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Up and Down California in 1860-1864;
The Journal of William H. Brewer:
Book 5, Chapter 2
THE HIGH SIERRA OF KINGS RIVER

Forests and Meadows—A View of the Sierra—Penetrating the Mountains—Granite—Venison and “Biled Owl”—Mount Silliman—Grizzlies—Sugar-loaf Creek—Roaring River—Ascent of Mount Brewer—Clarence King and Dick Cotter—Independence Day at Brewer Lake—Adventures of King and Dick—To Visalia with a Toothache—Return by Moonlight—The Soldier Escort—Kings River Canyon—Search for a Trail.

Camp 166, near the Big Meadows.
June 22, 1864.

I am in camp today and will begin another letter, although the air is cold and my fingers stiff. I sent my last from Thomas’ Sawmill about a week ago.

We had some provisions brought up to that camp by lumber teams, and on their arrival we started. June 17 we left that camp and came on about eight miles. We left all trails behind at the mill, but we had looked out a way beforehand. We struck back on the divide between the Kaweah and Kings rivers, where an old Indian trail formerly ran. We divided our baggage between all the animals and walked, for the way was terrible. At times it lay over and along the ridge, in forests of fir and pines, and then over rocky hills and up steep slopes—so steep that our animals could hardly cling to them. We passed hundreds of the Big Trees, which are everywhere scattered through the forests here.

At last we struck a little meadow surrounded by forests, where we camped. It was at an altitude of about 7,400 feet. I went beyond, on a granite knob, where I had a grand view over this rough region, with the snowy peaks ahead, which gave me a lively sense of the difficulties we would have to surmount. That night the thermometer stood at 19°.

June 18 we came on here, about eight miles farther, over a region fully as rough, sometimes through forests, and at others over and among rocks. We at last struck a trail that has recently been cut for the purpose of bringing in cattle. We came to camp here, by a little meadow, where our animals have good grass and we plenty of wood and water. It is at an altitude of about 7,800 feet. Here is a succession of grassy meadows—one called the Big Meadows is several miles in extent—and some men have cut a trail in and have driven up a few hundred cattle that were starving on the plains. Back of these lie the sharp and snow-covered peaks of the crest. We have now been here four days. The thermometer has not been up to 50° by day, and at night it has sunk to 18°, 16°, 17°, and 20°—surely not comfortable nights for sleeping without shelter.

Monday, June 20, three of us went on a peak about five miles east to spy out the country.1 The view was grand—on the west the whole slope of the Sierra and the great plain, ending in haze—around us the roughest region imaginable—along in front the crest of the Sierra, its more prominent points not less than twelve thousand feet high, with rocks, precipices, pinnacles, canyons, and all the elements to make a sublime landscape. We were up about 9,700 feet, and it was very cold—only three degrees above freezing—and yet there were trees three to four feet in diameter. We had a weary and rough walk back by missing the way; but a hearty supper awaited us and we slept well that night regardless of the cold.

The nineteenth was Sunday and we stayed in camp. I shall not work Sundays this year as I did last; the state can afford to do without it. I will not use myself up as I did last summer.

Yesterday, June 21, the longest day in the year, ought to have been one of the hottest. I stayed in camp alone, while Dick and King went out to shoot a bear, if they could. Hoffmann and Gardner went on a ridge for bearings. At about noon it began to snow violently, and it continued all the afternoon. You cannot imagine how uncomfortable it is without any shelter. The boys got back wet and numb with the cold, but I had made a big kettle of soup, which was pronounced an eminent success. We made our preparations for an uncomfortable night, but at about sundown it cleared up very suddenly and today is again sunny.

