Kendal Speaker Profile: Glen Denny, Yosemite in the Sixties

This is the first in a series of Kendal Mountain Festival speaker profiles.

Glen Denny, Yosemite in the Sixties at Kendal Mountain Festival

TIME & DATE: Saturday 21 Nov: 5:30 pm
TICKET: £10.00. Click to Buy

Glen Denny, born in 1939, moved to Yosemite in 1958 and immediately began documenting the golden age of Yosemite climbing with his camera, capturing many first ascents on Yosemite's big walls and social life in the legendary Camp 4. His book, "Yosemite in the Sixties," published by Patagonia in 2007 features approximately 130 black and white digital slides showing major climbs of the Sixties and important characters of the period including Royal Robbins, Warren Harding, Chuck Pratt, Yvon Chouinard, and Tom Frost.

Yosemite by Glen Denny
© Glen Denny

Glen's work will be displayed at Kendal Mountain Festival- in the Intro bar at the Brewery Arts Centre - then on Saturday evening in the Town Hall Glen will discuss the images, give an insider's view of this important era through stories and anecdotes, and will invite questions from the audience.

Glen made the third ascent of the Nose, El Capitan, in 1963, with Layton Kor and Steve Roper and his list of first acents include:

- East Face of Washington Column (now known as Astroman), 1959, with Warren Harding and Chuck Pratt
- West Face of the Leaning Tower, 1962, with Warren Harding and Al Macdonald
- North Face of the Rostrum, 1962, with Warren Harding
- Dihedral Wall, El Capitan, 1962, with Ed Cooper and Jim Baldwin
- Kor-Denny Route, North Face of Sentinel Rock, 1963, with Layton Kor
- The Prow, Washington Column, 1969, with Royal Robbins

Glen Denny
© Glen Denny

Glen also made first ascents in the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru and the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. Originally self-taught he went on to study photography and filmmaking at San Francisco State University, where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree. His climbing films have won awards at several film festival and Yosemite in the Sixties won prizes at the Banff Mountain Book Festival and the National Outdoor Book Awards. Glen currently lives in San Francisco.

Glen told

'My only trip to the UK was in the 1970s, when I spent two weeks studying architecture and art collections. Unfortunately, I didn't have any time for climbing. I greatly enjoyed that trip and look forward to revisiting some of those locales, and some new ones. London has some interesting new buildings I haven't seen, and this time I hope to see Edinburgh. I am, of course, aware of the great contribution the UK has made to climbing history. I first got interested in climbing after reading about Whymper and Mallory. Frank Smythe's photo books were an early inspiration for my photography. I'm certainly looking forward to visiting the Lake District with its rich blend of climbing, art, and literary history.'

You can visit Glen Denny's website and see some of his images at:

Warren Harding on the first ascent of the west face of the Leaning Tower. 1961
© Glen Denny
Chuck Pratt (left) and Yvon Chouinard. 1969
© Glen Denny
Camp 4. Planning the ascent. 1969
© Glen Denny

The Kendal Mountain Festival 2009


The dates are 19-22 November and tickets are available now. Book online - - or by phone 01539 725133 - news as it happens at


Easily accessible from the M6 and by train and there are plenty of accommodation options in and around the town but you need to be on your toes as they fill up very quickly over the Mountain Festival weekend.

For all your questions, accomodation and travel needs go to here you will find all the information you should need for your visit to Cumbria, alternatively call the accommodation booking line on 0845 450 1199.

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