Archival Alpinists

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

6 thoughts on “Archival Alpinists”

  1. The only thing that you would not see on high street are the breeches that all of the men are wearing, though you don’t see them on a mountain now much either.

  2. While I very much admire the sentiment behind the opening blurb to this post it is worth remembering the date of these photos.

    Much of the clothing that you can see these men and women wearing (their boots, breeches, socks, some of the hats, etc) were in fact dedicated outdoor/sporting apparel in the 30s. While they might be acceptable streetwear now, they weren’t then.

    It certainly proves you can do great things outdoors without the help of gore-tex and polar fleeces but I imagine if these same men and women were to make the same climbs and treks in 2011, they would avail themselves of modern “technical clothing, high tech gear and off road vehicles.”

  3. Great photo’s! Love them. I love the look but still use the best equipment I can. This spring I spent a month in the mountains -so good. But I left my pre-gortex Holubar mountain parka at home – took a new Patagonia shell to the high peaks. Love your blog and your products. Use my bag everyday.

    P.S. now they make Holubar stuff in… Italy!

  4. If you haven’t seen it, you may be interested in the film The Wildest Dream, in which Conrad Anker explores George Mallory’s trips to Everest and tests recreations of Mallory-era climbing gear and techniques while documenting an Everest expedition of his own.


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