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Alpine Time Machine

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Ever wish you could travel back to climbing’s early days and follow the earliest first-ascent visionaries? This fantasy comes to life in Daniel Arnold’s Early Days in the Range of Light: Encounters with Legendary Mountaineers ($28, counterpointpress.com). Arnold, cleverly, chose 15 classic peaks in California’s High Sierras and spent three years studying the lives of the peaks’ pioneers, groundbreakers like John Muir, Clarence King, and Norman Clyde — he then climbed their routes using the same crude gear they’d used. In this elegant narrative, the author blends the predecessors’ accounts with his own adventures, adding classic photos from the 1800s and early 1900s.

—Fred Bryant