Before we started on this trip I heard that there were hostile Indians somewhere in here, driven out of Owens Valley, so I wrote the Governor, and he to the Commandant of the Pacific, who in turn issued orders to the various military posts within two hundred miles of here to furnish me with a military escort if I should demand it. At Visalia there is a company of cavalry. The order had been received and the soldiers were very anxious to get away and begged me to make requisition. I did not, hoping that I would not need them. This morning two men from Visalia were here, an underofficer and a private, who wanted to go. As it will please the men, cost no one anything, more than it would to have the soldiers stay in camp, and as I thought they might be useful even if we found no Indians, I sent in a requisition with one of them for an escort to join us in two weeks, when we will strike north into the region possibly hostile, but most probably not.

Camp 168.
Sunday, June 26.

When I wrote the other day my fingers were cold and another snowstorm threatened; in fact, it did snow a little, but the storm passed east of us.

June 23 the weather still looked unsettled. I went to a hunter’s camp and got forty pounds of dried venison and bear meat, and then went on a hunt with him. He shot one deer and had left three others where he had shot them a few days before. He gave me the meat of two and packed them out where we could get them the next day.

There is a succession of granite flats and meadows and low granite knolls about that camp, the whole covered with forests. On my way back to camp I got bewildered and lost—for the first time in the state. I walked about two miles to a granite ridge where I could see the country, saw where I was, and then went to camp. It could hardly be called “lost in the Sierra,” as I was not detained an hour, yet it was uncomfortable for the time.

The weather looked better and the next day, June 24, we left that camp. We cached all the baggage that was not absolutely necessary, and came on about eight miles, over hills, through brush and forests, among rocks, and finally came to camp in a little grassy meadow in a canyon. We were surrounded by forests of firs and pines. We were tired and the amount of venison we ate for dinner might seem fabulous were it stated.

June 25, yesterday, we came on about eight miles farther, and so rough was the way that we found this distance a good day’s work. Our route lay along the divide between the head branches of the Kings and Kaweah rivers, over steep ridges, some of them nearly ten thousand feet high, and then along ridges covered with forests of subalpine pines and firs. There are two species of pine and one of fir. All grow to a rather large size, say four to five feet in diameter, but are not high. All are beautiful, the fir especially so, but there is difference enough in the color of the foliage and habit of the trees to give picturesque effect to these forests, which are not dense. All have a very dark green foliage, in harmony with the rugged landscape they clothe. The ground under the tree is generally nearly bare. There is but little grass or undergrowth of either herbs or bushes.

The rocks are granite, very light colored, the soil light-gray granite sand. Here and there are granite knobs or domes, their sides covered with loose angular bowlders, among which grow bushes, or here and there a tree. Sometimes there are great slopes of granite, almost destitute of soil, with only an occasional bush or tree that gets a rooting in some crevice. Behind all this rise the sharp peaks of the crest, bare and desolate, streaked with snow; and, since the storms, often great banks of clouds curl around their summits.

The whole aspect of this region is peculiar; the impression is one of grandeur, but at the same time of desolation—the dark pines, the light granite, the sharp cones behind, the absence of all sounds except the sighing of the wind through the pines or the rippling of streams. There is an occasional bird heard, but for most of the time silence reigns. At night the wind dies down, the clouds disappear, if any have occurred during the day, and everything is still. During the night there is no sound. The sky is very clear and almost black; the stars scarcely twinkle, but shine with a calm, steady, silvery light from this black dome above.

Our present camp is by a little meadow, at an altitude of about 9,500 feet.2 The barometer stands at less than 21 1/2 inches, water boils at 193.5 degrees. Yet when one is still and not climbing he does not perceive the lightness of the air. It is a calm Sunday. The sky is intensely blue, a few white clouds float above, but it is cold in the shade, only 43° to 44°, and my fingers are cold enough.

Since writing the above we have got dinner and the weather has become warmer, a few degrees. We had a most glorious venison soup. We eat venison three times a day. A few days ago, before we got the deer, the boys shot a large arctic owl, an enormous fellow. They dressed and cooked him. I have often heard of “biled owl,” but this is the first time that I have practically tested it, and it is nothing to brag of—strong, tough, and with a rather mousy taste.

