|Mount Robson, British Columbia, first ascent 1913|
|The Nose route at El Capitan,|
Warren Harding, 1957
Mountaineering started earlier in North America, with the Duke of the Abruzzi climbing 18,000 foot Mt. St. Elias in Alaska in 1897.
Rock climbing in North America started to emerge as a separate specialty in 1930s, with some Berkeley kids methodically figuring out the safest ways to belay (before, ropes seemed to add danger almost as much as they lessened it -- e.g., cutting the rope on the Matterhorn in 1865 saved the last three of the seven climbers). From the late 1930s to the early 1950s, modern American rock climbing was largely worked out on the 1000' face of Tahquitz Rock in Southern California. Focus then shifted to the big walls of Yosemite Valley, with a Golden Age of roughly 1957-1970.
Anyway, I'm not going to recommend you all rush out and read a 30 year out of date history of climbing. It's just something that appeals to me, personally.
And that's why I named this post "Women."
I read this old book because it was one of seven picked out for me by my old neighbor lady across the street. A surgeon at her church had died, and the heirs said they didn't want his large library of books. So she decided to give them away to her acquaintances, based on her intuitions about which books each recipient would most like.
Out of the seven she chose for me, I'd already read (and quite enjoyed) two: the memoirs of Frank Capra and Robert Novak. I'd always felt kind of guilty about not reading another: "A Bright Shining Lie," although it turned out to be overrated when I started to read it (too long). And I was absolutely blown away by this old mountain climbing book, and liked the other three books.
In other words, my neighbor did a ridiculously good job of picking out seven books that would appeal to me personally. My impression is that, in general, women are a lot better than men are at this kind of task of noticing, remembering, and applying idiosyncratic traits about individuals.