyde, truly an inspiration.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 26, 2007 - 09:18pm PT
RE:
"As far as I'm concerned, he's still out there. . . ."

no doubt
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Aug 27, 2007 - 12:42am PT
Hey Steve, nice post.

This is the only photo I can add to it. This is the Wind Rivers, he is obviously still in his element.


Ken
WoodySt

Trad climber
Riverside
Aug 27, 2007 - 10:20am PT
Also, Old Norman is reponsible for stocking many high lakes with trout during the Depression. He was known as "The Pack that Walked like a Man".
I've been told by some that should know, that the Sierra Club, in their prissy and p.c. way has tried to cleanse some of the old boy's more colorful attributes. I prefer him the way he really was.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 27, 2007 - 10:56am PT
Here is an aerial photo of the Minarets taken during the search for Walter Starr's body. Taken by Francis Farquahar from his book, The History of the Sierra Nevada.

Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Aug 27, 2007 - 11:37am PT
Thanks for starting this tread. Very important history and the most interesting to read.

I like the story about when he was the Principal or Superintendant for the school district there in Owens Valley, and some young thugs were making trouble, and he pulled a gun out and shot it into the air to scare them off. It worked. Then the people had him released from his job for doing so.

Come-on, there would never be any school violence with teenagers out of control if all the admin. and teachers were licensed to carry guns and use them if necessary. (Ok, people, don't blow a gasket. I'm just kidding!!!!!)

Norman Clyde is the man.
lucho

Gym climber
San Franpsycho
Aug 27, 2007 - 11:56am PT
one word - HARDMAN!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Aug 27, 2007 - 09:46pm PT
I think it was Smoke Blanchard who repeated Norman's put down of the anvil story. That legend was already circulating while Norman was alive, and he would bristle when it came up:

"It's not true that I carried an anvil in my pack! ... But if I had a nice round stone that fit perfectly in the heel of my boot for replacing Triconi Nails, well that's my business!"
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 28, 2007 - 10:46am PT
Doug- Great way to put the legendary anvil to bed! Did you ever get a chance to climb with Norman?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Aug 28, 2007 - 11:55am PT
Sadly, I did not get to climb with him. Did get as far as the Buttermilk with Clyde and Smoke. (Dewitt Jones has 16 mm footage of Norman from that day, sitting in an aluminum beach chair.) They were good friends, and Smoke looked after the Old Boy pretty closely in his eighties, so I got to talk to him -- no, I mean listen -- a number of times at Smoke's house. And went with Smoke to the County Sanitarium in Big Pine to visit Norman. That was right down Baker Creek from where Norman had been living. Got to go to that house once too. Right inside, even, which Smoke told me afterward was a very rare privelege.

It seems Norman was a bit embarassed by the usual state of his housekeeping and was in the habit of darting out the door when he heard company coming. Indeed, we mostly shuffled around the front yard as we talked. Norman's outdoor bed was fifty feet away under a tree by the creek, a steel frame bed with a heavy paraffin-stiffened canvas tarp draped over the covers for weather. Inside the cabin didn't seem that bad to me. Cardboard boxes stacked four feet deep, leaving a narrow aisle leading toward the kitchen. Cluttered, for sure, but not trashy, and Norman seemed to know right where to find the box of manuscripts he was looking for.

There are great photos of Clyde there at the Baker Creek Ranch in his only other book, Norman Clyde of the Sierra Nevada: Rambles Through the Range of Light, compiled later but more rare since it has never been reprinted. Soon as I fire up my scanner and recall how it works, I can post some of them.

Meanwhile, here are a few recollections of Clyde that I put into an article Wanderers of the Range of Light (later collected into A Night on the Ground...):


In 1914, the year that John Muir died, Norman Clyde spent his first summer in the Sierra. Over the next fifty years, living mostly in the high country, Clyde made more first ascents of peaks and ridges and walls than anyone had managed before. When he died at 87 in 1972, Clyde was just two years past his climb. Jules Eichorn wrote his obituary in the usually staid American Alpine Journal, and it spoke of an enormous single-mindedness:

"He had lived as every alpinist wants to live, but as none of them dare to, and so he had a unique life . . . He was the only man I know who gave himself up completely to a passionate love of the mountains."

When Clyde lived for months in the high Sierra, his pack became his home. Those who sometimes laughed at Clyde's hundred-pound pack failed to consider that it contained all the fly rods, spare cameras, night-stand reading and canned goods that the next fortnight might require. The mode has come to be known as Clyde-style.

Norman Clyde was still going strong in 1971 at a party in Bishop for the appearance of his last book. "The next speaker will be strictly limited to twenty minutes" intoned the emcee. Clyde got up and ambled toward the microphone. He was notorious for rambling stories that lost their point by drifting on to other topics. He talked a little about sheep, then touched on his reputation as a camp mooch—"there were some college girls up there, though, and they thought I looked hungry"—before getting around to the main topic: "Speaking of mountaineering, I did have a little mania..."

The emcee got up and began edging toward Clyde. Norman looked around, then quickly summed it up: "Well, I guess that ends my fool stories, as I call 'em." It seemed rude. Clyde never spoke in public again; within a year he was dead. But anyone who heard out his "fool" stories and miscellaneous ramblings soon found that after he had five of them in the air, Clyde would finish off the last one, then return to the next, finish it, and so on, until he had knitted them all together so that each fit. By then it might be an hour later. A life spent among alpine rhythms had simply stretched his sense of time past the restless attention span now considered normal. He had the clearest eyes I have ever seen on an eighty-year-old man, sparkling with alpine light.

Fool Stories. When I got home that night—a borrowed cabin—there was my favorite poster on the wall. It showed the Tarot card of The Fool—the wanderer, innocent and amazed, swinging his bindle on a stick over his shoulder and smelling a rose. Behind him, sun poured onto a profusion of mountains. Alongside ran an illuminating inscription:

"It is all too often forgotten that the ancient symbol of the prenascence of the world is a fool, and that foolishness, being a divine state, is a condition to be neither proud nor ashamed of."

Intriguingly, the quote originated from a mathematician, G. Spencer Brown. Foolishness travels in unexpected arcs.

Clyde had been winter caretaker of lodges up and down the range, and was among the first to recognize the skiing potential here. So when I had the opportunity I asked him about favorite runs. He started right in talking about Rock Creek Canyon. It seems that the lodge owners always moved him out at the beginning of May to make room for early fishermen. When Clyde vacated, he would go straight up to Rock Creek for the spring skiing. At the head of that broad and gentle valley, up where the highest whitebark pines hunch their backs against the freewheeling wind blasting down off the crest, he would burrow in under one of the trees for shelter and settle into an interesting routine.

When the sun came early into the leeward side of his home, Norman would lace on his Triconi-nailed boots, lash skis to his packframe and crunch up the frozen crust to Bear Creek Spire. Stopping at the 13,000 foot notch and usually not bothering with the summit, he would wait patiently until the crust had softened into perfect spring corn snow an inch deep—at about 10:30—before changing into ski boots and snapping on the ultra-short five foot skis he kept for "Christiania swings down the steep gullies." After a perfect run back to camp—they're so predictable in the spring—he would settle in for an afternoon of basking and reading. Norman always carried a generous selection of classics, in half a dozen original languages.

One day while perched up on the divide waiting for the corn, Clyde got to looking west out over the voluptuous contours of the Lake Italy basin. So he skied down there instead. Then up over Gabbot Pass to the Second Recess, since that looked good too. And down that to Mono Creek, which he followed back over Mono Pass into Rock Creek again. Only by then it was three days later! On the spur of the moment Clyde had launched into a cross-country lark over the still frozen Sierra without so much as a copy of The Odyssey in Greek for equipment.

"Rock Creek Canyon," he said, as if deciding it right then, "is the finest skiing on the east side of the Sierra." I moved in the next winter. Into another borrowed cabin. Winter in the high Sierra is sheer pleasure, not only for the snow and the skiing but because the mountains are so empty then. Their trashing at the hands of callow tourists is mercifully obscured, leaving the closest thing to true wilderness still to be found in this country. But doing time in a tent during storms can get tedious. Perhaps a cane chair in front of the wood stove would help, and a view of Bear Creek Spire out the front window as it clears...
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Aug 28, 2007 - 12:23pm PT
I have never spent a day in the Sierra without thinking of Norman Clyde and his 100+ lb. pack. We could have used that fry pan this week.
Is his Baker Creek cabin still there?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Aug 28, 2007 - 01:58pm PT
Baker Creek cabin was bulldozed right after Clyde left. It was on DWP land. They were kind enough to let him stay out his life there, but then it seemed like they wanted to prevent it becoming a crash pad. Never went back to look, but I heard that maybe they razed it so fast not all his papers were accounted for. One friend has a Bank of America check signed by Norman that he found at the bulldozed site. Framed it.

You could probably find the spot without much trouble. A mile or more up good dirt roads, coming in from the south side of the creek. No more than 500' vertical above the valley floor. Might be corral or something there. Certainly a nice meadow.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 28, 2007 - 10:10pm PT
Thanks for posting that Doug. Your writing is superb as always. Clyde has long struck me as an alpine anchorite living a life apart. His imprint on those mountains is truly unmatched.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 28, 2007 - 10:19pm PT
thanks Doug.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 29, 2007 - 12:16am PT
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 29, 2007 - 12:22am PT
Thank heavens for a good old climbing thread!
jstan

climber
Aug 29, 2007 - 12:24am PT
One of the links above noted that Clyde spent his childhood
in Ontario's Glengarry District. We visited that area around
1961 to compete in the Canadian National Piping
Championships. The area is positively festering with Scots
mainly involved with the orchards. Immediately upon
arriving we, of course, sought out the pubs as they are the
center of social life. We found them packed with people, all
of whom knew each other, and all of whom were capable of
interesting but outrageous behavior. Like climbers. A great
time was had by all.

