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Item #: OP361A-753
THE NAKED MOUNTAIN Elizabeth Knowlton 1933 1st ed Hardcover Fine
By Knowlton, Elizabeth
Price: $75.00

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New York, 1933, 1st edition. 335 pp, 29 b/w photos, maps. Black cloth hardcover. No dust jacket. Fine.

Account of the 1932 Nanga Parbat attempt by a strong German-American team that included Fritz Wiessner, Merkl and Aschenbrenner. It was the first attempt since Mummery's in 1895, and they reached about 7000 meters. This was a very early 8000 meter peak climb for Americans (or anyone), and it was highly regarded for many years. 

Elizabeth Knowlton, mountaineer and writer, consistently found her voice in climbing. Knowlton began climbing in the White Mountains at age seven.  The endeavor which proved central to her life and work was her attack on Nanga Parbat in Pakistan (Kashmir) with the other eight members of the German American Himalayan Expedition in 1932. Described by the Portland Press Herald as a painter who will `mother the expedition, Knowlton later countered, I lived for over a month in a tent in the snow high upon the mountain at over 20,000 feet. She was one of the first women ever to reach that elevation (the first was Fanny Bullock-Workman, who made two ascents of over 22,000 feet in the Himalayas in the early 20th century) and reported back weekly to major papers in Europe and the U.S. on the expeditions progress.

Knowlton considered herself more freelance writer than journalist, but her best writing is informed by a journalistic urge for clarity. Her continuing grief over the accidental death in 1932 of Rand Herron, the only other American on the GAHE, is manifest. She never married, but among her correspondents are a goddaughter Caroline Herron, daughter of Rand Herrons brother Davis, and a nephew by her brother Marcus P. Knowlton, also Marcus. Tirelessly pursuing both publication and intellectual discourse on salient issues of the day, Elizabeth Knowlton continued to hike the foothills when too old to climb. She died in Scituate, MA aged 93.

Knowltons two known published books are her story of the GAHE, The Naked Mountain, and a volume of poems, Grief is a Lonely Journey (New York: Comet Press Books, 1952). Also published were many of her articles about mountaineering, travel and culture. The fiftieth anniversary of her Nanga Parbat climb found Knowlton deep in a comprehensive chronological account of attacks on the mountain, a project which she never finished.

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