Puslapio vaizdai

found her dead. She had, in panic or - and always did. He climbed Mount delirium, left her shelter among the King - a very pinnacly peak in the rocks, and, stumbling about, had fallen King-Goddard divide, which juts out near-by, striking her head against the westward from the main Sierran crest merciful granite. It has been always a near Kearsarge Pass — in this way, by haunting question with that man as to one of its seemingly impossible faces. whether he had done what a brave man Although at best it is a difficult mounshould do under such circumstances. tain, it has at least one fairly negotiable Knowing the mountain and the man, I face. He came down that way. believe he decided as a brave and experienced mountaineer should have

II decided.

I know of another fatal accident on American mountain-climbing, at all Long's Peak. There may have been still events as I am limiting it, is rock-climbothers. This one came about through ing. There can be a good deal of snow a man's inexperience and foolishness. on the symmetrical cones of the old He carried a loaded revolver in his hip- volcanoes, like Rainier, Baker, Hood, pocket on his climb. He fell in a bad and the others that are the high mounplace, and the cartridge under the ham- tains of Oregon and Washington; and mer was exploded, the bullet shattering there are elsewhere occasional snowhis hip. His one companion did what patches and a few scattered, insignifihe could to drag him along the narrow cant, persisting remnants of the once ledge on which he lay; but little progress mighty local glaciers that did so much was possible, and, after hours of suffer- in the old days to give the Sierras and ing, the wounded man died. The com- Rockies their present configuration. panion was a prematurely old man when But these are rarely in the way of the he finally got down the mountain and climber; in fact, the ice-remnants have found helpers to go up for the body. to be sought out to be seen, and are

I have always maintained that there among the special goals of the mounshould be three men together on moun- taineers. Two or three in the Front tain climbs, one to get hurt, one to stand Range of the Rockies, near Estes Park, by, and one to go for help. But most now included in the Rocky Mountain men hunt mountain-tops in pairs; some National Park, are among the most like to go alone. I knew one such, accessible. besides John Muir, who, with his bit of Climbing the American mountains, bread and pinch of tea, almost always then, demands no special knowledge of went alone, — who did much climbing the characteristics and habits and danin the Sierra Nevada and took many gers of deeply crevassed glaciers, with chances. He used to carry a rope and, their thin snow-bridges, or of the bein difficult places, where he could not havior of snow when it inclines, under reach high enough for hand-grips, he proper weather conditions, to cornicewould tie a big knot in one end of his breaking and avalanche-making. But rope and throw it up until it caught it does require, for safety's sake, a confirmly above him. Then he would drag siderable knowledge of the character and himself up, without regard to the fact habits of various kinds of rock in varithat he probably could not get down ous states of firmness and brittleness, more than the uppermost one of these as met variously on cliff-faces or in narplaces by using his rope. He trusted to row chimneys. It also requires some finding a different and easier way down judgment as to the critical angle at

which loose rock may lie for the time could make camp in a last little group quietly, yet may not be stepped on with of tamarack pines practically at timbercareless confidence. It does not require line (about 10,500 feet here), and diropes

and ice-axes, but it requires hands rectly under a high northwest spur of as well as feet, and a steady head. Nar- this unclimbed mountain, which conrow ledges, hand-hold crevices on steep nected with its main peak by a long, faces, knife-edges, both firm and badly rough knife-edge. From careful study weathered, and long steep troughs of of the mountain from various points, it mixed snow, loose stones, and easily had been decided that the most likely excited granite-dust make earnest call approach to the peak-summit seemed to on the American mountaineer's nerve be this northwest spur and knife-edge. and confidence and expert judgment In our previous movements we had of the possibilities.

nearly encircled the great group of It is not always the highest moun- which the unclimbed peak was one, tain, of course, that is the hardest, even and members of the party had climbed in its demand on endurance, to say another mountain, not far away, mainnothing of skill. Our highest point ly for the sake of an orienting examinasouth of the Canadian border is Mount tion of the upper reaches of the resistant Whitney, yet it is but a tiresome steep peak. walk to its summit, after one has made The actual vertical height of the peak the long, beautiful, and inspiring forest- above our timber-line camp was only a and cañon-trail trip to its western foot. little more than three thousand feet, as Its eastern foot stands in a desert. A the Geological Survey maps attribute few miles north of Whitney is the slight- an altitude of 13,752 feet to it. But ly lower peak of Williamson, one of three thousand feet can be much more three closely grouped splendid Sierran difficult than five or six thousand. Hownotabilities (Williamson, Tyndall, Bar- ever, if the summit could be reached at nard). But Williamson offers every- all, it could probably be done in a day thing to the climber which Whitney, from our high camp. So the climbers — except for its height and position, does properly three — made a five-o'clock not.