Mention was also made of the Dulley incident in Piute Pass
caused by unexpected storm. Clyde and Dulley proceeded
across the pass despite the rapidly worsening storm. Oddly
we met a storm (smaller surely) in the same pass a few
years ago. It was immediately clear to this observer once
over the pass even a small amount of snow and blowing
snow obscures the trail and under limited visibility, short of
using a compass there is no clue as to where to go in the
dense brush, either advancing or in retreat. In a heavy wind
it can get quite stern up there.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 29, 2007 - 12:32am PT
" Thank heavens for a good old climbing thread!"
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 29, 2007 - 12:48am PT
Mention was also made of the Dulley incident in Piute Pass
caused by unexpected storm. Clyde and Dulley proceeded
across the pass despite the rapidly worsening storm. Oddly
we met a storm (smaller surely) in the same pass a few
years ago. It was immediately clear to this observer once
over the pass even a small amount of snow and blowing
snow obscures the trail and under limited visibility, short of
using a compass there is no clue as to where to go in the
dense brush, either advancing or in retreat. In a heavy wind
it can get quite stern up there


A bunch of us skied over Piute pass one spring. It was the rocket scientists idea as I remember. It should have been an uneventfull Spring tour.

Crossing the pass it was gray darkness all the way to the west. We spent a miserable night sheltered behind a boulder in a howling gale. skied out the next day starting in a near white out and falling snow only to have it clear out just as we got to the lake. Almost skied off the same cliff he describes.

That summer I'd picked up the afore mentioned book and was reading as Black Bart was driving us up 395 in his post quarter million mile Cherokee.

We had camped at the same rock and recognized every detail he described in his descent right down to the last detail under similar if only a bit milder conditions.

Read that chapter out loud.

No one died this time.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 30, 2007 - 02:32am PT
An interesting passage and photo from Francis Farquhar's History of the Sierra Nevada 1965.



And lastly this photo by Marjory Bridge. Anyone know about her or her climbing past the mid-thirties?

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Aug 30, 2007 - 09:00am PT
One of the earliest editions in my climbing library (besides Vulgarian Digest) was a magazine featuring Clyde on its cover.
I don't suppose Yvon used Clyde's boy scout hatchet as an early prototype?

Francis Farquhar sure knew a lot of the greats. I was at the Farquhar home only once in December, '84 following the AAC meeting. There at a table eating brunch were a couple of old timers whose names began with B.
What were those names,...oh yeah, now I remember.
Beckey and Bonatti.
Hah! Bet there was a bit of experience at THAT table.

Here's to all of us, a community with an illustrious history well worth preserving, and the taco as a place to celebrate it.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 30, 2007 - 10:09am PT
Were you able to get Fred to tell any stories? I was never able to. He must have been almost giddy sharing a table with the greatest B of them all!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Aug 30, 2007 - 11:53am PT
Right on the money Steve. It was a remarkable dynamic. Fred was reflecting on Walter the same idolatry that I had for both.
There was ofcourse a language barrier but Tony Sortelle made easy work of most translating. Still I said maybe two sentences content to play fly-on-the-wall.
It wasn't until Telluride in '96 that I really got to converse with Walter assisted by both his wife Rosanna and Charlie's halting italian, as a mere five years of latin had left me without an ear for any but the most basic phrases.
Few American climbers even recognize the name instead often thinking its a gear manufacturer. Fewer still are aware that with the Grand Capucin Walter helped invent big-wall climbing almost as much as Warren Harding.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 30, 2007 - 08:25pm PT
Great opportunity Ron. I haven't located a Bonatti interview going through the stacks but I will post it up when I do. Got Cassin and Meastri though.....I grew up reading about these people never imagining that I would ever meet them. Climbing is magical that way, living history still scratching away at a crag near you.
WBraun

climber
Aug 30, 2007 - 10:43pm PT
Hi Steve G.

Why does Norman always have that look?

That "look" where his lips on the end are turned down.

Sourpuss?
Mimi

climber
Aug 30, 2007 - 10:51pm PT
Hello WB, how could a guy spending that much time in the mountains be a sourpuss? Having met the man, I bet DR and Smoke Blanchard can shed some light on Mr. Clyde's pensive look. I think he was just humble and didn't like being in the camera's eye. Just a guess. What a guy.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Aug 30, 2007 - 11:24pm PT
What a cool thread!

An illustrious community indeed,
Scratching away at a crag near you
And tapping mindful at solitary keyboards.
Who knew that dreams of convergence
Would erupt as fluorecence of electrons
Dancing.

Interesting, Steve, that you brought out Francis Farquhar. I'm sure you're aware by now that his "complete innovation" of the "first properly roped climb" on Unicorn had been preempted by a few years on Laurel Mountain.

Also, I heard that there was some antipathy between him and Clyde. Trying to recall what it was and where I heard it. (Imagine climbers dissing each other back then. So glad we've risen above such behavior here on the Taco.)

Ron, thanks for your mention of Bonatti working to invent big wall climbing on the Grand Capucin. Just this morning I was writing about the same thing happening on the Regular NW Face on Half Dome. You sent me scrambling for Bonatti's book to compare them. On the Heights wasn't translated into English until 1964. I wonder how much Royal and Harding were aware of his climbs?

Now swimming the Muir Gorge -- there's a true challenge!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Aug 30, 2007 - 11:40pm PT
"The Look"

When he told stories in Smoke's living room he was actually quite animated and engaged -- checking that you were with him. Or worth talking to.

I think "the look" had several origins. He spent a lot of time solitary. could be he'd forget to compose a public face.

Then too, seems like he'd cultivated a personna of being a gruff geezer, and he was sticking to it.

And finally, gravity happens. I'm barely 60, but when I look in the mirror I see a face that seems more serious than I usually feel. Reminds me of my dad...

And finally, he really wasn't always like that. There's a shot of Norman upthread where he's smiling! His face is kind of shadowed -- I've seen the shot reproduced better. It's actually quite a big grin -- my favorite photo of him by far.
WBraun

climber
Aug 30, 2007 - 11:46pm PT
Yeah I know, just checking folks.

DR you have the look too. Every time I see you, you're smiling.

Great thread .....
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Aug 31, 2007 - 09:43am PT
Doug,
I don't have a copy of The Great Days having read Neptune's copy decades ago, but my take on the Grand Capucin comes from Doug Scott's book, as well as conversations with my onetime partner (our first El Cap route) Georges Bettembourge and the man himself (not to mention his marathon slide presentations which, although unbelievably long, I found to be marvelously beautiful and deeply inspiring).
allapah

climber
Aug 31, 2007 - 07:14pm PT
Clyde spontaneously breaking into a weeping fit upon reaching Starr's body is Clyde confronting his own loneliness and despair
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 1, 2007 - 11:54am PT
Here is a view of the Muir Gorge from another angle. I went looking for an account in Galen Rowell's beautiful illustrated version of The Yosemite by John Muir. Et Voila.

Same exact spot as the Bridge photo.

Muir's account and Galen's notes.
I can't locate the citation but Norman Clyde was in on the first repeat passage of the Muir Gorge mentioned above if I am not mistaken.
xharv

Mountain climber
Palo Alto
Sep 16, 2008 - 03:05pm PT
As many contributors to this forum have noticed, words tough, unapproachable, introvert and isolated were often associated with Norman Clyde. Not so, says Lisa Parker Carson.

Norman Clyde was a frequent visitor of the Parker family while they lived near Bishop in the sixties. To show his appreciation
for a hot meal and family surrounding, Norman would always
bring some fire wood to the Parkers.

Lisa, who was one of five children in the family,
recently sent me her recollections of Norman Clyde. She remembers
climbing over him or bouncing on his robust belly while he
patiently sat in his chair. She even used Norman's bald head
as a canvas for her "artwork", and he would not utter a word
in protest and even seemed to enjoy it. I would probably have had
some doubts about her story had Lisa not also sent me
a couple of pictures from her album that vividly supported
her memories. Meet the Norman Clyde that
you didn't know about:

http://highwire.stanford.edu/~galic/clyde/LisaCarsonStory.html

Enjoy!
Send

Boulder climber
Three Rivers, California
Sep 16, 2008 - 03:38pm PT
So many FA's. Probably the most important mountaineer of the Sierra Nevadas to date.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 16, 2008 - 04:06pm PT
Steve,

> Marjory Bridge. Anyone know about her or her climbing past the mid-thirties?

Well, she married Francis Farquhar in 1934 and they had 3 kids....

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/place_names_of_the_high_sierra/

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/place_names_of_the_high_sierra/francis_farquhar_obituary.html
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2008 - 10:19am PT
Gaffer bump!
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Sep 17, 2008 - 12:21pm PT
Thanks for bumping this great thread, somehow missed it the first time around.

Great to see the photos of the Muir Gorge. In 2002 Project Bandaloop did a 22 day backpack trip/Dance expedition from Twin Lakes to Hetch Hetchy. I was traveling with a book on Muirs adventures and read the account listed above. We took a rest day at the bottom of the canyon and 8 of us walked/swam down the Gorge. It was early August and perfect conditions, beautiful and memorable, I highly recommend it.

Clyde was the man.

Peter
klk

Trad climber
cali
Sep 17, 2008 - 12:28pm PT
The Bancroft Library, Berkeley has the Norman Clyde Papers as well as the Francis Farquar papers.

The Clyde collection includes transcripts of interviews done with him by Eichhorn and others. There are bits of various manuscripts and ephemera. Not a ton of correspondence, but it is still pretty useful, especially if one were to do a new edition of Clyde's writings.

http://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf996nb44j



le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Sep 17, 2008 - 05:25pm PT

Climbed my first Clyde route this weekend. Wonderful thread, thank you.





Question: was Starr's body never removed?



Captain...or Skully

Big Wall climber
up Yonder (the edge of Treason)
Sep 17, 2008 - 07:22pm PT
They don't make 'em like Clyde anymore.....The mold broke. Couldn't contain.......
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 18, 2008 - 12:12am PT
The opening article certainly implies a body recovery but I don't have Clyde's bio to glean further details. Farquhar doesn't specify any recovery either.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Sep 18, 2008 - 12:18am PT
I actually have news articles with pictures stored away about the recovery. I know other details too, but don't think I should share over the internet due to family wishes.

Ken
Double D

climber
Sep 18, 2008 - 12:55am PT
Thanks Steve for a great thread.

And Doug, as always your writing flows like chocolate syrup on ice-cream.

Norman was always one of my heros. His routes were way heads up considering he was wearing cob-nailed boots. Dang!

le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Sep 18, 2008 - 01:02am PT

Steve Grossman - thanks, I went back and read that more carefully.

