READ // The Measure of a Mountain : Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier


READ // The Measure of a Mountain : Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier


Susan McClellan

Recommended Title

The Measure of a Mountain : Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier
By Bruce Barcott
Seattle : Sasquatch Books, c1997
F897.R2B23 1997


From Professor Susan McClellan:

Growing up in the Seattle area, I naturally referred to The Mountain, The Lake, and The Sound, without giving a thought to how those dominant features helped shape my very being. Mt. Rainier is a magnet. I have hiked and skied its flanks, carrying my skis to Camp Muir and skiing down; climbed seracs on the Nisqually Glacier; and eventually climbed to the top, reveling in the grandeur, feeling fully humbled by the experience. The Mountain taught me many lessons, disciplining my passion for life in the process, yet giving me strength to pursue new goals. Writers have recognized the power of both mountains and water to help shape a soul. Justice William O. Douglas, in his autobiographical work entitled Of Men and Mountains, paid tribute to the Cascade Mountains for transforming an asthmatic child into a respected mountaineer and a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In recent years I discovered a book by Bruce Barcott entitled The Measure of a Mountain that seems to capture and relate many aspects of The Mountain’s mystic power, from the simple delights to the tragedies. By selecting this book, I pay my own tribute to The Mountain and to the writing talent of Mr. Barcott.

From the Publisher:
Mount Rainier is the largest most dangerous volcano in the country. Looming above Washington State, it is visited by millions, climbed by thousands, and romanticized, as the most potent icon of the region. Yet it is a mountain that few truly know. In The Measure of a Mountain, writer Bruce Barcott sets out to know Rainier. His method is exploratory, meandering, personal.

From forest to precipice, Bruce Barcott explores not just the natural place of Rainier but also the psychology and the meaning of all mountains. In this debut book, he proves himself to be a remarkably talented writer--engaging, humorous, and infectiously absorbed in his subject.

About the Author:
Local author Bruce Barcott is an avid outdoorsman. His stories and articles have been published in Boston Phoenix, Harpers, Legal Affairs, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, New York Times Magazine, Outside, Seattle Weekly, Slate, Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, and Utne. He edited Northwest Passages: a Literary Anthology of the Pacific Northwest from Coyote Tales to Roadside Attractions. Recognized with journalism prizes nationally and locally, the author counts among his awards The Washington State Book Award for The Measure of a Mountain.