start, aiming directly for the summit I had the privilege of spending a few of the spur. The going, though steep, weeks again last summer in the Sierras, was fairly good and entirely safe, and after an absence of years. Our small the top of the spur was reached in a party was composed of members of the few hours. But the knife-edge, bad Sierra Club, that organization which enough where it was continuous, revealhas done so much to make the Califor- ed itself so deeply notched at several nia mountains known and accessible to points, that it proved wholly impassmountain-lovers; and one of our group able. It was necessary to try a difwas intent on attempting to get up a ferent way. The north face of the certain peak which has long resisted the knife-edged spur was as impossible as attacks of climbers — not that it has the knife-edge itself. But the south been so often tried, but that the few face is gashed by a number of narrow tries have been made by climbers well steep troughs leading almost up to the known for their success with difficult main peak, any one of which might mountains.

prove itself, on trial, to be possible, but We, therefore, pushed our pack-ani- any one, or all, of which might be unmals up a great side cañon tributary to feasible because of interrupting cliffs the greater cañon of the Kern, until we not visible from the climbers' point of


view. To select and try one was, how- For example, while the three more ever, the only chance.

venturesome members of our party After a careful study, one was chosen were capturing the Black Kaweah, — that revealed indications of a trickle of when one is soft from five or six years of water coming from some upper snow- being kept away from high altitudes, bank, and seemed to be more winding and has had only a few days to accusin its course than the others; hence, tom heart and muscles to severe work would offer more protection than these in them, one must not be among the from rolling stones. The climbers, more venturesome, I busied myself therefore, worked their way from the with providing one of the courses of a knife-edge down, and laboriously across proper dinner that should be ready for several other troughs until, finally the returned climbers. Right past our reaching the selected one, they turned camp ran the clear, cold water of a their faces upward again. There was stream that had its sources only a mile much loose rock in the trough, and or two farther up the cañon, in the snowsome small, but troublesome, cliffs run- fed lakes of a great glacial basin, or ning across it; but by skillful work it cirque, of successively higher levels was successfully followed to a point under the Kaweah summits. Nine where a short acrobatic scramble gave Lake Basin contains even more clear them the very summit. By half-past little green lakes than its name inditwo the three men stood, or rather cates, and their overflow makes a stream crouched, closely together on the dizzy- that has helped materially to deepen ing point of the highest pinnacle of the the great glacial gorge that extends from mountain — and the Black Kaweah

the upper cirques down to the Grand was no longer the unconquered peak Cañon of the Kern. In this stream it had so long remained. The near-by swarm hard-fighting, firm-fleshed rainRed and Gray Kaweahs had surren- bow trout, not too sophisticated, or dered in earlier years. So the Sierra Club yet too inexperienced. A Royal Coachhas no more scalps to bring home from man and a Black Gnat made a good that fine mountain group. But there killing combination, and I soon had a are still other peaks, both in the main sufficient number to furnish the second Sierran crest and in some of the great course of the camp dinner. lateral spurs, or divides,' that run out And then there was time for some west from it, which offer pressing invi- rambling and scrambling over the grantation to climbers who like to be the ite faces and great rough blocks of the first to scale untrodden summits. upper cirques, and even over a low di

vide that separates the Kern from the

Kaweah watershed; to look down the III

precipitous gorge of trivially named I referred at the beginning of this pa- Deer Creek, - what a confusing host per to the surplusage of pleasant expe- of Deer and Sheep and Bear Creeks rience that the American mountaineer there are in the mountains! - which may enjoy in the high mountains of finds its swift and tumultuous westward California and Colorado, - one really way into the Middle Forkof the Kaweah, ought not to slight Washington, Oregon, or 'crow water,' as the Indian name Idaho, and Wyoming in speaking of translates itself. Along the upper American mountaineering, — in addi- stretches of this magnificent gorge —

— tion to that of the actual climbing. This or cañon, to give its character its propexperience is that of the trail and camp.

are some vertical cliffs and

er due

sky-scraping pinnacles and smooth- of Volcano Creek, which flows into the surfaced, onion-skinned granite domes, Kern from the foot of Mount Whitney. which are yet to have their fame in These trout were originally isolated in chronicles of Sierran scenery.

