“Chasing Denali: The Sourdoughs, Cheechakos, and Frauds Behind the Most Unbelievable Feat in Mountaineering”
With Jon Waterman
Monday, Dec. 10, 2018
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; 6 p.m.
The Sebastian-Vail | Vail
In 1910, four gold prospectors summited North America’s tallest mountain in a single day, using little more than donuts and rudimentary equipment. Their journey is the starting point for the history of mountaineering on Denali—but were they telling the truth?
The miners and their backgrounds are largely forgotten—contemporary historians call them “the Sourdoughs”—and much of their climb remains misunderstood and shrouded in mystery. Aided by new research and modern technology, the veracity of their ascent and how they actually performed it can be examined, explained and, ultimately, revealed.
Jonathan Waterman, the world’s foremost Denali expert and author, will share the fantastical exploits of four miners who claimed to carry a 25-pound, 14-foot flagpole up the roof of the continent while using sheet metal crampons, coal shovels, hatchets and pike poles. Was the expedition a success or a hoax? Long inspired by these so-called “Sourdoughs,” Waterman chases after both the truth and what the mountain has meant to his own life. Join us as Jon Waterman unravels the mystery in a presentation about these unlikely climbers that blends adventure and history and brings the story to life. A book signing will follow the program.
Author of 14 books, including “Running Dry” and “Arctic Crossing,” Jon Waterman started shooting photographs on his expeditions four decades ago but is principally known as a writer. He has made films for television, including “The Logan Challenge” (PBS, 1991), “Surviving Denali” (ESPN, 1994), “Odyssey Among the Inuit” (OLN, 2000), ANWR Trek (PBS 2007), and “Chasing Water” (Pete McBride films, 2011). He often works for the National Geographic Society, whose grants have funded his conservation research and journeys down the Colorado River and to the Arctic.
This program is presented in partnership with the Vail Public Library.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6 p.m. after a short reception.
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