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Publication Date

Summer 2008

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Cathleen Miller

Subject Areas

Biography; History, United States; Literature, American


This thesis relates the history of the first seventy years of mountaineering in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range (from 1860 to 1930). It is a work of narrative nonfiction, with a two-fold purpose of relating to the reader enjoyable, adventurous stories from the era, while simultaneously establishing the historical context that brings the early climbers to life and makes them complex, unique individuals. In order to heighten the sense of adventure and offer the reader a modern perspective, I have physically reenacted all of the climbs related in this work, and my own stories are layered in with the stories of the first mountaineers. The result is a work of storytelling history that combines elements of biography and adventure narrative.