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Coast Mountains literature: any suggestions? #1414
Back To Discussion List Written: 2005.11.30 by: Glenn Woodsworth

I and a couple of other people are contemplating editing an anthology of writing about and inspired by the B.C. Coast Mountains. Similar anthologies exist for the Cascades ("Poets on the Peaks", ed. John Suiter), where some of the Beat poets such as Kerouac and Snyder spent considerable time, and also for the Rockies.

Nothing comparable exists for the Coast Mountains. I'm looking for suggestions: poetry, fiction, essays, articles, creative non-fiction, (whatever that may be), and even art work. Trip reports are welcome, IF they are well written, not written for an "in" group, and evoke something of the mood and atmosphere of the Coast Mtns. The work doesn't have to have a mountaineering focus, but the emphasis should be on the alpine experience. In general, I don't want fishing tales, hunting adventures, sailing-up-Jervis Inlet stories, but feel free to convince me otherwise. I'm interested in a mountain anthology of interest to a broad audience. Mountaineering humour is fine if it's not too juvenile, is well written and stands the test of time.

I welcome all suggestions. If there's enough interest and suggestions, I may post a consolidated list on Bivouac. On the other hand, maybe there's just not enough material written about these most beautiful and rewarding of mountains.

Thanks for your help.


#600 - 2005.12.12 Drew Brayshaw - A comment.
Glenn said "The work doesn't have to have a mountaineering focus, but the emphasis should be on the alpine experience."

Once you get above treeline, the Coast Mountains are much like other mountain ranges. What sets them apart is often the portion that is not alpine - the long fjords and old-growth forests and abandoned logging roads overgrown with 40 year old slide alders, the native villages and logging camps and Chilcotin farms that you end up going to a party at after a May storm unexpectedly drops three feet of fresh snow on the route you were planning to climb. So maybe to get the true Coast Mountains experience you will need to consider more than just the alpine.

#598 - 2005.12.09 Glenn Woodsworth - Re: Other suggestions

Great suggestions; I've already got most on my list. I love Margaret Craven's "Owl" novel, but I'm not sure it really fits - but it might. I'd like to have some genuine first nations material. John Baldwin's stuff is a must. What specific Marcus Kellerhals and Vance Culbert articles are you thinking of?

For artists, I don't know much about Varley; didn't know he painted in the Coast Mtns. I'll make a note to look into it. Toni Onley, yes, and (if I remember correctly) W.H. Phillips. Photography has been mentioned by a couple of people; lots to choose from there.

#597 - 2005.12.09 David Campbell - Other Suggestions
A second the motion for Randy Stoltmann. I think stuff from the Introduction to John Baldwin's "Mountains of the Coast" also captures the spirit of the coast, as well as the feeling living with the coast mountains in your backdoor. Markus Kellerhals has had some interesting perspectives (one in particular that I am thinking of is a description he gives of the Nass Valley on a trip through the area).
 Vance Culbert had a fairly poetic description of his trip with Guy Edwards to Waddington by kayak from Vancouver. I don't know if the St. Elias are considered, but an article of Don Serl's on a trip there where the descent was troubled by bas weather and severe altitude sickness provided some insight. Other non-climbing stuff might include Chris Czaiznowski (sorry about the sp?) and living in the Chilcotins, or segments from "I heard the owl cry my name" by Margaret Craven. If images were included too, I would have to say Fredrick Varley and Toni Onley would have to be there.

#589 - 2005.12.05 Glenn Woodsworth - Re: Bush Rating
And I believe Rod Pilkington wrote one in the BCMC newsletter, probably in the 1950s. I'll have to track it down. Rod was a very bright, witty person.

#588 - 2005.12.05 Sandy Briggs - Bush Rating
There have been at least three separate bushwhacking rating scales devised in the last few decades. The earliest one I know about is from the VOCJ 1970. The trip involved Rick Price but the rating scale appears under the name of Roland Burton. I hope I am not guilty of too much copyright infringement for having posted this gem on my own web site at on the Humour page. Blush. Sandy Briggs

#587 - 2005.12.05 Drew Brayshaw - Bush rating - author
I believe the Bush Rating system author is actually Rick Price. VOCJ 1975?

