The Legacy Series: Oral Histories From Climbing Legends

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A passion-project of American Alpine Club past president Jim McCarthy and Tom Hornbein—themselves mountaineering legends by any standard—the Legacy Series pays tribute to the visionary climbers who made the sport what it is today and stands as a commitment to securing their legacies. 

Episode 1: Glen Denny

An iconic climber and photographer of Yosemite’s Golden Age, Glen Denny documented the ascents and debauchery of Camp 4’s visionary dirtbags during the late 1950s through the 1960s.

Episode 2: Allen Steck

Widely-decorated climbing legend Allen Steck began his career in Yosemite Valley in 1947, learning to establish routes using pitons and trial-and-error practices. Over an illustrious career that extending some 70 years, Steck established first ascents in mountain ranges around the world including participating in the first major American mountaineering expedition to the Himalaya, attempting Makalu in Nepal in 1954. His 1965 ascent of Mount Logan’s Hummingbird Ridge in the St. Elias Range, AK has never been repeated and is considered among the most challenging climbs in the mountaineering history. In 1979, with co-author Steve Roper, Steck published the seminal Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. His memoir, A Mountaineer’s Life, was published by Patagonia in 2017.

Episode 3: Betsy White

(Contains brief nudity)

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.