We have a book of sermous in camp, and thus far we have had one read aloud each Sunday. A laborious week lies ahead, and when I next write I hope to have seen the high peaks.

Sunday, July 3.

When I wrote a week ago we were camped at a little meadow on the divide between the Kings and Kaweah rivers. Not over a mile to the east an entire change of country begins. We exchange the granite hills that have the form of domes for those rising into pinnacles and sharp peaks.

Just east of that camp we climbed a steep hill, and came suddenly to a precipice. Beyond was a great basin, or valley, the head of which is an immense rocky amphitheater, the rocky sides very steep, in places tremendous perpendicular precipices. There is a little lake in this basin, about 1,600 feet below the brink of the cliffs. From this there widens a valley, which runs directly back toward the crest of the Sierra a few miles and then turns, the waters finding their way to Kings River by a deep canyon.3

We went on only about three miles and camped in a canyon where there was a little grass.4 We explored the amphitheater that day, but in the afternoon it began to rain. All the evening it rained. We turned into our damp blankets and prepared for a miserable night’s sleep, but it stopped raining about nine o’clock and then cleared up, although the trees dripped water all night, and it was cold—the thermometer sank to 25°.

I find it too cold to write more. I must defer until a warmer day or warmer camp.

In camp on the south fork of Kings River.
July 7.

It is a pleasant, clear day. For three days the sky has been of the intensest blue, not a cloud in sight day or night. I am alone in a beautiful camp and I will write.

We have come down into a deep valley, where it is warmer and there is good grass. We are still camped high, however—about 7,500 feet. A fine breeze plays up the valley, very pleasant, but it makes it hard to write—it flutters the paper and gives much trouble. The desolate granite peaks lie in sight—bare granite and glistening snow. It freezes every night.

Tuesday, June 28, we had a fine clear morning, and four of us started to visit a peak a few miles distant. We had a rough trail, over sharp ridges, and finally up a very steep pile of granite rocks, perhaps a thousand feet high, to the peak, which is over eleven thousand feet high, and which we called Mount Silliman, in honor of Professor Silliman, Junior.

In crossing a ridge we came on fresh bear tracks, and soon saw the animal himself, a fine black bear. We all shouted, and he went galloping away over the rocks and into a canyon. We had gone but a short distance farther when we saw a very large female grizzly with two cubs. She was enormous—would weigh as much as a small ox. After we looked at her a few minutes we all set up a shout. She rose on her hind legs, but did not see us, as we sat perfectly still. We continued to shout. She became frightened at the unseen noise, which echoed from the cliffs so that she could not tell where it came from, so she galloped away with the cubs. These would weigh perhaps 150 pounds each; she would weigh perhaps 900 pounds or more. We also saw a fine buck during the trip.

We reached the summit after a hard climb, and had a grand view of the rough landscape. Great rocky amphitheaters surrounded by rocky ridges, very sharp, their upper parts bare or streaked with snow, constituted a wild, rough, and desolate landscape. Clouds suddenly came on, and a snowstorm, which was a heavy rain in camp. We got back tired enough.

The next day King, Gardner, and I took some sketches. Dick went after a deer, but saw only a bear. The animals strolled off, and several hours were consumed in getting them, during which the boys saw more bear and deer.

June 30 we were up early and left. We changed our route and came on about ten miles, by such a terrible way that it was a hard day’s work—over rocks, through canyons and brush. We sank into a canyon and camped about two thousand feet below our last camp. We had some trouble with our fire—it got into some dead logs and we feared a general burn. We fought it, and Gardner came near being bitten by a rattlesnake that was driven out. He was an enormous fellow, but had lost most of his rattles.