Chicken Skinner - 10-4, respect to you for honoring their wishes.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Sep 18, 2008 - 05:34pm PT
According to the new book (Robert Pavlik, Norman Clyde, Legendary Mountaineer of California's Sierra Nevada) "Jules and Norman interred Pete Starr in a cleft in the rock on the narrow ledge." ..... "Once the body was in place, the pair gathered rocks and walled the fallen climber into his high-altitude tomb, where he still rests today. Many years later Eichorn related to Sierra wilderness photographer Claude Fiddler that Clyde wept while they worked."
Clyde returned with Mr. Starr on a couple of occasions to the grave site to make sure it remained undisturbed.
pimp daddy wayne

climber
The Bat Caves
Sep 18, 2008 - 08:24pm PT
Dude is my hero
Flashlight

climber
Sep 23, 2008 - 01:39am PT
Norman is the bomb.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 3, 2008 - 06:39pm PT
I thought it might be a good time to bump this thread.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 3, 2008 - 07:53pm PT
hey there mighty hiker, say, you did good...

i learned a tremendous amount... goes with all the new stuff, as you well know...

say, thanks... :)
allapah

climber
Nov 4, 2008 - 12:51pm PT
see the classic Roper "Am I a ghoul?" letter in the appendix to Missing In the Minarets, by William Alsup
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 4, 2008 - 03:12pm PT
I've been to a lot of mountain ranges in the west and the Sierra Nevada is still my favorite for climbing, hiking, fishing, and just being there, thanks to guys like Norman Clyde and of course John Muir and Ansel Adams. Bump. bump. Bump.
east side underground

Trad climber
crowley ca
Nov 5, 2008 - 01:05am PT
clyde is the sierra, thanks steve
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 14, 2009 - 12:22pm PT
Powder snow covered bump, Murry! Keep your tips up!
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 14, 2009 - 12:37pm PT
I don't know when it starts but there is a new norman clyde exhibit coming to the Eastern California Museum in Independence.

They usually do a good job, for such a small museum

Tom
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Feb 14, 2009 - 07:27pm PT
Keep us posted on the exhibit!
dipper

climber
Feb 14, 2009 - 11:34pm PT
From their website: http://www.inyocounty.us/ecmuseum/ecmdexhibits.htm

“Past Tents,” a traveling exhibit about “The Way We Camped” from the Gold Rush to the mid 1900s, can be seen at the Eastern California Museum in Independence (155 N. Grant St.) from Dec. 1 to Feb. 22, 2009. This free exhibit shows how people camped from Death Valley to Yosemite by using 50 historical photographs and other artifacts from the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley and other California museums. The exhibit includes text panels and a hands-on, interactive photo album. The Museum is located at 155 N. Grant Street, in Independence, and is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends and weekdays. Call 760-878-0258.



The Norman Clyde Exhibit Spotlights ‘The Pack with Legs’

Legendary mountaineer Norman Clyde roamed the high Sierra from his home in Independence and in the 1920 and ‘30s recorded more than 130 first ascents, and topped out on every 14,000-foot peak in California (all but one are in the Sierra). His legendary Sierra Club High Trips attracted notables such as Ansel Adams and the top climbers and mountaineers of the day. “The pack with legs,” is how Clyde has been described, a testament to his ability to traverse all types of terrain with an 80-pound pack. The Norman Clyde exhibit at the Eastern California Museum, which will run from March 21, 2009 until Fall 2009, will review those well-known aspects of Clyde’s life, but will also delve into lesser-known events that shaped the rugged mountaineer. The Museum is located at 155 N. Grant Street, in Independence, and is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends and weekdays. Call 760-878-0258.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 15, 2009 - 12:11pm PT
Does anyone know what became of Clyde's ice axe and other personal gear? I am curious what artifacts are at the museum's disposal
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 15, 2009 - 01:38pm PT
Thanks for bumping this. Threads like this should be 'Stickies'
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 15, 2009 - 04:23pm PT
Clyde's axe is there, under glass.

Trying to remember other gear. A campaign hat, maybe a cup. Skis?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 15, 2009 - 04:36pm PT
I asked Lauria about Smoke Blanchard's stuff a while back in hopes of a Clyde stash but I couldn't uncover much. His rifle and any personal writings would be amazing. Since a few books have come out on him, I assume his documents live on.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 15, 2009 - 04:39pm PT
Clyde's papers are in The Bancroft Library. I've been through them. Lots of article drafts, but not much revelatory stuff.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 16, 2009 - 11:21am PT
Did he keep a journal or any other systematic personal or climbing notes that you can recall seeing?
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 16, 2009 - 12:22pm PT
Steve-- I can't recall seeing a climbing journal in that collection. There's not much in the way of personal correspondence, either.

I noticed that the author of the most recent bio (apologies-- can't recall the name) relied pretty heavily upon the Sierra Club collection, which is also at The Bancroft.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 16, 2009 - 08:44pm PT
Clyde's last book, published 1971




3000 were printed
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 16, 2009 - 09:08pm PT
Norman at his Baker Creek Ranch, April 1970



Jules Eichorn and Clyde, entrance to Baker Creek Ranch, April 1970
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 16, 2009 - 09:34pm PT
Clyde on FA of the Milk Bottle, summit of Starlight, August 1931


Notice the rock shoes! Those Sierra boys were way into changing up their footwear from nailed boots. The rope had just come to the Sierra the week before, compliments of Robert Underhill, out from Harvard, who had learned ropework in the Alps.

The Milk Bottle is 20' high, solid 5.6 and unprotectable, with a bad fall into talus. Clyde will down-solo it. Now there's a bolt on top.

Next stop, the East Face of Mt. Whitney. Photo by Jules Eichorn


Norman's everyday footwear
Photo about 1930 by Cedric Wright
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 16, 2009 - 09:53pm PT
"Climbing the North Palisade. Huber and Clyde going up the snow chute, 1920." Photo by Francis Farquhar


We've seen this one before. Photo by Cedric Wright, 1930

The famous pack, Bishop Pass about 1931
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 16, 2009 - 09:59pm PT
The 1927 Chevrolet, Baker Creek Ranch, 1956. Smoke Blanchard photo

Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 16, 2009 - 10:11pm PT
The Old Gaffer at his last Basecamp, Fourth Recess, August 8, 1970



Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 16, 2009 - 10:16pm PT
Ran across Smoke's version of the anvil story:

"It's not true that I carry an anvil in my pack. Only this little piece of iron to put in the heel for replacing triconis. That's something these go-light boys never think about. Some gaffer is always tearing out some nails and needing repairs. And anyway, if I want to carry a rock in my pack to keep me steady down the trail, that's my business."
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 16, 2009 - 10:19pm PT


"To sum up, for me there can never be another human being so completely in tune with his chosen environment -- the mountains -- as Norman Clyde."

Jules Eichorn
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Feb 16, 2009 - 10:32pm PT
DR thank you, pure gold, Sierra Heil indeed!
Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Feb 16, 2009 - 11:40pm PT
Wow,
Awesome content here! Thanks Doug.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 17, 2009 - 11:00am PT
Thanks for posting up, DR! You are mighty good at finding interesting tidbits to share.

Did Norman ever have a sweetheart besides the hills?
east side underground

Trad climber
Hilton crk,ca
Feb 17, 2009 - 11:06am PT
Norman Clyde = sierra O.G.
#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Feb 18, 2009 - 07:15pm PT
Yeah Steve and Doug! You all got me inspired and I looked in Chuck's books and found Norman Clyde of the Sierra Nevada and am reading a climbing story each morning. I also found copies of Close Ups of the High Sierra by Norman Clyde and Mountaineering in the Sierra Neveda by Clarence King. I have a lot of reading to do and it will keep Chuck close to me. I am starting to wonder about why we didn't move to the east side 30 years ago instead of Telluride. AH summers in the Sierra Nevada.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:56am PT
hey there all... say, here is some more great history stuff!... we may have seen the early part of it, and even posted... but say, here is some more...

bump!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:59am PT
hey there DR... say, i liked that anvil story, his version...
:)
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:15am PT
DR

Great shots-now that you have finally overcome the scanning learning curve, I guess we will all have to be a bit more judicious in what we post of you!

cheers

guido
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:39am PT
i'm not stunned by threads much anymore, but this is a stunner.


thx so much for posting up
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2009 - 10:45am PT
Kathy- great that you are inspired to dig around! Not all is well written but the source material is usually very engaging. Norman is one of the most compelling characters ever and I can never get enough insight into his world. Curiousity lives on the ST!

You and Chuck landed in Paradise, it just doesn't match the description in the brochure. LOL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2009 - 11:47am PT
Any details on her life?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:48am PT
Kathy -- your post finally prompted me to say something -- at least a little -- about Chuck over on his thread. I so honor the man, but I'm not sure why he has been so elusive for me to write about.


Guido -- That's a wonderful shot, and thanks. Of course there will be retibution, but meantime help jog my holy memory. Where? When? I like the background but can't quite place it...
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 19, 2009 - 05:08pm PT
DR

You know what they say,"If you remember the 60s, you weren't there."
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 22, 2009 - 03:30pm PT
Norman and Winnie Clyde on their honeymoon in Santa Barbara, 1915


There is very little information about Norman's wife Winnifred or their short marriage. What follows is all taken from Wynn Benti's Foreword to his 1997 edition of Clyde's Close Ups of the High Sierra. (Bishop: Spotted Dog Press -- I think this one is in print)

We all appreciate his republishing Close Ups from its original 1962 La Siesta Press edition, now long out of print. Here's the cover of the original:




I may be stepping Wynn Benti's copyright here by reproducing both the photo and a few of Benti's words. I'm only trying to satisfy the curiosity of those who love Norman and are awed by his life. Wynn Benti writes:

"IN September of 1997, Walt Wheelock, who had revived and published Norman Clyde's "Close Ups of the High Sierra" thirty-five years earlier, stopped by my studio on his way back to southern California from Washington.

[One more aside here, because Benti refers to Wheelock's having "revived and published" Close Ups. Here's a reproduction of where they were first published, in June 1928 in a magazine called "Touring Topics" put out by the Automobile Club of Southern California, back when it was a two-day drive to get to Bishop. The magazine is now called Westways.]


"Walt quietly mentioned that Norman Clyde had asked him to dedicate "Close Ups of the High Sierra" to his late wife "Winnie." However, Walt never included the requested dedication to Winifred Clyde in either the original or later editions of "Close Ups of the High Sierra," quite possibly because he thought it "too sweet" for a mountaineering guide. Two months following his visit, Walt passed away at the age of 88, and whatever reasons he may have had for not including Clyde's dedication in the original book sill forever remain a mystery.

