I received a birthday card from my Aunt today, so I called her to express my gratitude. Auntie Annie was a flower child in the sixtes and grew up hanging out with Ken Kesey, Frank Zappa and Jerry Garcia. She once went to Eugene court in defense of love as an ingredient in bread (they won the case). During our conversation I asked her opinion on the difference between our current socio-environmental movement and her activist experiences during sixties and seventies. I often wonder if our present social and environmental concern will be overshadowed like the energy crisis that proceeded the excessive eighties? Will we return to our Hummer marketing, clear-cutting past like relapsing alcoholics? I asked my Aunt what seems different about todays movement. She said today there is so much science to back the movement that we won’t be dismissed as a bunch of stoners.
Annie and her old crew come to mind when I look through the “Whole Earth Catalog”. I find it interesting that the author initiated a public campaign to have NASA release the satellite photo of the earth as seen from space. Stewart Brand was a visionary, realizing the effect this image would have on our society and using it on the cover of his 1969 catalog. Earth photographed from space was the most powerful tool for educating people about the necessity for environmental conservation. People were able to visualize our planet as a singular interconnected environment with no “away” where we can throw things. This is even more clear today as we realize coal burning in China melts glaciers in Greenland which floods fishing villages in Indonesia.
Speaking of glaciers…
Thank you Ali for passing me the “Whole Earth Catalog” open to a page discussing climbing techniques. On the adjacent page I saw a summary of the first edition of “The Freedom of the Hills”. I own the 6th edition of the mountaineering bible, and consulted it for glacial travel techniques that morning. Coincidentally I had just e-mailed my parents as a safety precaution for a Saturday climb:
Hey guys I’m headed to climb the north east route up Colchuck Peak. It’s 18 pitches of 5.8. Carl Kilmt and I are leaving today around 2pm we will most likely park a blue subaru at Stuart lake/Mountaineer creek trail head, (10 miles outside of Leavenworth) hike to colchuck lake and bivvy. Saturday we will climb and should be back to the car late that night or maybe Sunday mid day.
It’s not too technical. Leavenworth ranger station 509-548-6977.
Will try to call Sunday night or Monday morning.
The next evening Carl and I would be descending two thousand feet on forty degree glacier in the dark using techniques explained in that book. Although it may exist with in a fringe group, “The Freedom of the Hills” continues to be by far the most comprehensive publication on mountaineering techniques and safety.