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Posts Tagged ‘mountaineering’

Archival Alpinists

February 25th, 2014

Despite criticism of flickr’s semi recent redesign, I remain loyal to this content management system for the access it provides to historic image archives.  Flickr Commons provides one search access to some terrific image collections including the the Library of Congress and the Stockholm Transport Museum.  While I prefer to browse the pages of vintage print catalogs, flickr commons is the next best access portal to arresting images from the past.  If you are willing to wade through ten thousand anonymous headshots, maritime snaps  and random scenic views, you’ll find some great material .  One note – since the individual images are rarely tagged or cataloged you must actively browse through each institution’s set to sift out the really good stuff.  My focus, of course, is vintage workwear, athletic novelties, expedition garb and examples of women wearing rugged, non feminized outdoor clothing.  Here are some favorite photos from the Nova Scotia archives by Arthur Bloomfield Dawson.
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Archival Snow Sports

January 9th, 2013
Long before Warren Miller, Dwight Watson, amateur photographer and mountaineer, documented snow sport culture in the pacific northwest.  I’ve been browsing Watson’s 1940s era images on the UW Digital Collections site.  As a non-skier, I’m drawn to Watson’s more casual scenes showing sportsmen and women at rest – at the lodge, in ensemble poses.  As always, I endorse how outdoor clothing from the past resembles everyday garb.  There is very little evidence of performance fabrics or ski specific clothing in these images. I love the visual flourish of the Cross County skiers wearing neckties to finish their outfits.  Style in the face of a chill!

Browse through the Watson collection as inspiration for staging your own heritage snow sports day ala the great tweed run.


Mountain Summer

May 21st, 2012

For those of you working through the summer, I recommend shopping from the Glenbow Museum Archives for surrogate vacation snaps of the Canadian Rockies from the 1920s and 1930s. If you’re too pressed for time, here is my summary of an ideal summer spent hiking, reading, rowing, dining, fishing, swimming and climbing – in perfect archival attire.





Archival Reprint: Filson Japan Lookbook

October 13th, 2011

Per yesterday’s entry, I’m reprinting a few of my favorite views from the strangely compelling, Filson Japan lookbook, “The Ballad of Portraits”. I love the stylized presentation of the figures who look like colorized, plasticized transplants from a 19th century daguerreotype (if Dodge Sportsmans appeared in daguerreotypes). Since most web image content disappears from view or gets redistributed away from its original source, I wanted to archive a copy for myself for future reference. It’s a shame we cannot mail away for a print copy.





Archival Alpinists

August 2nd, 2011

We love these hand tinted magic lantern slides by alpinist Thomas B. Moffat. Taken in the 1930s, they document the Alpine Club of Canada’s ascent of several mountains in the Canadian Rockies. There’s a refreshing lack of technical clothing, high tech gear and off road vehicles in these photographs. Vests, ponchos, pipes and caps finish climbing ensembles that would not look out of place on a city street. Proof that you don’t need dedicated equipment to enjoy the great outdoors.







Thomas B. Moffat lantern slides courtesy Glenbow Museum

Archival Mountaineers

March 16th, 2010


This spring mountaineering season: Pull on your knickers, grab your rucksack, lace up your tallest boots, help your pals with their bowlines-on-a-bight, and head for the hills. Here in Oregon, I’ll limit archivally-equipped outings to big, basic mountains – South Sister would be ideal, but the bold could go for Three-Fingered Jack, named after an infamously disfigured 19th century bandit. Archival Clothing is not responsible for the failure of wooden ice axes or hempen ropes.