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Item #: OP145C-863
BELAYING THE LEADER Richard Leonard 1947 Sierra Club Pamphlet. Bradley Gilman's copy (Whitney-Gilman Cannon) See below
By Leonard, Richard, etc.
Price: $45.00


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San Francisco, Sierra Club, 1947, 33 pp, reprinted from the Sierra Club Bulletin, 1946. Pamphlet, Near Fine. Other than the article in the SCB, this is the first edition of Belaying The Leader as a stand alone book. 

This is the first reprint of the original article which later (in 1956) was expanded into a influential technique pamphlet that went through many printings. One of the seminal works on rock climbing, particularly as it was developed in America in the 1930s through the 1950s. Detailed description of technique, particularly the belay. 

The copy is SIGNED, ''Please return to B.B. Gilman.''

Bradley Baldwin Gilman 1904-1987 

This is part of Gilman's obituary in the 1988 AAJ: 

In 1928, Robert Underhill, the best American climber of the day, succeeded in climbing the first route on the great cliff of Cannon Mountain in Franconia, New Hampshire. Of the route, now known as the “Old Cannon,” he wrote, “This appears, from all examination to date, to be the only possible route up the cliff.” 

The next spring, before the ink was dry on Underhill’s pronouncement, Brad Gilman and Hass Whitney (Brad's cousin) climbed the spectacular ridge left of the prominent gash in the face.

Originally called the “New Cannon,” the route has since been memorialized as the “Whitney-Gilman.” Indeed they enjoyed it so much that they climbed down and repeated it, so that each of them could lead every pitch! In one stroke, they had advanced the level of American climbing by a whole grade. Even today, nine decades later, the Whitney-Gilman serves as the reference point for New England rock climbs.

When Gilman was at Harvard Law School, he became a member of the then fledgling Harvard Mountain Club, where he met Henry Hall. This contact blossomed into another life long friendship and it was Henry who encouraged and sponsored Brad’s attendance at the 1926 Alpine Club of Canada encampment at Moat Lake in the Ramparts. 

There, along with Bev Jefferson and Bob Cleveland, he accomplished the first ascent of Blackhorn Mountain, despite strenuous opposition to the venture from the ACC hierarchy. Brad delighted in describing how the old fogies were outwitted and their dire predictions were proven unfounded.

In an era when the style was to climb with guides, he and his companions flouted the convention by undertaking serious ascents without any. In 1927, with Bev Jefferson, he made the first guideless ascent of Mount Louis, near Banff. He was especially proud of his ascents in 1928 of the Grépon and of the Arête des Quatre Anes on the Dent Blanche, not the sort of things young American climbers were supposed to be doing guideless! On several occasions, Brad and his friends astonished the other inhabitants of Alpine huts by using picture postcards of the peaks as a means of working out a route, instead of utilizing a proper guidebook. 


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