"Not much is known about Winifred "Winnie" May Bolster Clyde, born on May 1, 1890 in Johnstown, New York. She moved to Pasadena, California with her family in 1903. Ten years later, she went north to Oakland, where she studied nursing and worked at the Alta Bates Sanitarium. According to her family, it was in the Bay Area that she met Norman Clyde approximately one year before they married. They were married in Pasadena on June 15, 1915. They spent their honeymoon in Santa Barbara with Winnie's sister Roberta, ahd her husband, Ross Austin. Following their honeymoon, they returned to San Francisco by ferry, the most convenient form of transportation between coastal cities at the time. She continued to work as a registered nurse while Clyde taught.

"In odd contrast to the mountains that would later completely absorb Clyde's life until his death, much of his life with Winne, as documented by family photo albums, was spent near the sea. Before she met Clyde, Winnie was photographed in a fine had and coat, seated alone on the rocks at Land's End in San Francisco looking west, toward the ocean. Other photographs show the young couple strolling across the sand at Land's End, or sitting on the rocks watching the waves break upon the rugged northern California coastline.

"It is believed that Winnie contracted pulmonary tuberculosis while working as a nurse in Oakland. When she became sick, Clyde looked after her as he could, until it became clear that she needed more care than he was able to provide. They returned to southern California where she was admitted to the La Vina Sanitarium in Altadena, a small community located among the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains hear her family's home in Pasadena. According to members of her family, Winnie Clyde actually died on February 14, 1919, however her mother may have changed the date of her death to February 13 for religious reasons. There is much speculation among family members as to why the date may have been changed from Valentine's Day to the preceding day, but the real reason still remains unclear.

"Not long after her death, Norman Clyde lost touch with Winnie's family and never attempted to contact them again. He moved to the east side of the Sierra Nevada and became fully absorbed in his lifelong obsession with climbing. He never talked about Winnie to anyone and most people who knew him assumed he had never been married. In fact, only a few of the mountaineers who climbed with Clyde in the Sierra Nevada knew he had been married, but never knew what happened to his wife or what her name was. Clyde never remarried and was never known to have been romantically linked to another woman.

"It wasn't until 1990, on a visit to the Eastern California Museum in Independence, that the missing puzzle piece was put into place by Winnie's nephew, Mr. Walter Bolster of Sacramento. While visiting the museum, Mr. Bolster had a brief encounter with an individual who insisted that Norman Clyde had never been married. Following this somewhat unpleasant interlude, Mr. Bolster obtained a cop of the Clyde marriage certificate as proof, which he forwarded to the museum for their collection.

"Almost forty years after the fact, we honor Norman Clyde's request to dedicate "Close Ups of the High Sierra" to Winnie."



Wynne Benti -- from those of us who have followed in Clyde's footsteps and thirsted for more information about the enigmatic man, thank you for illuminating this mysterious and painful chapter in the life of our hero. Much appreciated.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2009 - 06:16pm PT
I am looking for a copy right now! Thanks for the tip and the excerpts, Doug.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2009 - 07:20pm PT
I just came across this wonderful depiction of the Young Gaffer in Joe Kelsey's Sheridan book.

drljefe

climber
Old Pueblo, AZ
Apr 4, 2009 - 07:56pm PT
SG- I couldn't help but to notice the time of your post, hmmmm.

Big thanks to DR and you guys for posting all this archival stuff- it's fascinating and inspiring, and stoking my fire!

I can't wait for some of that snow to melt...
dmalloy

Trad climber
eastside
Apr 4, 2009 - 08:52pm PT
someone made a timely bump here, and probably did not even know it. The Eastern California Museum, in Independence, will soon be presenting an exhibit dedicated to Norman Clyde -

http://www.countyofinyo.org/ecmuseum/ecmdexhibits.htm

Legendary mountaineer Norman Clyde roamed the high Sierra from his home in Independence and in the 1920 and ‘30s recorded more than 130 first ascents, and topped out on every 14,000-foot peak in California (all but one are in the Sierra). His legendary Sierra Club High Trips attracted notables such as Ansel Adams and the top climbers and mountaineers of the day. “The pack with legs,” is how Clyde has been described, a testament to his ability to traverse all types of terrain with an 80-pound pack. The Norman Clyde exhibit at the Eastern California Museum, which will run from mid-April 2009 until Fall 2009, will review those well-known aspects of Clyde’s life, but will also delve into lesser-known events that shaped the rugged mountaineer. The Museum is located at 155 N. Grant Street, in Independence, and is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends and weekdays. Call 760-878-0258
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2009 - 09:38pm PT
That exhibit was mentioned upthread but thanks for the update. I hope that I can check it out.
MisterE

Trad climber
One Step Beyond!
Apr 8, 2009 - 11:40am PT
bump for one of the Great Ones
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 11, 2009 - 01:28pm PT
I recently came across this loving obituary in the 1973 AAJ. Thomas H. Jukes clearly had a good grasp of Norman's life.

Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Apr 11, 2009 - 01:42pm PT
Very nice.

As a side note it reminded me of an old cowboy I met up the Icicle Creek above Leavenworth, WA around '70 or '71. He was living in his '60 Bonneville as he could stretch out nicely in the back seat. He hardly had a thing in that huge car, just a few camping essentials. Hard to believe but we were the only 3 people up there camping at the time. He just drove around the west "seein' the sights and drinkin' the water". I don't recall him even taking one of our offered beers. I do remember him telling us that if you took all your clothes off the deer and the bear wouldn't be afraid of you. He told us that like it was fact but didn't demonstrate it. As I look around me at all the crap I've accumulated I think about the ol' mystic cowboy.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 11, 2009 - 03:02pm PT
A few years ago I had just left on a second solo attempt at Middle Pal. A short way up the trail where it makes a long south facing traverse to the parking lot I ran into a couple of local hunters glassing the meadows over on the north facing slopes on the opposite side of the Bear Creek drainage. I told them the deer were thick in the flat up the south creek the month before and I was on my way up to Middle. One of them pointed out the prominent peak in the background and I corrected him that that was Norman Clyde peak and Middle wasn’t visible from there. It kind of surprised me that a local wouldn’t know that, but on reflection they were hunters and ranchers not mountaineers.

That got one of them to talking. He’d known Norman as a small child when they’d lived in the canyon. (possibly at the lodge or it may be I’d run into one of the Parker boys) They always knew when he was heading out on an extended trip into the Palisades as a day or two before leaving he’d stop by and complain to his mother that he’d closed up his cabin had all the food packed up and didn’t know what he was going to do for dinner. That was her queue to invite him over. His mom would prepare a huge spread and they’d listen to his stories.

The next morning they’d get up and see Norman off with his huge pack. After a short wait his dad would tell him and his brother that he’d give them a dollar if they could catch up with Norman. They always caught up with him sitting on the same rock about a half mile up the trail making a big deal of how they’d caught him. They always got their dollar.

Didn’t get Middle on that trip either. The weather just wouldn’t cooperate as the previous time. When I did do it the next year we ended up starting on the regular third class route, but by ignorance or providence went too far right and ended up doing Clyde’s route. Cleaner and more aesthetic than the normal route and up there with one of the best “4th class” routes I’ve ever done.
rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 11, 2009 - 05:59pm PT
Bump for such a great thread. Thanks, Doug, for your contributions.

As another aside, I'll add one of my own... I've long admired Clyde's contributions to the history of the Sierras, but I never got a chance to meet the man. However, in the mid-80s we bought a fine cabin (on Forest Service land) at 8,000 ft. inside the Whitney Portal. Now, the family from whom we bought the cabin was fairly well-to-do and they built a rather posh cabin in the mid-40s. The Knoeppel Cabin was one of the few that had a telephone which joined the Lone Pine Hotel to the Portal Store whose wires ran tree-to-tree all the way to town.

According to John Knoeppel, Norman Clyde shared a few meals at the cabin after coming out of the Whitney region. So I'm guessing he wasn't quite the recluse some suggest. I always think about Clyde when I'm sitting down to dinner up there.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 13, 2009 - 12:02am PT
Just an unofficial list of all Norman's first ascents from a book of his letters.




Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Apr 13, 2009 - 01:46am PT
Yikes! How come it isn't called the Sierra Clyde?
DrDeeg

Mountain climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 28, 2009 - 11:58am PT
I was on a hiking trip with my father in the Dusy Basin around 1953. We ran into Norman Clyde and Jules Eichorn, and my father did the regular south-side route on North Palisade with them. Norman would have been 68 then. My father said he moved slowly, but he never stopped and he didn't speak, and that after several hours, the pace seemed much faster!

Later in his life, Norman became a good friend of Steve and Mary Thompson. In the fall of 1972, we visited him at the Big Pine sanitarium 6-8 weeks before he died. We had planned to take him out for a picnic, but he was pretty weak by then and the nurses thought it was a little too cold for him outside.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 4, 2009 - 08:07pm PT
Bump for old times sake...
Dudeman

Trad climber
California/Idaho/Beyond
Jul 5, 2009 - 03:51am PT
Norman Clyde was unreal! I visited the Eastern California Museum in Independence recently and was blown away by the exhibit and the Man. Check it out.
Thanks to Andy Selters the exhibit curator
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 9, 2009 - 04:01pm PT
Norman Clyde fans, CHECK THIS OUT!
Bill Oliver is giving the same lecture on Norman Clyde TWICE!
Here is his description of the events from an email that he recently sent to me.

As noted in the current Sierra Echo, I'll be presenting "Norman Clyde- Climbing & Guiding with the Sierra Club" at the ECM this Sat (7/11) at 7:00 pm - held not in the museum but in the Owens Valley School complex on the east side of town: on Clay at Kearsarge. The Multi-purpose room is in the center bldg of the complex.

TWO major updates:
1. Legendary mountaineer and rock climber Glen Dawson, 97, will participate with me at this presentation! Glen's first climb, at age 15, with Norman was the first ascent of Table Mtn on the Sierra Club's 1927 High Trip.

2. This program will repeat the following Tuesday, 7/14, 7:15 pm at Glen's retirement home in Pasadena - free and everyone welcome.

Villa Gardens: 842 E. Villa St, Pasadena 91101 (basically the Foothill Fwy, 210, at Lake Ave. Free parking in the church lot entrance just west of Villa Gardens; meeting in the Villa Vista Rm on the fifth floor.

