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ESCAPE FROM LUCANIA 2002 1st US ed Hardcover DJ Fine SIGNED/INSCRIBED by David Roberts
By Roberts, David
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New York, 2002, 1st US edition. 206 pp, b/w photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

SIGNED/INSCRIBED by David Roberts


The incredible story of Bob Bates' and Brad Washburn's 1937 first ascent of 17,150' Mt Lucania in the Wrangell St Elias Wilderness, and 100 mile hike out, a near death march for survival. 

This short but sweet look at the ascent two Harvard buddies made of Mt. Lucania in the Yukon Valley in 1937-at the time, the highest unclimbed North American peak at 17,150 feet-is a welcome respite from the high-tech, thrill-a-minute climbing tales that have descended like an avalanche. With their friendship cemented in the elite ranks of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, the brash Brad Washburn and the more reserved Bob Bates decide to explore their 'passion' for Lucania, but are immediately faced with hardship when their pilot, who lands them at an unexpectedly slushy base of the mountain, is unable to return to pick them up. Roberts's narrative shows how the resourceful duo decided to climb the mountain and then head more than 100 miles on foot to the nearest town, dressed in clothing that 'essentially consisted of layers of wool and cotton.'

In this day of high-tech expedition gear, it's good to know that Washburn's headgear was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police hat. Roberts (True Summit), a longtime chronicler of adventure and exploration, deftly details a time when 'the American public remained almost completely ignorant of mountaineering.' Roberts's book reveals the true story behind one of the earliest and most remarkable expeditions of the 20th century.

Now in their nineties, in 1937 Bradford Washburn, age 27, and Bob Bates, 26, climbed to the summit of 17,150-foot Mt. Lucania in the Canadian Yukon, at that time the highest unclimbed mountain in North America. Washburn and Bates had been left stranded in the Yukon's Walsh Glacier at the start of their journey, when their pilot was unable to return with two other team members and part of their supplies after his landing site had become a 'sea of slush,' forcing them to hike more than 100 miles across unexplored territory. Roberts describes their expedition in vivid detail: what they ate (beans, soup, raisins, bacon, and dried beef); the weather (snow, rain, and fog); and the dangers involved (hidden crevasses, lack of sleep, inadequate gear, and no medical kit). Roberts draws on conversations with Washburn and Bates and quotes from their diaries. Some of Washburn's photographs from the expedition augment this hair-raising adventure story.

David Roberts continues to write award-winning books and articles that are published worldwide. He made several pioneering, significent first ascents in Alaska including the Wickersham Wall on Mt McKinley, Kachatna Spire, East Face of Mt Dickey, etc. He co-authored with Bradford Washburn the magnificent book, Mount McKinley, The Conquest of Denali and is in 2006 ghost writing Ed Viesturs story of his 8000 meter climbs.


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