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“Exploration of the Sierra Nevada” (1925)
by Francis P. Farquhar


Other Sierra Club Explorers

Other pioneers of the Sierra Club group who made valuable contributions to the knowledge of the high mountains during the decade following 1892 deserve more extended mention than is possible within the present limits, but they should at least be enumerated. Among them were: Robert M. Price, Louis deF. Bartlett, Cornelius Beach Bradley, T. P. Lukens, W. L. Richardson, William R. Dudley, C. Mulholland, William L. Hunter, A. W. de la Cour Carroll, Howard Langley, M. R. Madary, Warren Gregory, Dr. Emmet Rixford, Charles A. Noble, James S. Hutchinson.

In 1899 Dr. and Mrs. David Starr Jordan, with a party of friends from Stanford University including Professor and Mrs. Elwood P. Cubberley, Professors George M. Richardson and Vernon L. Kellogg, and others, visited Kings River Canyon and climbed several of the peaks at the bead-waters of Bubbs Creek. 104

Since 1900 the efforts of the Sierra Club explorers, supplemented by those of many independent parties, have been directed towards finding improved routes and opening up new passes. In this they have co-operated with the surveying parties, the Forest Service and the National Park Service, and with the several counties and the State of California. The culminating achievement of these endeavors was the construction of a through trail from Yosemite to Mount Whitney, dedicated by the State of California as the John Muir Trail. Under the state appropriations, trails over Muir Pass from the San Joaquin to the Kings, and junction and Shepherd passes from the Kings to the Kern, were constructed.

Two important connecting trails remain to be built over routes discovered and tested in recent years. A way suitable for pack animals was long sought between the head-waters of Roaring River in the basin of the Kings to Kern River Canyon. Such a route had been used by sheepmen, probably with burros, but it was so difficult of access that it remained for a long time obscure. In 1912, William E. Colby, leader of the Sierra Club Outing in the Kern, led a reconnaissance that discovered a practicable route from that side, and members of the party named it Colby Pass. Afterwards he prospected the route from Roaring River. It was not until 1920, however, that a party succeeded in taking horses across. This was accomplished under the leadership of Duncan McDuffie, James S. Hutchinson, and Ernest McKee, assisted by Ralph P. Merritt. 105

The other important connection lies over the pass from the head-waters of the South Fork of Kings River to the head of Palisade Creek in the Middle Fork basin. This pass was known to the sheepmen, but the first crossing by pack animals, other than burros, going all the way through from one basin to the other, was that of Chauncey 1. Hamlin and party, with Ernest McKee, in 1921. They named the pass Mather Pass, in honor of Stephen T. Mather, Director of the National Park Service. 106

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104 Jordan, in Sunset Magazine, April 1900; The Alps of the King[s]-Kern Divide, San Francisco, 1907; The Days of a Man, New York 1922, I, pp. 650-655; Sierra Club Bulletin, 1900, III, 1, pp. 109-111, 1900, III, 2, pp. 167-169.

105 Sierra Club Bulletin 1921, XI, 2, pp. 128-129.

106 Sierra Club Bulletin 1922, XI, 3, p. 270; Sierra Club Bulletin 1923, XI, 4, p. 423.


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