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MISSING IN THE MINARETS: THE SEARCH FOR WALTER A. STARR William Alsup 2001 1st ed Hardcover
By Alsup, William
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CA, 2001, 1st edition. 215 pp, many photos. The death of Walter Starr in 1933 in the Sierra is one of the great mysteries of American mountaineering. William Alsup has recreated what happened to the young climber, whose body was found by Norman Clyde 90 years ago. Fine-New Hardcover with dust jacket.

In the summer of 1933, 30-year-old Walter 'Pete' Starr, Jr. set off on a solo expedition in California's Sierra Nevada in order to survey the landscape along the new John Muir Trail. In addition to exploration, his purpose was to gather notes for a guidebook he was writing. An experienced mountaineer, Starr was also a lawyer with a San Francisco firm and the scion of a prominent family. When he failed to come out of the mountains at the appointed time, his father became concerned. Several days passed; concern gave way to alarm.

A search effort was mounted, involving some of the most famous mountaineers in Sierra history. An intense search over the course of several days in the vicinity of mounts Banner and Ritter as well as on the spectacular Minarets yielded promising clues but no firm results. In the end, the searchers gave up in despair, packed up their camp and filed grimly out of the mountains to home. All of them, that is, except one: the legendary Norman Clyde. When all others had surrendered hope, he alone persevered. What he found in his solitary pursuit became the basis for several generations of stories told around Sierra campfires. Now William Alsup has provided us with a definitive historical account of those fateful August days almost seventy years ago.

Missing in the Minarets is part mountaineering history, part detective story, and part photo album. It is 100 percent engaging reading. Alsup's lucid prose is complemented by the inclusion of numerous well-reproduced photographs, some of which are historical and others documentary images made by the author himself. It would seem that Alsup is ideally suited to write a book like this. As a recognized Sierra historian (author of the excellent Such a Landscape!, which recounts William Brewer's 1864 California Survey), a skilled photographer, an enthusiastic mountaineer, and a former San Francisco trial attorney now serving as a federal district judge, he applies his many-sided genius to sorting through a complexity of evidence in order to provide his reader with a clear and compelling account of an important episode in the social history of the Sierra Nevada.



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