July 1 we came on by a still rougher way, about eleven miles. We crossed the south fork of Kings River, down over tremendous rocks and up again by as rough a way. We struck a ridge which is a gigantic moraine left by a former glacier, the largest I have ever seen or heard of. It is several miles long and a thousand feet high.5

We were working back toward high peaks, where we hoped to discover the sources of Kings, Kaweah, and Kern rivers, geographical problems of some considerable interest and importance. We got back as far as we could and camped at an altitude of 9,750 feet, by a rushing stream, but with poor feed. Wood was plenty, dry, from trees broken by avalanches in winter. A beautiful little lake was near us.6 About five miles east lay the high granite cone we hoped to reach—high and sharp, its sides bristling with sharp pinnacles.

Saturday, July 2, we were up at dawn, and Hoffmann and I climbed this cone, which I had believed to be the highest of this part of the Sierra. We had a rough time, made two unsuccessful attempts to reach the summit, climbing up terribly steep rocks, and at last, after eight hours of very hard climbing, reached the top.7 The view was yet wilder than we have ever seen before. We were not on the highest peak, although we were a thousand feet higher than we anticipated any peaks were. We had not supposed there were any over 12,000 or 12,500 feet, while we were actually up over 13,600, and there were a dozen peaks in sight beyond as high or higher!

Such a landscape! A hundred peaks in sight over thirteen thousand feet—many very sharp—deep canyons, cliffs in every direction almost rivaling Yosemite, sharp ridges almost

Mount Brewer
MOUNT BREWER
From a sketch by Charles F. Hoffmann
Mount Silliman
MOUNT SILLIMAN
From a sketch by Charles F. Hoffmann
inccessible to man, on which human foot has never trod—all combined to produce a view the sublimity of which is rarely equaled, one which few are privileged to behold.

There is not so much snow as in the mountains farther north, not so much falls in winter, the whole region is drier, but all the higher points, above 12,000 feet are streaked with it, and patches occur as low as 10,500 feet. The last trees disappear at 11,500 feet—above this desolate bare rocks and snow. Several small lakes were in sight, some of them frozen over.

The view extended north eighty to ninety miles, south nearly as far—east we caught glimpses of the desert mountains east of Owens Valley—west to the Coast Range, 130 or more miles distant.

On our return we slid down a slope of snow perhaps eight hundred feet. We came down in two minutes the height that we had been over three hours in climbing. We got back very tired, but a cup of good tea and a fine venison soup restored us.

Sunday, July 3, we lay until late. On calculating the height of the peak, finding it so much higher than we expected, and knowing there were still higher peaks back, we were, of course, excited. Here there is the highest and grandest group of the Sierra—in fact, the grandest in the United States—not so high as Mount Shasta, but a great assemblage of high peaks.

King is enthusiastic, is wonderfully tough, has the greatest endurance I have ever seen, and is withal very muscular. He is a most perfect specimen of health. He begged me to let him and Dick try to reach them on foot. I feared them inaccessible, but at last gave in to their importunities and gave my consent. They made their preparations that day, anxious for a trip fraught with so much interest, hardship, and danger.

July 4 all were up at dawn. We got breakfast, and King and Dick packed their packs—six days’ provisions, blankets, and instruments made packs of thirty-five or forty pounds each, to be packed into such a region! Gardner and I resolved to climb the cone again, as I had left instruments on the top, expecting someone would go up. Our way lay together for five miles, and up to thirteen thousand feet. I packed Dick’s heavy pack to that point to give him a good start. I could never pack it as far as they hope to. Here we left them, and as we scaled the peak they disappeared over a steep granite ridge, the last seen of them.

Gardner and I reached the summit much easier than Hoffmann and I had two days before. The sky was cloudy and the air cold, 25°. We were on top about two hours. We planted the American flag on the top, and left a paper in a bottle with our names, the height, etc. It is not at all probable that any man was ever on the top before, or that any one will be again—for a long time at least. There is nothing but love of adventure to prompt it after we have the geography of the region described.8

We were back before sundown; a hearty dinner and pleasant camp fire closed the day. We sang “Old John Brown” around the camp fire that night—we three, alone in these solitudes. Thus was spent Independence Day. The last was with Hoffmann alone, in the Sierra farther north. We heard not a gun. Would that we might know the war news—we are over a month behind.