Not to be missed, always to be remembered. Thx & NTW, Bill

Friends,
How many times do you drive through Independence enroute to a great weekend
of climbing or skiing? Yeah, well how often do you stop at the Eastern California Museum on the way?

You may recall, in Part VI of my Sierra Echo "Tribute" series about Norman Clyde, Glen Dawson and Jules Eichorn (April-June '08), I cited an upcoming Norman Clyde Exhibit at the ECM. Delayed from last fall to this spring, this very special exhibit is now set for its grand opening on Sat, April 18th. Opening festivities, running from about 2:00 to 6:00, will include food and drink. Around 4:00 Andy Selters will talk about his Clyde research and his co-curating the exhibit. Other special presentations later in the year are still being arranged.

The ECM has long been a repository of Clyde memorabilia. However, special displays have been crafted highlighting Norman's long life in our Sierra Nevada and elsewhere; also material from his pre-Sierra days. Many significant items have recently been donated or loaned to the museum for this exhibit, and very likely more will arrive during its run as collectors learn of it.

The Clyde exhibit should run until late in the year. I was told that visitors will have an opportunity to record their personal stories about Norman! Admission, as always, is free. Open seven days/week; 10:00 - 5:00.
Go for it - and pass the word.
http://www.inyocounty.us/ecmuseum/ecmdexhibits.htm
Hey, maybe someone would like to write a review for the Echo and/or Desert
Sage! I hope to make it out myself around early summer or so.

Be safe, have fun - and see the exhibit.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2009 - 11:41am PT
Event bump!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2009 - 09:59pm PT
Some questions have persisted about Norman visiting the Wind River Range in Wyoming. While doing some research I came across two ascents of record. Norman in the company of Edith Holliday, J.Holliday and B.Pitcher did the FA of the Northeast Ridge of Bollinger Peak at class 3 and the southwest slopes of Dogtooth Mountain at class 2 both done in 1941.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
I feel really fortunate that he was so very outgoing and wanted to share himself with us. I thought about him when I climbed Mount Mitchell later in the trip and the places that he had seen and things that he had done. What a life!
MattF

Trad climber
Bend, Or
Mar 13, 2010 - 02:59pm PT
First off, a bump for this awesome thread.

Then, my main point:

Dan Arnold (another Stanford grad and Sierra hardman with more than a little bit of Clyde-ness in him) recently published his first book entitled "Early Days In The Range Of Light: Encounters With Legendary Mountaineers."

Its a fantastic book, and I think anyone who is a fan of Clyde would enjoy it very much. Basically the premise for the book is that Dan chose 15 of the most historic first ascents in the pre-rope days of Sierra Climbing, and went back and repeated those ascents using the same technology that the first ascentionists used.

So, for example, Dan repeated Muir's ascent of Mt. Ritter, where he left from Tuolumne Meadows with a "pocket knife, a book of matches, and three crusts of bread tucked into his belt," and spent three days working his way cross country, up to the summit of Ritter, and back. I believe that Dan had some pretty cold nights cursing Muir for not bringing a blanket on that one...

In the book, he then takes one chapter per mountain, weaving the characters and the story of the FA in with the tale of his own ascent. Its an immensely captivating and inspiring book, full of wonderful history, and I think many of the people with interest in this thread would find it an excellent read, and I highly recommend it!

Here's a link to where you can find it:

http://www.amazon.com/Early-Days-Range-Light-Mountaineers/dp/1582435197/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

*Full disclosure notice: I went with Dan on a couple of his FA-repeating trips, including the last chapter in the book retelling the ascent of Underhill Couloir on Thunderbolt peak, which was probably the peak more than any other where ropes made their introduction to the Sierra. Clyde, of course, was on that climb, along with a full bevy of historic Sierra climbers. Dan had bought this gnarly 100' section of splintery manila rope from a hardware store, and faithful to the FA, Dan gave hip belays up the 4th class sections of the couloir. I can't say that I felt all that confident in the rope, and I certainly made a big effort to not need the belay. Dan also didn't use any synthetic clothing, and looked Clyde-like with his button-down wool shirt and wide-brimmed hat. Definitely a cool experience to be part of.
TripL7

Trad climber
san diego
Mar 13, 2010 - 11:03pm PT
426- "Thought about his boots on Clyde..."

Hey, no kidding...

And how about on the East Face of Whitney? I recall thinking the same thoughts my first time up to the base Aug/72.

The man got around.

This is a great thread...it inspires!

EDIT: Thanks Steve G.
BBA

Social climber
West Linn OR
Mar 14, 2010 - 11:35am PT
http://www.archive.org/stream/richardmountain01leonrich#page/n73/mode/2up

the dark side
BooDawg

Social climber
Paradise Island
Mar 15, 2010 - 05:48am PT
I first encountered the LEGEND of Norman Clyde around 1960 when my dad bought a copy the “Blue,” 1954 edition of “A Climber’s Guide to the High Sierra.” Perusing its contents, I couldn’t help but notice that Clyde had been all over the Sierra and had done WAY more FAs than anyone else on non-technical but ESPECIALLY on early ascents that REQUIRED ropes and related clatch.

Around 1961, my Dad took my brother and me to Mt. Shasta where there was/is a Sierra Club cabin. The day before we climbed Shasta, we read an old journal that was in the cabin that documented 2 climbs that Clyde made on a July 4th weekend in some year that I can’t remember. On the 3rd of July, he climbed the mountain, a 7,000’ ascent and descent in some phenomenal time which I can’t remember exactly but which was less than 4 hours. After resting a day, on July 4th, he re-climbed Shasta on the 5th, lopping off at least an hour from his ascent 2 days before.

During the late 60’s, he’d show up at, and camp near, Parson’s Lodge, in Tuolumne Meadows where climbers would camp at the nearby Sierra Club campground. I remember especially well spending time there with him and Sheridan Anderson in 1969. Sheridan and Norman were somewhat like lost brothers, born a generation apart. They shared an old-time view of the world, and at the time, they both lived in the Owens Valley. Norman enjoyed Sheridan’s easy laughter and his humorous scenarios. Norman’s smile was not the broad grin that Sheridan’s was, but as I watched carefully and listened to Sheridan’s humorous imagery, I could see Norman’s smile, such as it was, erupt on his face in appreciation of his friend’s sense of humor.

Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Mar 15, 2010 - 11:28am PT
BooDawg, Very nice addition to this wonderful thread!

BBA, Your addition is also appreciated for its historical
worth. That's why my wife won't let me drive around with
weapons in the car, not that many people ever pass me,
especially on a dirt road!
mooch

Trad climber
Old Climbers' Home (Adopted)
Mar 15, 2010 - 11:41am PT
Not to steer a bit OT. Thought I'd throw this in for folks to check out.

A few of us took on a very initmate project about 7 years ago to memorialize Walter Starr Jr. I'll apologize if a few of the hypelinks no longer work.

A summary of Pete Starr's tragic death on Michael Minaret, including those who were part of the search team:

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2003/novdec/features/starr.html

A trip report I submitted to both the AAJ and the Stanford Alumnus, including summitpost.org.

http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/169164/Missing-In-The-Minarets-Part-II.html

Stanford's article on our efforts:

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2003/novdec/features/plaque.html

The plaque we placed on Michael Minaret, near Starr's final resting place.




Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 16, 2010 - 02:56pm PT
Just a bump for Norman to get all his stories together:

Norman Clyde’s Favorite Norman Clyde Story

It was August in the late 50s. My brother-n-law, Bob, and I were hiking up the north fork of Big Pine Creek on my second backpacking trip- ever. We came upon a strange procession descending the trail. A group of eight military men, Marines as I recall, in fatigue uniforms were bearing a litter with a black plastic bag – a bag we realized probably contained a human body.

One of the litter bearers with three stripes on his sleeve asked as we approached, “You guys going as far as Third Lake?” We replied in the affirmative and he asked if we would be willing to share some of our food with a guide that was camped there. Sure we would! He then explained that, yes, indeed, they were carrying a body - a person who had been missing for a week and had just been found the day before by the guide camped at Third Lake. The deceased had been discovered in a couloir near the base of Temple Crag. The sergeant threw in a little aside that sort of caught our attention – the guide found the body by listening for the buzzing of flies.

As Bob and I approached our proposed campsite at Third Lake an old man wearing a funny hat - an old campaign hat – came bounding out to the trail. “Would you fellas be willing to share some food with me?,” he asked. Realizing this must be the sergeant’s “guide”, we said we’d be happy to. He explained that he was expecting an air drop that afternoon, but if it didn’t happen he would be hard pressed for food. We reassured him and he disappeared back to his campsite.

We set up our camp just above him, just off the trail, next to Third Lake. We had camped in this same spot the prior year on our first Sierra backpack trip. We liked the site because it was next to a rock outcrop that jutted out into the lake allowing one to sit on its top, thirty feet above the lake’s surface, and stare directly across at Temple Crag’s north face.

Late that afternoon, we heard the drone of an airplane ascending the canyon. A single-engine Cessna appeared in front of Temple Crag. We figured this must be the old guide’s airdrop coming up. We stood on top of the rock outcrop and watched as the plane circled in front of Temple Crag and then, quite abruptly, turned and headed straight toward us. The pilot had descended to about 100 feet off the lake’s surface and as he reached our perch, he cut the engine, opened his door and yelled at us, restarted the engine and banked around - headed back to the other end of the lake. I didn’t quite get it all, but Bob figured he had yelled, “Did they get the body out?”

Okay, they did, but how the hell do we tell the pilot? He headed back straight at us again. This time he cut the engine, opened the door and flipped a piece of paper out.

Now, get this. It was an 8 ½ by 11 sheet folded in fourths and it fluttered down directly into Bob’s hands. Again, the plane restarted and retreated to the end of the lake. The note read, “If they got the body out, hold hands, if they didn’t, wave.” As the plane approached us on its third pass we were holding hands and the pilot waggled his wings indicating he understood. Now what?

Here he came again. This time quite a bit higher off the lake and he kicked out a small red parachute with a pack dangling from its shrouds. Down it came directly into the top of the highest pine tree in sight, right next to the trail. As we stood staring up at it, our brains still a little rattled from all the aerobatics, when up the trail at an accelerated pace came the old guide. “Hey, that’s my food! One of you young fellas want to scramble up there and get it?”

