Norman Clyde

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Norman Clyde

Post by JM21760 » Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:05 pm

You guys have all probably read it, but Norman Clyde's "Close ups of the High Sierra" is classic. The writings give a wonderful look into the early days of Sierra explorations, after the times of Muir, King, Cotter, ect. His list of first ascents are to be marveled at. If you haven't read it, check it out. It's published by Spotted Dog Press in Bishop.

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Post by gdurkee » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:50 pm

In his book, he reminisces about being on the search and recovery of Walter Starr Jr. and has one of the greatest lines about finally finding Starr:

As I carefully and deliberately made my way down toward the notch, I scanned and re-scanned the northwestern face. Much of it was concealed by irregularities. Suddenly a fly droned past, then another, and another.

"The quest is nearing an end," I reflected.

For those of you with weird memories, Dick Tracy showed the untimely death of Flyface by just showing a mound of sand with flies buzzing around the head. Sometime in the early 60s I think. My brain is pretty clogged up... .


For a great account of the search for Starr, see:
Missing in the Minarets, the Search for Walter A. Starr, Jr.
by William Alsup

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Post by Shawn » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:38 pm


Hey thanks guys. Both of those books look terrific, I will definitely check them out.

Also, one of my favorites is "Such a Landscape - William Henry Brewer" published by the Yosemite Association written (mostly) by Alsup.

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Post by AldeFarte » Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:45 pm

I have read both those books also ,and highly recommend them. I agree with George ,that Clydes line about finding Starr was poignant. Conrad had a couple lines in "Heart of Darkness" that struck me the same way. I suspect that book was highly autobiographical. Clyde's hound dog pursuit of Starr reminds me of someone who is trying to find that damn word in a crossword puzzle they know but can't quite find, yet that's all they can think about till they get it. It was a different world in the sierra back then and for some reason I think often of that guy's death. My aunt turns me on to some good reads and I picked off a good one this winter. "Nature Noir" by Jordan Fisher Smith. Interesting reading. He was a ranger on the American River when the dam was in limbo. I can identify with him even tho I don't generally identify myself with "ranger types". No offense George. Another good read this winter was not a sierra book ,but a good read that puts present day life into perspective. "Shadows on the Koyukuk" By Sidney Huntington. Highly recommended by me and I don't think people will be dissappointed by either book. Another book I plowed through this winter that reads like a boring sci-fi book ,because it is SO mind boggling was "Cataclysyms on the Colombia". It is very hard to imagine some things that have taken place in nature in antiquity. Oops! Burgundis ramblis. jls

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Re: Norman Clyde

Post by rcymbala » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:37 pm

"Closeups" is engrossing. I couldn't put it down, it's fairly short, the chapters are short, the writing style is crisp, and the fact that he knew Greek makes his grammatical style very unique. The chapter about the death of one of his clients in a snow storm was enlightening. He tried everything he could to help, but the guy wouldn't listen, was stubborn, and it killed him. The interesting part is that before the fateful snow storm Clyde could sense that there was something amiss with the client's brain "wavelength". ~ R

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Re: Norman Clyde

Post by mokelumnekid » Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:45 pm

How about, "Norman Clyde of the Sierra Nevada, Rambles Through the Range of Light," 29 essays on the mountains by Norman Clyde, forward by Francis Farquhar and prologue by Jules Eichorn with a long letter from Smoke Blanchard with 15 photographs of the old gaffer, 1971, Scrimshaw Press. Three thousand copies were printed. Has some interesting observations on his character from his near contemporaries.

It repeats some of the previous material but also documents the rather sad closing times of his life. A "must read" for those interested in this chapter of the exploration of the Sierra Nevada- it adds some aspects of the human dimension that aren't so obvious in other writings. I have a copy with my Dad's name on it- thanks Dad!

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Re: Norman Clyde

Post by dematson » Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:10 pm

1. I enjoyed Norman Clyde's book but his tale about the death of a skiing companion seems almost detached. He seems to put all the blame on the man who perished. I suspect the man was hypothermic and not capable of good judgement. Could any of us have kept up with Clyde?
2. Does anyone know if Clyde's cabin on Baker Creek is still standing? If so, about where would it be?

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