The next morning we lay in our blankets very late, after the fatigue of the previous day—in fact were in bed eleven hours. We stayed in camp and took latitude observations. It was a most lovely day.

That camp was in a valley that runs back to the cones. High granite ridges rose to above thirteen thousand feet on both sides; that on the south rose in great precipices, nearly perpendicular, over two thousand feet high. Patches of snow lay in the nooks and corners. This granite is of a uniform light ash-gray color, inclining to pearly, and by the lights of sunset showed the most beautiful rosy tints. Scraggy pines grew in the crevices up to eleven thousand feet, gnarled and twisted by the winter storms of these desolate regions. One new species I found here, not known to botanists. By day the sky is generally of a deep blue-black, by night almost black; the stars shine with a mild silvery luster almost without twinkling.

Camp 180, on the ridge north of Kings River.
July 21.

King and Dick got back in five days, and had a tremendous trip. They got on a peak nearly as high as Mount Shasta, or some 14,360 feet, and saw five more peaks still higher. They slept among the rocks and snow one night at an altitude of twelve thousand feet, crossed canyons, and climbed tremendous precipices, where they had to let each other down with a rope that they carried along. It was by far the greatest feat of strength and endurance that has yet been performed on the Survey. The climbing of Mount Shasta was not equal to it. Dick got his boots torn off and came back with an old flour sack tied around his feet.9

Upon their return we went back to the Big Meadows, as we were out of flour, salt, bacon, and sugar—in fact had nothing but venison and beans to eat. An escort of seven soldiers had been there several days waiting for us. They were having a good time and were eating venison at a heavy rate. A severe toothache had set in two days before—I spent sleepless nights and was incapacitated for a week. I had ridden along with the party, but was in intense agony all the time. It ulcerated badly, and Tuesday, July 12, I started for Visalia, sixty miles distant, to have it out. King was going down in order to take another trail and reach the high peaks and the region which had been inaccessible to us.10

We started early in the morning and rode twenty-five miles before noon. The trail went down, down, down all the time—we sank five thousand feet in that twenty-five miles. Most of the way the trail led through magnificent forests. The giant sequoias, or Big Trees, were abundant; they occurred for several miles along the trail—hundreds of them from fifteen to twenty-five feet in diameter.

At twenty-five miles we struck a pleasant ranch, in a little valley, where we stopped all the afternoon. It was a nice place, and we got two very nice meals—the first square meals for some time and we did them ample justice. It was hot, we dared not ride farther by day, but just at sundown we were off again.

It was moonlight until midnight, but we rode all night and got into Visalia just after sunrise. Once we missed the way, and for two hours plodded over the plain. Just before daylight the ulceration in my jaw broke, and what a relief it was. My face was badly swollen, and for over fifty hours it had been terrible—by far the worst toothache I had ever had. We got our breakfast, then went to bed, and slept until noon. It was intensely hot, and we felt it, coming from the cool mountains. I had the tooth pulled that day, and stopped there over one night and two days. I got an escort of two men from the camp to assist King.

Thursday evening, July 14, I started back alone. I rode about twenty-five miles before the moon went down. I had got into the foothills and could not see my way, so I pulled off the saddle and lay down under a tree and slept two hours, when day dawned and I went on. I got my breakfast at a miserable cabin, where I had a vivid idea of what stuff some people can live on. I got to Lewis’ Ranch, the nice place I spoke of, about nine or ten o’clock, and I stayed there all day and night, as it was too far to go on that day. I got back to the Big Meadows Saturday afternoon.

