American Alpine Club - Legacy Series Fri Night Vid

© American Alpine Club

For this week's Friday Night Video slot we have a series of short profiles of some of America's most influential climbers. The American Alpine Club commissioned the series to pay tribute to the visionary climbers.

Glen Denny was a photographer and shot some of Yosemite's most iconic images. He documented the ascents and debauchery of Camp 4's visionary dirtbags during the late 1950s through the 1960s.

Allen Steck began his climbing career in Yosemite in 1947 and over the next few years, his routes helped to usher in the so-called Golden Age of Yosemite climbing. Steck went on to establish first ascents around the world. His 1965 ascent of Mount Logan's Hummingbird Ridge in the St. Elias Range, Alaska, has never been repeated and is considered among the most challenging climbs in the mountaineering history.

Betsy White started climbing in 1955 at 17 years-old and has since traveled and climbed in over 60 countries, from the Americas to the Middle East, Europe to Africa, and beyond. She and her husband Gene explored the Pakistani ranges widely, having been stationed there in the 1960's by the Peace Corps. In 1980, the only woman on a self-funded expedition to Makalu on the Nepal-Tibet border, White spearheaded a historic high-alpine rescue when a fellow climber fell ill with cerebral edema at 22,000ft.

Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld's 1963 ascent of the West Ridge of Everest has been described as "one of the most extraordinary accomplishments in the history of mountaineering... among the grandest adventures imaginable,'' by Jon Krakauer. More importantly, their ascent ushered in the modern era of mountaineering, where ascents are made fast and light, focusing more on the intrinsic value of the route than the summit itself.


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