Bob was already checking out the lower branches and immediately started up. He cut the shrouds and the pack dropped to the trail. “That pilot was Bob Symons, a superb bush pilot, thanks boys” the old guide yelled over his shoulder as he hustled back down to his camp. I stood staring up at the chute, still draped over the top of the tree, and decided that it would be a great souvenir. So up I went. After a long struggle, I managed to untangle the shrouds and returned to the ground with my red nylon/silk trophy and enough pine sap to last Mickey Mantle two seasons.

We didn’t see the old guide again that day and he was gone the following morning before we had our campfire lit. Remember those days, when you could have a campfire at Third Lake?

In 1963, after having been introduced to mountaineering and having read everything I could on the subject,
I realized “the old guide” was the legendary Norman Clyde.

Thirty years later, having moved to Bishop, California, I attended the first annual Norman Clyde birthday gathering at Bishop’s Mill Pond Park . These were potluck affairs to honor the memory of Norman Clyde. At this first meeting, of the only three we held, the custom developed for those with fond memories to stand up before the crowd and relate their favorite Norman Clyde stories.

It was at this first gathering that I told my airdrop story—my favorite and my only Norman Clyde story - and after the telling, a young man walked up to me and asked if I knew the name of that bush pilot – I hadn’t mentioned his name in this first telling. I told him, yes, it was Bob Symons. He blurted out, “I thought so. He was my grandfather!”

I told my favorite story again the following year at the second Norman Clyde birthday gathering, and again, as I finished, I was approached - this time by a fellow high school teacher. He said, “You know I used to invite Norman over for dinner about once a year in his later years when he was barely existing at Baker Creek. He really appreciated those dinners and he loved to tell stories. In fact, the one you just told was his favorite! He would chuckle throughout especially when telling about the tree climbing. He was 73 years old when that took place. He couldn’t have climbed that tree to save his soul. Thank God for the boys.

At the third gathering, and regretfully, the last, I stood up when my turn came up and announced, “I’m not going to tell MY favorite Norman Clyde story this year. I’m going to tell NORMAN CLYDE’S favorite Norman Clyde story.” And then proceed to tell the airdrop story again.

Years later, another colleague at the high school asked if I would help his wife with a computer installation. I taught computer science at Bishop Union High School and was often asked to help people with computer problems. I agreed and when I entered their apartment I was astonished by the plethora of airplane photos that papered the walls. I asked if she was a pilot. “No, but my father was”, she answered, “He was a well known bush pilot around here.”

“His name wasn't Bob Symons was it?” I asked in disbelief. “As a matter of fact, yes it was”, she answered. That initiated an immediate retelling of the 1958 airdrop. She was not at all surprised by the engine cutting and yelling at us. She said when she was about nine years old she used to fly with him and he would often use that tactic to communicate with the ground. She said it used to scare her the hell out of her.

Bob Symons was killed in a glider accident only a few years after he dropped that pack for Norman.
BooDawg

Social climber
Paradise Island
Mar 16, 2010 - 05:45pm PT
Excellent, well-told story, Don. I can see the whole chain of events unfolding...

I want to add a few more pix to this thread.


Tom Gerughty joined Sheridan, Norman, and me one night for our evening meal, bringing his camera. It seemed that Norman recognized that he was an unique historical figure who was also very humble and who went about his life in his own way, even in the face of people taking his picture and asking him questions about various adventures that made up parts of his life.


Dick Danger

Trad climber
Lakewood, Colorado
Apr 8, 2010 - 06:19pm PT
Badass!!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2010 - 07:47pm PT
Curt Chadwick, one of Chuck Kroger's Stanford Alpine Club chums, told me a story while I was interviewing him about running into Norman on a Sierra Club outing. Norman was telling stories around the campfire and would bluntly prompt folks if they weren't paying proper attention! I can't recall if it was a sharp remark or handy pebble that was the means of delivery! LOL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2010 - 11:06am PT
Range of Light Bump!
stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
Aug 8, 2010 - 12:52pm PT
Scan of a tiny contact print. Reads "Clyde roping on Mt Hutchinson, 1933"
Mt. Hutchinson?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 28, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
A very light portrait of Norman taken when he was clearly still lit up by the climbing. No photographer listed in the August 1960 Summit.


Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Aug 30, 2010 - 10:55am PT
Gotta underline the excitement of Daniel Arnolds's chapters on Clyde. They are the crescendo of a really fine book. In spite of a biography of Clyde published in recent years, Arnold's chapters are the most psychologically probing study yet of the Old Gaffer.

Hey, Boodog -- Nice shots of Clyde and Sheridan together! Sheridan was nobody's fool, and he just couldn't get enough of Clyde. He said, "If you want to do some real 5.10, write about Clyde!"

I did, a little, but both those guys had a range to them that was pretty hard to contain in words.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Nov 8, 2010 - 03:36pm PT
THE MAN
Gene

Social climber
Nov 8, 2010 - 03:54pm PT
Stonefly,

"Clyde roping on Mt Hutchinson, 1933"
Mt. Hutchinson?


Two thoughts.

Mount Humphreys?

Clyde made several FAs of routes on North Palisade. The first ascent of the peak was by Hutchinson.(???)

I don't have dates available now, but will see if I can make a match.

g
BBA

climber
OF
Nov 8, 2010 - 07:37pm PT
Clyde climbed the Snow Cone in the Valley - see page 41

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/yosemite_nature_notes/14/14-5.pdf

Here's the 1932 article referred to - see page 4-5 - the photo is much bigger

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/yosemite_nature_notes/11/11-5.pdf

FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Nov 9, 2010 - 10:51am PT
BBA very nice
more norman clyde stories please.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Nov 19, 2010 - 09:26pm PT
bump for the MAN --
pix4u

climber
Sonoma, CA
Jan 9, 2011 - 11:14am PT
I met Norman Clyde in 1963. Smoke Blanchard took me over to where he was staying as a caretaker of some cabin. As we talked the conversation drifted to the Sierra trips he planned for the future. As he was talking about this his gaze was towards the Sierra, and I managed to capture on film the sparkle in his eyes. Photo attached.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2011 - 12:40pm PT
Ed- Do you have any shots of the elusive Smoke?

Thanks for sharing your work with us here!
pix4u

climber
Sonoma, CA
Jan 9, 2011 - 01:23pm PT
Steve,

I'll have to look through my archives. I might or might not have any photos of Smoke. I'll put it on my list of things to do, which is getting longer all the time. At the time I took the picture of Norman Clyde, he was the living legend. Smoke was not yet the legend he has become now. Is there a separate thread on Smoke?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2011 - 03:34pm PT
No dedicated Smoke thread that I have come across in my time here on the ST although his name is starting to pop up frequently!

He certainly desrves a thread for all his exploits including being so good a friend to Norman.
BuddhaStalin

climber
Truckee, CA
Jan 9, 2011 - 04:28pm PT
Clyde is the f-ing man. Anyone who would pull a shotgun on one of his turdy students for vandalizing his sh#t is my buddy.
BBA

climber
OF
Jan 9, 2011 - 10:16pm PT
I get interesting e-mail now and then. Here are a couple of Clyde items from one correspondent...

I briefly knew the Sierra legend, Norman Clyde and I also briefly knew Warren Harding (not the president, rather the pioneer big wall climber of the 1950s to 1970s). I met Clyde in 1971 when I was living in Bishop in the Owens Valley. Smoke Blanchard -- one of my climbing pals when I lived there -- introduced me to Clyde. Smoke and I spent an afternoon with old Norman chatting about Sierra mountaineering history. It was during that amazing visit that Norm told me that it was he who found Walter Starr's body on Michaels Minaret back in the early-1930s after the official search parties had given up. Can you imagine the goose pimples I got when I realized Clyde was divulging to me what he had never made public before? He did not go public with that well-guarded 40-year-old secret until two years later, not long before he died.

It was after Clyde's "confession" that I became obsessed for many years to go climb Michaels Minaret to see if I could find Starr's bones. I did a few recon scrambles around the minaret over the years during my ascents of Banner and Ritter, scoping out the various climbing routes, but all of them are quite dicey and I would not commit to a solo ascent. Try and try as I did to enlist some of my climbing pals to join me in the Starr's bones quest, there were no takers. I finally had to give up that dream. Starr's burial ledge high up on Michaels Minaret remains a well-guarded secret.

and

I told you in a previous e-mail that in 1971, about two years before Norman Clyde's death in Bishop where I was living at the time, that Smoke Blanchard and I went to see old Norman one afternoon. Clyde was in rapid decline, quite ill, but his mind and memories were sharp. He was the age at the time of our visit with him that my dad is today, 85.

You know Smoke was killed in 1989 in a freak car accident just south of the Owens Valley.

Smoke introduced me to the Buttermilk bouldering area just north of Bishop, off 395. Smoke and I and a few other Bishop climbers would get together in the Buttermilk and go from boulder problem to boulder problem. 15 years later I climbed for a week in 1986 with an entourage of world-class climbers -- including Doug Robinson -- in the Buttermilk, not knowing then that Smoke also introduced Doug Robinson to the Buttermilk many years earlier as he had me in 1971. I just learned this fact from a Google search.

This gets even better. In 1986 I also climbed Thunderbolt Peak (14,000+ feet) in the Palisades group of the mid-High Sierra with Doug Robinson. We did a variation on one of the established routes, and Doug said it constituted a new route. He never submitted this fact for publication, but we did it and that's all that counts in my book. Turns out that the very first ascent of Thunderbolt Peak was by Norman Clyde and Jules Eichorn in 1931, the year of the first entries into the Starr-King register.

This all gives me goose pimples, Bill. Norman Clyde was Smoke's good friend. Smoke took me to meet old Norman. Smoke introduced me and Doug Robinson to the Buttermilk. Doug and I climbed Thunderbolt Peak together, the same craggy spire that Clyde and Eichorn did the first ascent on in 1931, and then 46 years later in 1977 I paid written homage to both men in the Starr-King register!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2011 - 12:53am PT
Nice share Bill!
pix4u

climber
Sonoma, CA
Jan 10, 2011 - 09:09pm PT
I took it as a challenge to scour my files for Smoke Blanchard pictures. I found one. It's hard to tell it is Smoke, but it is.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jan 11, 2011 - 04:20pm PT
Thanks for sharing - great stuff!
hossjulia

Social climber
Eastside
Jan 11, 2011 - 04:37pm PT
AWESOME!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 22, 2011 - 09:28pm PT
Sheridan Anderson's take on Clyde, from Off Belay (1973).
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 22, 2011 - 11:17pm PT
Woodyst- "My kind of guy; He use to blow away marmots with his old 45 Colt revolver that he carried..."