Hoffmann and Gardner had been to Thomas’ Mill and had obtained the provisions we had there. We were now ready, and the next day, Sunday, July 17, we started and came on about seven miles. There are seven soldiers with us, fine fellows, who are right glad to get out of the hot camp at Visalia.11 They are mounted, armed with Sharp’s carbines and revolvers, and have a month’s rations on three pack mules. We made quite a cavalcade—eleven men and sixteen animals—and left quite a trail. We followed back on an old Indian foot trail, a hard trail. Once, one of their pack-mules upset and tumbled down some rocks. He was bruised and cut, but not seriously injured. We camped at a fine meadow. The boys saw a bear, but he got away.

Monday, July 18, we continued, and in about four miles came on a camp of half a dozen men, prospectors, who had crossed the mountains from Owens Valley and had worked their way thus far.12 Never before were so many white men in this solitude. Three of them were going back, and luckily for us, showed us the way into the canyon of Kings River.

It was a horrible trail. Once, while we were working along the steep, rocky side of a hill, where it was very steep and very rough, old Nell, our pack-mule, fell and rolled over and over down the bank upward of a hundred and fifty feet. Of course, we thought her killed. She rolled against a log which stopped her, but a part of her pack went farther. Strangely, she was not seriously hurt. We got her back to the trail, put on her pack, and she has packed it since. A bag of flour went rolling down the hill, burst, and we lost a part of it.

We sank into the canyon of the main South Fork of Kings River, a tremendous canyon. We wound down the steep side of the hill, for over three thousand feet, often just as steep as animals could get down.

It begins to rain. I must quit.

July 23.

I am spending today in camp, the first for two weeks and I will go on with my story.

We got into the canyon of the South Fork of Kings River, and forded the stream, which is quite a river where we crossed, and camped at a fine meadow in the valley. It was a very picturesque camp, granite precipices rising on both sides to immense height. The river swarmed with trout; I never saw them thicker. The boys went to fishing and soon caught about forty, while the soldiers caught about as many more.

We left there the next morning and worked up the valley about ten miles. Next to Yosemite this is the grandest canyon I have ever seen. It much resembles Yosemite and almost rivals it.13 A pretty valley or flat half a mile wide lies along the river, in places rough and strewn with bowlders, and in others level and covered with trees. On both sides rise tremendous granite precipices, of every shape, often nearly perpendicular, rising from 2,500 feet to above 4,000 feet. They did not form a continuous wall, but rose in high points, with canyons coming down here and there, and with fissures, gashes, and gorges. The whole scene was sublime—the valley below, the swift river roaring by, the stupendous cliffs standing against a sky of intensest blue, the forests through which we rode. We would look up through the branches and see the clear sky and grand rocks, or occasionally, as we crossed an open space, we would get more comprehensive views.

We camped at the head of this valley by a fine grassy meadow where the stream forked. On both sides rose grand walls of granite about three thousand feet high, while between the forks was a stupendous rock, bare and rugged, over four thousand feet high. We luxuriated on trout for the next two meals. The rattlesnakes were thick—four were killed this day.

The next day, July 20, we started in different directions. Hoffmann and Gardner climbed the cliffs on the south side. They got up two thousand feet by hard climbing, only to find walls a thousand feet above them which they could not scale. I explored a side canyon, to the south, where the Indian foot trail ran, to see if we could get out that way with our animals. I had a grand climb, but found the way entirely inaccessible for horses. I followed up a canyon, the sides grand precipices, with here and there a fine waterfall or series of cascades, making a line of foam down the cliffs. I climbed over bowlders and through brush, got up above two very fine waterfalls, one of which is the finest that I have seen in this state outside of Yosemite. I had a hard day’s work.

In the meantime a soldier had explored another canyon, and reported that we could get out to the north that way,14 so the next day we started, and came to this camp. It was worse than any of our other trails. We are not over 4 1/2 or 5 miles from our last camp, and have come up over four thousand feet!

