Viewing this stereocard of climbers ascending the last pitch up Mt. Hood in 1894 must have been a thrill, but the publisher enhanced it with a first hand account:
"After nearly five hours of steady climbing we have almost reached the summit--just above us, but at a terrific slope. Steep as it looks here, there are stretches on this final part of the ascent even steeper. Nearly all the way the pitch is on an average 45 degrees, but in one place it reaches the tremendous slope of 52 degrees. Adding to the difficulties of this perilous part of the climb, there is no life-line here, because the rough edges of the ice would soon fray and make it useless. So it comes to an end some distance further down and our companions here have depended for safety on the Alpine waist-line, by which they are fastened together. One, having reached the top, has braced himself by planting his alpenstock in the overhanging snow-cornice, and assists the others by keeping the rope taut. The last man on the line is cutting a footing in the ice for his next step upwards, and with the other hand he has driven his alpenstock firmly into the slope. We are now at an altitude of two miles above sea level, and the air is so very rare that the slightest exertion makes one's heart beat violently, especially in the case of those unaccustomed to mountain-climbing. Many people are affected too by mountain-sickness, a form of nausea as exhausting as seasickness; and to add to the discomforts of the climbers, the wind at the summit is keen and cutting and blowing in every direction. However, all these difficulties are slight obstacles, as we are in sight of our goal and a few more vigorous exertions bring us to the successful end of the climb. Difficult as it seems, a large number of women make the ascent of Mt. Hood every season, though it is true that many become exhausted and are obliged to await the rest of their party at points part way up."
Just what one wants to do is plant their alpenstock in the overhanging cornice. Many have gone over that way when those things break off.
Do we know who wrote the account?
Charlott on 10th May 2012 @ 7:12am
I'm notice he makes the point that many women become exhausted and have to stop part way up.
I am sure the top of the mountain constantly changes, but does it still look like this?
And yes Charlott, if you were trying to deliberately break off chunks of ice, you would start with shoving an object into the overhang. It breaks off the easiest.
l.e. on 10th May 2012 @ 8:11am
The account doesn't have a direct attribution, but some research might get you there. It says "See Outing August 1894" on the stereo card. "Outing" was a periodical.
Arthur on 10th May 2012 @ 8:51am
That wasn't very hard. The August 1894 issue of Outing had an article "An Ascent of Mount Hood" by Earl Morse Wilbur.
Arthur on 10th May 2012 @ 8:54am
Here's the full account if you'd like to read it:
Arthur on 10th May 2012 @ 8:57am
Let us keep in mind NOT only women pooped out before summiting, there were a lot of MEN also.
Charlott on 10th May 2012 @ 9:01am
Good find on google books, it’s an interesting account. This sentence made me chuckle:
“The parson usually stayed behind with the mules, to make sure that no more profanity was used than circumstances justified.”
Jim on 10th May 2012 @ 9:24am
The top of the Cooper Spur route still looks about the same. Notice Bonnie Butte at the left edge of the photo.
Ranger on 10th May 2012 @ 9:31am
It's a good thing somebody kept the mules from using too much profanity!
Jay on 10th May 2012 @ 10:09am
Interesting and descriptive article about the trip that Mr Wilbur wrote.
Earl Morse Wilbur, went on to become a Unitarian minister and quite a scholar.
l.e. on 10th May 2012 @ 7:09pm