that part of the stream which is above The trout-fishing in the higher Sier- the high falls, not far from the streamras and Rockies is a kind of fishing mouth; but they have been transplanted apart from other kinds, even from other into numerous streams and lakes of the fishing for trout. To get to it is an ad- Kern and Kings watersheds. They have venture; to live a few weeks, or even a brilliant scarlet belly, roseate lateral days, where it may be had is an exalt- rainbow line, and general yellowishing experience. It is so much more than red tinge over the whole body. They fishing. It is realizing how the primi- do not seem to grow very large, but are tive granite core of the earth, and ice curiously long and slender for their and water and time have combined weight. They are reputed to be unusuto make great mountains, great basins, ally vigorous fighters; but the few that great moraines, great cañons. It is I caught in the single stocked lake of learning to know the giant trees and Five Lake Basin above the Big Arroyo dwarfed alpine flowers. It is seeing were tame compared with the native close at hand the realities of the bitter Rainbows of the Arroyo itself. struggle of life with boreal nature. Besides trout, the Sierran and Rocky "Timber-line' is one of the strange and Mountain streams are the home of a revealing places of earth, with its mis- few other interesting animals. There shapen, scarred, fighting pines and fir used to be many beaver, especially in and juniper, and swiftly growing fra- the reaches where the Colorado streams grant flowers, which expand their bril- flowed through the more level glacial liant colors in the short season of warm parks, which are characteristic of the sun and melting snow, to attract the Rockies just as the narrow, flat-floored, few hardy butterflies and bees that vertical-walled cañons like the Yosemflit away their brief lives amid sur- ite, Hetch-Hetchy, Tehipite, and the roundings that awe and humble the Grand Cañons of the Kings and Kern greater animals and even man. Shrill- are characteristic of the Sierra Nevada. barking marmots and curious little And there are the fascinating watersqueaking guinea-pig-like conies perch braving ouzels, that teeter, half-subon great granite blocks, to stare and merged, on the lips of little falls, as they challenge the human intruder in these seek out the larvæ of the water-insects. upper levels of earth, and dive out of Among these insects are stone-flies and sight in the dark crevices as he turns to may-flies and, especially, many kinds stare back at them.

of caddice-flies, which make their proBut the trout themselves are reas- tecting cases out of tiny pebbles or suring. They may even be of the very granite grains, and sometimes out of sort you know in the meandering brooks glittering golden bits of iron pyrites of New England meadows. For many and half-transparent mica - houses of of the Sierran lakes and streams have gold and glass and shining jewels. been stocked with trout varieties for- Finally, there are the curious neteign to their geography. One meets winged midges, known unfortunately speckled Eastern Brook and brown only to professional entomologists, and Loch Leven in some of these waters. to too few of them, whose few species Most famous and most wonderful to see are scattered all over the world where are the bizarre Golden trout, originally swift, clear, and cold mountain streams ican army,

are. The small, slug-like larvæ of these the Great Spruce Forest on the flanks delicate flies cling by ventral suckers to of Flat Top and Hallet's Peak in the the smooth surfaces of the stream-bed Front Range of the Rockies, near Long's over which shallow water is running Peak, in which the hermit thrushes swiftly. They cannot tolerate sluggish played a part. A college companion, or soiled water. Their food is chiefly Fred Funston, later the hero of the minute fresh-water diatoms, which capture of Aguinaldo and one of the often grow in felt-like masses on their best-known major-generals of the Amerown backs. The slender-legged, thin

and I had gone up into winged flies may be seen occasionally the forest, with a single burro as packflitting about in the overhanging foliage animal, from our summer camp on the of the stream-side, or among the great Big Thompson in Willow Park, to try boulders that half block the streams to get a deer, in order to vary our longwhere they break through terminal continued camp diet of bacon and trout. moraines.

We were rank tyros as hunters, and But besides the streams that help probably could not have injured any give the mountain regions beauty and deer with even the best of opportuniinterest and life, and provide the purest, ties; but we had no chance to prove or softest water for the mountaineer's disprove this, as we saw no venison dedrink and bath, there are the great for- spite all care and pains. ests forests great in extent and made We did see, however, an animal we of great trees. These forests are of had not come to see. This was a big special magnificence in the Sierra mountain lion. We had made a hasty Nevada, but the lower pines and upper camp in the upper reaches of the forest spruces of the Rocky Mountains form in the later afternoon of our arriving, fine forests, the spruce, particularly, and had turned Billy, the burro, loose, often running along the range-flanks in to nibble at anything he considered a miles-long unbroken zone, at an alti- edible in the camp neighborhood. Then tude of (roughly) from nine to eleven we had hurried out with our guns, each thousand feet and even higher. The by himself, to post himself at what he trees are not large, as large trees go, should think a vantage-point to see but are nearly uniform in size, and the such deer as should come conveniently forest is almost clear of undergrowth, wandering through the forest. I had and is soft and dark and still.

lain doggo for some time near an old Of birds there are few, but some of trail, and dusk had come on so rapidly, them are of special interest. Among and the forest had become so unnecesthese are the noiseless, ghostly camp- sarily still, that I had decided to get robbers, or moose birds, which suddenly back to the cheering companionship appear from nowhere in your forest and comfort of the camp-fire, when I camp, boldly flying down to your very was suddenly frozen into immobility food-bags or camp-fire to beg or steal a by the sight of a great mountain lion free meal. Less quiet are their cousins, silently padding along the old trail only the Clark crows, or jays. But most a few rods from me. What with long beautiful of voice are the Western her- lean body and long lifted tail, that lion mit thrushes, which fling out their rip- took an amazingly long time in passing pling liquid notes at early dawn and a given point. And just as it was by, twilight, to echo through the long forest and out of my sight, it carelessly let aisles.

slip from its throat a blood-curdling I remember one special adventure in cry, half-bestial, half-human,


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