#586 - 2005.12.05 Matt Gunn - Bush scale
Roland Burton has an article about a rating system for bushwacking in one of hte VOC journals. Pretty funny stuff.

#583 - 2005.12.04 Greg Jones - ......Randy Stoltmann
Glenn, I am sure you have considered some of Randy's work and writing. The documentation of the two trips (with Greg) into the heart of Garibaldi Park is amazing. As well as their adventures in the Stein ("BC Mountaineer" 1984?). He has a great subtle story of a solo trip into the Falk Lake area as well (I believe the 1990 "BC Mountaineer"). His ability to speak from the heart without being preachy is to be admired. Some of yourself and Culbert's contributions obviously fit the bill as well. The Kafer's and their early activity (Esther's retreat via the upper Lillooet River in particular), the National Pillar on Winstone etc.

#582 - 2005.12.04 Vida Morkunas - don't forget mountain photography have a huge source for mountain photographers, and their works, right here on Bivouac - all you need to do is make contact with the people whose work you admire, and ask.

#581 - 2005.12.04 Peter Rothermel
Try Canadian Mountaineering Anthology, by Bruce Fairley.

By the way, does anybody know where Tami Knight went to? As Anonomise Prezadunt of Hur Fan Klub, we're looking for her.

#580 - 2005.12.03 Glenn Woodsworth - Re: Journal articles
Great suggestions, Drew. I was unaware of Daudet; I should be able to look after the translation, if I can find the French original.

#579 - 2005.12.03 Drew Brayshaw - Journal articles
Mike Down, mid 80s to mid 90s CAJ Funny article by Jim Nelson in (I think) 92 CAJ, "This Ain't The Cascades, Jack" regarding Washington climbers visiting the Wadd.

I don't know if he wrote anything in English about it but if you can track down Lionel Daudet's French account of approaching Combatant on foot with big wall gear in haulbags, it would be pretty neat to see translated. Serl might be able to help you out with that.

Maybe some Sir Norman Watson from the 1930s?

Stanley Smith and Doolittle of course.

In the 1980 CAJ ( I think) is an article by an anonymous climber called "Mirror Slabs" or something. Reflects very well the dreams of the climber working in a logging camp up the coast, in whatever era.

"Busted in Bute" by John Howe.

#578 - 2005.12.02 Glenn Woodsworth - Re: Tami Knight cartoons, and ACC/BCMC/VOC Journal
I've always liked Tami's cartoons and probably would include one or two. Yes, there's much good stuff in the journals: the trick is to find articles that will appeal to a broad audience. But some articles by John Clarke, John Baldwin, Don Serl come to mind. Any others?

#577 - 2005.12.02 Scott Nelson - Tami Knight cartoons, and ACC/BCMC/VOC Journals
I don't know if it counts as 'literature', but there are number of good climbing/mountaineering cartoon books by local cartoonist Tami Knight.

Also, there are some good articles buried in many years of the local club Journals. Finding the good ones might be challenging, however.

#576 - 2005.12.02 Glenn Woodsworth - Re: Unknown Mountain
Thanks, it's already on the list. It's by her husband, Don, actually; Phyl wrote very little other than diaries. And I might use parts of one of Don Mounday's unpublished mountaineering novels.

#575 - 2005.12.02 Scott Nelson - The Unknown Mountain
The Unknown Mountain (I think that's the name) is a book by Phillis Munday about her attempts make the first ascent of Mt. Waddington with her husband.

#574 - 2005.12.01 Glenn Woodsworth - Thanks... good idea
Yes, Drew, that's just the sort of thing I'm looking for.

#573 - 2005.12.01 Drew Brayshaw - Ice Runway
Maybe something by Roy Mason? The chapter about crashing the plane on Obelisk Lake (or Widgeon Lake, can't remember which) is timeless.