Mighty Hiker- "Did he eat the marmots, too?"

Woody surmised that Norm's appetite for marmot was a contributing factor for his disinvitement from the Sierra Club.


Only half spoken in jest.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 14, 2011 - 03:18pm PT
Old Gaffer Bump!
marv

Mountain climber
Bay Area
May 14, 2011 - 05:06pm PT
I like Clyde's glide. I've lost count of how many "Norman Clyde FAs/4th Class" I've soloed over the years. Pretty amazing what he did onsight with primitive gear.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 14, 2011 - 05:59pm PT
Hardware...he don't need no stinkin' hardware.

Just the basics please...
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 14, 2011 - 06:16pm PT
The old fashioned, unconscious way of training for climbing was to carry a heavy pack. Not in such a specialized way as modern training techniques and climbing gyms, but it does so many things, improves balance, strengthens footwork, etc. It kept guys like Norman Clyde in rugged good shape for a long time.

I have a trout fishing book by Charles McDermand, about hiking in the Sierras in the 1930's and 40's. The gear these guys hauled around was heavy!!
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
May 15, 2011 - 12:08pm PT
bump for the old man.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 16, 2011 - 05:05pm PT
Don already posted this shot but here is a larger version.

Such a classic shot of Clyde in his prime!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2012 - 12:00am PT
Range of Bumps!
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 7, 2012 - 12:07am PT
Dropped in on the Independence museum last year.

The Clyde exhibit was so popular they've made a good portion of it permanent.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2012 - 12:12am PT
The man is certainly worth the space!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Jan 7, 2012 - 09:20am PT
How many here have done a "Norman Clyde class 3" (i.e., class 4-5)?

Here is my brother topping out on a "Norman Clyde class 3" face (the slabs directly below George).
JerryA

Mountain climber
Sacramento,CA
Jan 7, 2012 - 12:00pm PT
In June 1978 ,John Fischer showed me a Norman Clyde stash near Contact Pass in the Palisades . It was a metal garbage can filled with junk & gear .John said that there were others in the Palisades and that one time he found a dead marmot in one. Maybe Doug knows about them .
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 21, 2012 - 07:48pm PT
Super Secret Bump...
RoryKuykendall

Mountain climber
California
Apr 21, 2012 - 08:28pm PT

The high peak on the left is Mount Wilbur, one of Mr. Clyde's many first ascents in Glacier National Park. Clyde's route ascends a gully on the far left. It goes at about 5.1(YDS). The rock is awful and the exposure is severe. He made the first ascent in the summer of 1923, on a visit in which he climbed 36 peaks in 36 days, including 11 first ascents.

Respect Norman Clyde.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Apr 21, 2012 - 09:36pm PT
Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Apr 22, 2012 - 12:20am PT
To Sierra Ledge Rats question above: I bet so many folks have done a Clyde route on this site...NE Face of Middle Pal is my first thought...so many others, the guy is a legend!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 22, 2012 - 10:04am PT
As someone wrote earlier, Clyde is the Sierra Neveda.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 31, 2012 - 08:14pm PT
Under a mantle of snow...
east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Dec 31, 2012 - 09:30pm PT
North ridge of Morrisson , sporty 3rd class . East face in photo. gotta luv the "mantel" { I'm really not a fan of mantels :) }
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Dec 31, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
To Sierra Ledge Rats question above: I bet so many folks have done a Clyde route on this site...NE Face of Middle Pal is my first thought...so many others, the guy is a legend!

That route was one of my first ascents in the High Sierra back in the 1970s.
Roadie

Trad climber
Bishop, Ca
Jan 1, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
I found Clyde’s name in a summit register last summer. There were only five other names in it. I’m not telling where, just go to Bishop and start wandering. West.
That same day I walked right into a bear. I’m so lucky!
stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
Jan 1, 2013 - 03:45pm PT
A fastidious man as well.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 31, 2013 - 03:10pm PT
If a touch excessive at times...LOL


I finally found this classic shot of Clyde in Robert C. Pavlik's 2008 biography.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 20, 2013 - 03:42pm PT
Clyde Bump...
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Apr 21, 2013 - 12:11am PT
BEST THREAD EVER
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 5, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
I recently had a conversation with a fellow named Perry Mann who had some interesting history about the first ascent of the east face of Clyde Minaret.

Hopefully he will come on and lay it down for us.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jun 6, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
The OLD MAN sits on top looking down.
brotherbbock

Trad climber
Alta Loma, CA
Jun 6, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
Old people rule.
TwistedCrank

climber
Dingleberry Gulch, Ideeho
Jun 6, 2013 - 04:18pm PT
That dulfersitz shot indicated how Norman's nuts must have been fashioned from rough hewn rawhide thus offering him all the protection he needed.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jun 8, 2013 - 08:10pm PT
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jun 9, 2013 - 12:25am PT
It was only recently that I found out that Clyde died from malignant melanoma. guess there wasn't much sunscreen back then.....
Fletcher

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Jun 9, 2013 - 01:42am PT
A few years back, me and some of my kids and 10b4me (I think) stopped by the Eastern California Museum in Independence (http://www.inyocounty.us/ecmsite/);. There are a plethora (he'd appreciate that word, being a Classicist) of great Norman Clyde materials and artifacts there. I coulda spent a lot longer perusing them.

Eric
hunter4884

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 01:58am PT
a couple of words would explain this guy:
bad ass
(imagine using a static line as a lead rope!)
BuddhaStalin

climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 9, 2013 - 11:57am PT
Bumped by a Clyde fan for proper climbing content on superhomo
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jun 9, 2013 - 04:55pm PT
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jun 10, 2013 - 11:52am PT
bump
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 10, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
Amazing that Russell didn't fall until '26.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
Here's the check Robinson referred to in an early post:

Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:02pm PT
My livingroom:
10b4me

Social climber
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
thanks for posting that, Don
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:22pm PT
Beautiful picture, Don, did you take it?
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
No, I didn't take it. It's been around for years. I received this framed copy in sepia tone as a gift from an "old" sweetheart (actually she was considerably younger than me, 19 years younger - them days are gone forever).

Dick Beach (RIP) somehow got hold of a few negatives of Clyde's and produced these very attractive framed portraits. I was lucky to have received this as a birthday gift back in the 80s.
Spike Flavis

Trad climber
Truckee California
Jun 10, 2013 - 11:26pm PT
I wanted to name my son Norman Clyde.

But I was out voted one to one.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jun 10, 2013 - 11:30pm PT
Don, at 19 years younger she would be 61 and you would be "robbing the cradle" my friend.
Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)

Social climber
CO
Jun 10, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
This is a great thread. Weirdly, I have a cancelled check signed by Clyde. Given to me in 1989 by the late Dick Beach. Not sure what to do with it other than treasure the memory of both men.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jun 11, 2013 - 12:31am PT
Cam, scan it and post it!
Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)

Social climber
CO
Jun 11, 2013 - 01:40am PT
Uh, it's in storage in a folder someplace. Maybe later, Peter. I have piles of stuff like that I need to get to the AAC or the Yosemite outfit that I think Ken Yager runs....
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jun 15, 2013 - 11:50am PT
Please when you have time post it.

Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)

Social climber
CO
Jun 15, 2013 - 12:53pm PT
I couldn't find the Clyde check but stumbled on this note from Andre Roch....plus letters from Bonington, Scott, Eric Kohl, Randy Leavitt, Tami Knight, Dave Foreman (EarthFirst!), Sir John Hunt, and oodles of other folks. Man, I need to have a bonfire! Who keeps this kinda junk?

Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)

Social climber
CO
Jun 15, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
Note from Sir John. He led the first successful expedition to climb some mountain in Asia, I think...

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 15, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
"Who keeps this kinda stuff?"

That would be me Cameron!

See you in Boulder!
Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)

Social climber
CO
Jun 15, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
Looking forward to it, Steve.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jun 15, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
Before you burn it post it up here, please.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jun 16, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
post up
Powder

Trad climber
the Flower Box
Jun 26, 2013 - 03:39am PT
...was searching for Norman Clyde and found this awesome thread which I had missed!!

Bump for the man!

Bump for Norman Clyde Class "3" & "4"!
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jul 4, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Aug 22, 2013 - 08:37pm PT
bump
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Nov 14, 2013 - 11:25pm PT
bump
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2013 - 07:36pm PT
Whitney Bump...
allapah

climber
Mar 13, 2014 - 04:15pm PT
worked on this a long time but nobody wanted it, thought i would offer it to this cool thread...


Purificatus Non Consumptus

Tuesday, August 14, 1934. The search for Anna and Conrad Rettenbacher had been in progress for a week by the time Clyde arrived in the Minarets. He passed a long train of horses and mules heading out as he was heading in. Good, thought Clyde, make the job easier. The forest rangers and the CCC boys had found no bodies (and bodies, Clyde was certain, were all that was left of the German couple) but this meant nothing: Clyde had seen neither ice ax nor Tricouni Nails in the whole troop. So the Germans, he knew, would be up on the glacier.

The pattern of these affairs tends to repeat itself, thought Clyde. First, the ground crews assemble at the trailhead. They start to miss the comforts of home, draw the presumptive conclusion the bodies have disappeared into a bergschrund, and return to the fleshpots. This time would be no different. Soon the Blow Flies would be buzzing along to show Clyde the way to the Rettenbachers.
Except this time, it was buzzards. As Clyde neared the camp at Lake Ediza, the fact became increasingly obvious that the Germans were up on Banner Peak. Cathartes aura, thought Clyde: the purifiers, way up here... Tomorrow he and District Ranger Mace would go up on the snowfields and pinpoint the location of the bodies. Mace was easy company, Clyde knew, an older man who would stay out of trouble on the green slopes if Clyde had to cut steps on hard snow.

But that night, staring into the campfire at Lake Ediza, Clyde experienced a whopping anxiety attack. None of the other men sitting round the fire noticed anything; Clyde sat silent and morose as usual. But on the inside, the Old Gaffer was working violently to suppress an image: not an image of the Rettenbachers, lying up above them, getting picked apart by vultures… No, it was last year's cadaver, strewn up and down Michael Minaret, pieces of which they had hastily interred exactly a year ago. Pete Starr... thought Clyde... Walter. Clyde felt a sensation rising behind his solar plexus he mistook for gag reflex. He brought every fiber of his will to bear upon screwing his face down tight.