It was heavy for our animals. Twice we had very steep slopes for a thousand feet together, where it seemed at first that no animal could get up with a pack. Once our pack horse fell, turned a complete somersault over a bowlder, and landed below squarely on his feet, when he kept on his way as if nothing had happened. His pack remained firm and he was not hurt in the least. Fortunately it was not so steep there. There were places where if an animal had once started he would have rolled several hundred feet, but all went safely over. We camped at a little over nine thousand feet where we are now, by a meadow on the hillside where we have a grand view of the peaks in front and the canyon beneath us.

Yesterday Gardner and Hoffmann went on a peak about twelve thousand feet, which commands a comprehensive view of all the ground we have been over lately; while two soldiers, Dick, and I explored ahead for a trail. We were unsuccessful, but we got on a ridge over eleven thousand feet high that commands a stupendous view. The deep canyons on all sides, the barren granite slopes, clear little lakes that occupy the beds of ancient glaciers, the sharp ridges, the high peaks, some of them rising to above fourteen thousand feet, like huge granite spires—all lay around, forming a scene of indescribable sublimity.

We killed a rattlesnake at ten thousand feet. I have never before seen them so high in the mountains. Dick also killed a grouse, a fine bird nearly as large as a big hen, and splendid eating. We had it for breakfast this morning.

We thought the region north impassable for our animals, but Hoffmann and a soldier both saw another way they thought practicable, and three have gone today to explore it. If that too should prove impracticable we shall be in a hard fix and will have to make our way to Owens Valley and cross the Sierra again at some point north.

NOTES

1. Probably Shell Mountain.

2. Near J. O. Pass.

3. Sugarloaf Creek, flowing into the canyon of Roaring River.

4. Probably at the head of Clover Creek.

5. The route was down Sugarloaf Creek, across Roaring River near Scaffold Meadow. Brewer, King, and the Whitney Survey reports call Roaring River the south fork of Kings River.

6. At the head of Brewer Creek.

7. This was the first ascent of Mount Brewer. Brewer and Hoffmann must have attempted to climb the nearest face; had they gone around to the south or a little farther to the north they would have found it easier.

8. “Thirty-one years later, C. L. Cory, Harvey Corbett, and I [Joseph N. LeConte] ascended the peak from the west, but did not find the record left by Professor Brewer, as deep snow covered the summit. But in 1896, after ascending from the east, one of the members of the party found the bottle containing the record, which was carefully removed, and which I succeeded in photographing. It bore the record of but one other climber during the period of thirty-one years. The record remained on the summit for a number of years after that, but the fragile paper was broken by continual handling, and it was finally removed to the Sierra Club rooms for preservation, where it was unfortunately destroyed in the fire of 1906” (Joseph N. LeConte, in Sierra Club Bulletin, XI, No. 3 [1922], 252).

9. The experiences of King and Cotter are set forth with considerable spirit in King’s Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada. A somewhat more restrained account appears in the official report of the Survey (Geology, I, 384-387). They reached the summit of Mount Tyndall (14,025 feet) and from that point beheld and named Mount Williamson (14,384 feet) and Mount Whitney (14,496 feet). Lack of provisions prevented an attempt to reach the latter.

10. On this occasion King reached the mountain, but made a bad choice of routes and failed to attain the summit. The first ascent was not made until 1873. For a further account of Clarence King’s efforts, see Francis P. Farquhar, “The Story of Mount Whitney,” in Sierra Club Bulletin, XIV, No. 1 (February, 1929).

11. The names of the men are given in Brewer’s notebook: Judd, Webster, Cole, Orr, Bump, Spratt, Heisley.

12. A statement by one of these prospectors, Thomas Keough, is given in Sierra Club Bulletin, X, No. 3 (1918), 340-342.

13. John Muir expressed the same opinion in an article, “A Rival of the Yosemite,” in the Century Magazine (November, 1891).

14. Copper Creek.


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