Author and mountaineer Allen Steck will be at the Napa County Library on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m.
In his new memoir, “A Mountaineer’s Life,” Steck tells stories from the days when mountain climbing was discovery, when men like Steck forged new routes, both literal or literary. With dry humor and detailed recall, he captures the excitement and intrigue of a time when there were few rules and no guidelines.
Steck, born in 1926, was 16 when he made his initial climb, a first ascent of Mount Maclure in the Sierra, with no hardware, no ropes, and no experience. The event turned him into a mountaineer for life.
More than 70 years later, Steck has had a prolific climbing career, including a 1954 expedition to Makalu, a 1963 first ascent of the south face of the Clyde Minaret, and a 1965 first ascent of the Hummingbird Ridge on Mount Logan in Alaska. He has climbed around the world, sending a number of first ascents, including the Steck-Salathe route up Sentinal Rock in Yosemite Valley. Jointly, with Norman Clyde, he was the first recipient of the Sierra Club’s Francis P. Farquhar Mountaineering Award in 1970.
In 1967, with Steve Roper, he co-founded and edited Ascent magazine. Two years later, he became a partner in Mountain Travel, a adventure travel company. In 1970, he won the American Alpine Club’s Literary Award for co-authoring “Fifty Classic Climbs of North America” with Steve Roper.
“We do not deceive ourselves that we are engaging in an activity that is anything but debilitating, dangerous, euphoric, kinesthetic, expensive, frivolously essential, economically useless and totally without redeeming social significance,” he said. “One should not probe for deeper meanings.”
Napa Bookmine and the Napa County Library are bringing this author to the community. The Napa library is at 680 Coombs St. in Napa.