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a Huntley Ingalls and Layton Kor wander up rocky terrain in Kor’s station wagon on their way to the 1962 first ascent of Standing Rock in Utah’s Canyonlands. Monster Tower and Washer Woman stand tall in the background—Kor would return just a year later to make the first ascent of both towers. Huntley Ingalls collection/AAC Library


“These untouched, fiercely protected sandstone towers—known only to birds—seemed more fantasy than reality…There were not only unclimbed towers but untouched areas. Part of the wonderful experience of pioneering these climbs was the feeling of exploration. We were fantastically privileged to be the first.”
—Huntley Ingalls

In this American Alpine Club Library exhibit, expert desert climber and author Steve “Crusher” Bartlett weaves a 100-year history of first ascents in the Desert Southwest that reflect the rich spirit of climbing in America. Guiding his exhibit are photos and artifacts from some these intrepid desert pioneers—including Huntley Ingalls, Harvey Carter, Eric Bjornstad, Jerry Gallwas, and Ed Webster—all from the AAC archives, many previously unpublished.

Read on, and take a journey from Shiprock to Indian Creek, from hemp ropes to camming devices, from a place enamored with possibility to a realm that Layton Kor dubbed, “beyond the vertical.”