Clyde excused himself from the communal campfire and retired to his pine bed, but thoughts kept him awake. One year ago, exactly... He had been on so many body recoveries— why was he haunted by Pete Starr's? Over the whole search, Clyde remembered, not without a tinge of opprobrium, had hung the deadline of a party: Farquahr's highfalutin' soiree in San Francisco, to which not one person had thought to invite Clyde, though they spoke of it incessantly around him. They had searched until the very eve of the party, when suddenly they declared Walter Starr Jr. "vanished in the bergschrund" and made off for their Studebakers parked at Agnew Meadows.
Not only that, thought Clyde, working himself now into high dudgeon: some of the young fools just wanted to make first ascents. Even Jules… had he and Dawson not spent so much time on their so-called "Leonard" Minaret, they might not have missed Starr's body on the way down from Michael Minaret later in the day. No, thought Clyde. The search for Walter Starr Jr. had been a sham, a debacle. Though Clyde had never met the man, he felt he had known Starr personally, known him from the summit registers, known him as a man knows his own doppelganger. The sense of intimacy was too great for Clyde to bear. He hoped all this mental gobblety-gook would clear up before morning.

But that night Clyde had a very strange dream. In the dream (an astral projection, unbeknownst to Clyde) he was walking somewhere nearby in the Lyell Fork, or a place like it, ten or twelve miles from the actual spot where Clyde's body lay sleeping by Lake Ediza. He seemed to be walking down a winding trail through a dim forest, when he became aware of a shadowy figure walking ahead of him on the trail. The man's movements seemed a mirror of Clyde's, like two Brockenspectre hiking at a steady and considerable pace. The shadowy figure must have turned to meet him; Clyde found himself face to face with the man.

He was a hale fellow of around thirty, with an odd look about him: he seemed almost to be wearing pajamas, with luminous yellow boots, and a bright blue cap. Clyde figured it was another of the Naturfreunde from the German hiking club, until the man spoke in a peculiar, but decidedly American accent.
"No way!" said the stranger. "Norman Clyde!"
"Beg pardon?" replied Clyde.
The man drew an object from his pocket. For a split second, Clyde readied himself for a pistol, but it proved to be some sort of tiny camera.
"Sorry," the man mumbled, "phone's dead." He seemed to chuckle to himself. "Norman Clyde!" he repeated, then, "Sheesh!" But what he said next would get stuck in Clyde's head. The man looked at Clyde with blue eyes and said: "You know... I'm not where they think I am…"
The hoot of a Boreal Owl woke Clyde from his sleep. Never had the jitters like this before, thought Clyde.

Hiking up the scree slopes early next morning, Clyde kept glancing southward, hoping to catch a glimpse of Michael Minaret. Soon enough, however, Clyde came within sight of the first Rettenbacher. He could see from far off it was the woman— Anna, thought Clyde— stuck in the moat of the glacier.
Clyde planted his hand on his knee and craned his gaze upward to the cliffs above. Second person falls right after the first, he surmised.

Suddenly, Clyde knew he was going to be alright. He felt nothing. Steely cold. No need to waste time climbing over to her, he told himself. Job just to locate the body. Clyde began to fairly bound down the snowfield, where he soon espied Conrad Rettenbacher lying in bits and pieces up and down the slope. Clyde considered making a closer inspection, but decided better. Let the Supervisor pick up the pieces, thought Clyde, I have clients waiting in the Palisades. Clyde took a moment to pay his respects to the Ritter Range, and started down.

Ian McRae
December 2013
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 13, 2014 - 04:48pm PT
Very nicely written! But I'm not aware of Boreal Owls being seen in the Sierras. ;-)
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
May 14, 2014 - 04:14pm PT
Sewellymon, earlier, on page one, you mistook Our Hero for one of "the loyal opposition," a Stanfoo man. Not to quibble, but simply "to say," so that Clyde's name as a serious student is not slandered here, of all places, his own thread.

I trust Walt Wheelock's words, Sewellymon, which specifically state that Clyde went to UC Berkeley, like all Great Mountaineers of the Sierra Nevada should. Not only that, he left before getting his master's degree. Where have we heard that one before?

Norman enrolled in Geneva
College at Beaver Falls, but as he had had no formal schooling, he had several deficiencies
to make up at the prep level. Graduating in the classics from Geneva in June, 1909 he
immediately started west. He taught at several small rural schools across the country,
including Fargo, North Dakota, and Mt. Pleasant, Utah. One summer was spent at the
University of Wisconsin, John Muir's alma mater; another on a cattle spread in Utah.
Deciding that he needed more education to progress in the teaching field, he enrolled at
the University of California at Berkeley in 1911. Summers were spent in the mountains.
and in teaching at summer schools. One was at Elko, Nevada, where he spent his spare
time climbing in the Humboldt Range.
At the end of two years at the university, Clyde found that he still lacked one course in
Romance Drama and his thesis. He balked at the drama course, maintaining that Italian
plays should be read in Italian, French dramas in French; neither in English. He could see
no sense in struggling with a thesis that nobody would ever read after he received his
degree, so he quietly left the university without his master's degree.
--Walt Wheelock
http://www.owensvalleyhistory.com/stories3/norman_clyde.pdf


DO BEARS CLIMB IN THE WOODS
(celebrate the fact that they climb BETTER than us)

We are indeed a motley crew,
The climbers wearing gold and blue.
We're known for deeds of derring-do:
We put up a first ascent or two,
While conducting music in camp for you.
UC Bears! UC Bears!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
May 14, 2014 - 04:55pm PT
Doing a bit more research on Mr. Clyde's academic record, I came on this link.

I bow to the Road Genealogist/Scholar, who provides us with an obituary.

http://theroadgenealogist.blogspot.com/2011/03/two-mountaineer-obituaries-norman-clyde.html

Educated at five different universities, (held an AB degree and a sciences doctorate from Geneva College of Pennsylvania) he attended the University of Wisconsin, the University of California at Los Angeles and Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.

Mea culpa, Badgers, Troy and the Bruins.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2014 - 09:55pm PT
Ian- Thanks for sharing your piece with us!

This has been a really enlightening thread with so many different glimpses of Clyde.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 26, 2014 - 11:56pm PT
When I play word association what leaps to mind after Clyde is integrity.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 27, 2014 - 05:20pm PT
Norman Clyde Bump...
stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
Jan 20, 2015 - 07:20pm PT
You bumped him and look what happened!
http://www.thehighsierra.org/Norman%20Clyde%20Found.htm

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 20, 2015 - 07:24pm PT
Dick Butkus with the soul of Socrates.
Captain...or Skully

climber
Boise, ID
Jan 20, 2015 - 07:26pm PT
Excellent heap of pics.....TFPU, Stonefly.
Gene

climber
Jan 20, 2015 - 07:29pm PT
Wow! Thanks Stonefly.
Risk

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Jan 20, 2015 - 08:26pm PT
A treasure-trove! Thanks!
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
May 7, 2015 - 08:45pm PT
Bought this last week at a local used book store for $6.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 8, 2015 - 08:49am PT
Outstanding photo of the pack with legs!

I wonder what tickled him?

TFPU!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
May 8, 2015 - 09:08am PT
Great thread. Can't be bumped enough times. Wish it was easier to find threads like these...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 8, 2015 - 10:29am PT
nah000 has done a fantastic job of indexing historical threads of interest here.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2502862/SuperTopo-Climbing-Hall-of-Fame-Compilation
crankster

Trad climber
May 8, 2015 - 11:25am PT
Nobody did scree gators like Norman.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 11, 2017 - 07:04pm PT
Range of Clyde Bump...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 23, 2017 - 11:06am PT
Leatherneck rappel bump...
stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
Dec 24, 2017 - 04:19pm PT
From Lewis Clark's basement stash. Descent following Thunderbolt first ascent. Envelope dated Aug 13, 1931. Negatives in sad state.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Dec 24, 2017 - 06:51pm PT
TFPU
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 25, 2017 - 11:50am PT
How many films did you find in Clark's stash? I have heard that he shot a few.
stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
Dec 25, 2017 - 01:02pm PT

I have never tried to make a count but easily in excess of a thousand. Contact prints, negatives, glass lantern slides. This stuff goes up through 1938 or so. Everything later is at the Bancroft Library where this will eventually go. Slowly working my way through them as time permits.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 25, 2017 - 01:34pm PT
Good on you for taking the time.
Merry Christmas!
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Dec 3, 2018 - 08:30pm PT
Bump for the old Man!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Dec 4, 2018 - 07:13am PT
Stonefly, great stuff (and a great find). Thanks for sharing. Even then poor quality stuff is gold.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Apr 15, 2019 - 09:44am PT
Bump
telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
Apr 15, 2019 - 05:06pm PT

Thanks again Steve
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
Apr 15, 2019 - 05:29pm PT
I was admiring his peak last Monday
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 15, 2019 - 08:12pm PT
BowDag, thanks for the photo of Tom Gerughty, he was a friend, knew him back in '69.

About the heavy packs, they were common back then. I have a book YOSEMITE AND KINGS CANYON TROUT by Charles McDermand. (A great read about Sierra Trout fishing in the 1930's and 40's.) In the back of the book, he gives his food and gear lists for 10 day-two week trips, and it came to about 80 lbs. Back then, they packed in heavy, bulky stuff; fresh eggs, bacon, a canned ham, a hatchet, it all added up. They were real men.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
May 12, 2019 - 08:45am PT
Bump
stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
May 12, 2019 - 12:41pm PT
Norman's own photo. Recovered in 2014. Negative now at Eastern California Museum.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2019 - 07:20pm PT
Thanks for an excellent share, man!
Not very many photos shot by Norman that I am aware of...very special.
Cheers
stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
May 14, 2019 - 07:10am PT
Wait! There's more!
http://www.thehighsierra.org/Norman%20Clyde%20Found.htm
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 14, 2019 - 07:51am PT
Nice work folks!
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
May 14, 2019 - 08:03am PT
Wait! There's more!

awesome. thanks for posting.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
May 15, 2019 - 08:28am PT
Great photos TFPU
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