Friday, March 26, 2010

The Norman Clyde Exhibit (1 of 2)

The Eastern California Museum in Independence, CA had an exhibit dedicated to the life of Norman Clyde last year. On my way home I decided to stop by and check it out. I had been there a few years ago when they had an exhibit on the Russian Gulog. This was something that did interest me since Norman Clyde is famous for his 1st ascents on many Sierra mountains.

Prior to my going, I did know some about his life through a few books he had written about his climbs, a few articles written about him, and a recent biography written about him. This exhibit showed a lot of pictures taken of him, pictures he had taken, and some of his "artifacts" he used.

The following board shows some about his wife and their marriage license. If my memory serves, she was a nurse who ended up getting t.b. herself and died a few years after her marriage. This event is what made Norman Clyde move to the Eastern Sierra in order to become a principal at the high school there.

This pictures shows a few of his possessions. While mountain geer is expected, the books are interesting to me in that he was really into the classics. Apparently, while not out climbing would spend a lot of time reading the ancients.
This slab of wood I found interesting. On the first climb up Whitney's East Face, Norman and his hiking friends found this piece of wood. It says, "William Knutson Sept 4 91(?) Tiptop." One wonders if they were truly the first ones to ascend on that route, but in any case I think it is cool find for 1931. You may want to double click this picture:
Here is a gun he owned. The story is that a bunch of local teenagers tried to pull a prank on Halloween night at the high school. Norman was at the school and pulled his gun. After shooting a some shots in the air this incident led to his resigning (or fired) as principal. From what I have read, he was not really a guy who was living up to the communities expectations as an educator because he was always taking off on weekends to do his climbs rather than go to the local community functions. So, this was another incident that forced him to isolate and focus more on climbing.
His hat. He had that kind of Indiana Jones thing going for him.

I will continue this in the next blog. I tried to do a video of this exhibit. Although you cannot really tell from what I used as video, there were people around. So, I had to kind of move quickly at some points to avoid being annoying to others trying to look at the pictures and artifacts. If you do see something you want to look at or try to read some of the panels then I really suggest you pause the video.

Norman Clyde Exhibit (Youtube Version)

Norman Clyde Exhibit (Vimeo Version)