It's 1873. Gore-Tex shells and aluminum climbing gear are a century away, but the high mountains still demand your attention. Imagine the stone in your hands and thousands of feet of open air below you, with only a wool jacket to weather a storm and no rope to catch a fall.
Daniel Arnold did more than imagine -- he spent three years retracing the steps of his climbing forefathers, and in Early Days in the Range of Light , he tells their riveting stories. From 1864 to 1931, the Sierra Nevada witnessed some of the most audacious climbing of all time. In the spirit of his predecessors, Arnold carried only rudimentary equipment -- no ropes, no harness, no specialized climbing shoes. Sometimes he left his backpack and sleeping bag behind as well, and, like John Muir, traveled for days with only a few pounds of food rolled into a sack slung over his shoulder.
In an artful blend of history, biography, nature, and adventure writing, Arnold brings to life the journeys and the terrain traveled. In the process he uncovers the motivations that drove an extraordinary group of individuals to risk so much for airy summits and close contact with bare stone and snow.