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Norman Clyde: Legendary Mountaineer of California's Sierra Nevada Paperback – October 1, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Yosemite Conservancy (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597141100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597141109
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By L. Suer on September 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
I finished this book several days ago. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down (so I didn't). This biography is a balanced picture of a man who was an enigma. I really appreciated that Pavlik didn't try to go beyond the available material to create a juicy analysis, even though a psychologist could have a field day analyzing Clyde. Clyde could spend months alone in the mountains, but also spent lots of time climbing with others, seemingly without ever letting down his guard enough to provide a cohesive picture of his personality. Pavlik's biography of this great, multi-faceted mountaineer is highly readable and informative. Pavlik describes Clydes's heroic side (pure love of the mountains), as well as his self-sabotaging side (e.g, getting fired as principal at Bishop H.S., insulting those weaker than he). For mountaineers, Pavlik presents descriptions of specific climbs.
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Format: Paperback
Pavlick has placed Norman Clyde in his rightful place with a richly referenced, thorough biography. Clyde made his mark with over 1,000 summits, at least 130 first ascents and a philosophy of "Mountains will always be there tomorrow. Aim to be able to say the same of yourself." The book has a wealth of Clyde photographs, many showing Clyde with his trusty campaign hat, long ice axe and tricouni nailed boots.

Norman Asa Clyde (8 Apr 1885 - 23 Dec 1972) was well educated (BA 1909, English, Honorary D. Sci (1939) Geneva College; and only lacked a thesis for an MA but he refused to participate in "dramas of the romance languages." He read in six different languages, including French, Italian and English. He was a teacher and principal for 18 years in places including North Dakota, Utah, Florence AZ, San Francisco and Independence CA.

Clyde married Winifred May Bolster (b. 1 May 1890, New York) on 15 June 1915 in Pasadena CA while Clyde was a student at UC Berkeley and Winifred was in nursing school in Oakland. Winifred suffered from tuberculosis for four years and died at age 29 on Valentine's Day, 14 February 1919. Clyde never spoke of his wife, even to close friends.

Clyde served as teacher (English, history, science, Latin) and Principal at Independence High School beginning in 1924, the same year local citizens seized control of the LA Aqueduct floodgates near the Alabama Hills in Owens Valley. A 1928 Halloween incident with students and a gun resulted in Clyde's resignation and freedom to embark upon a life lived in the open.

Some referred to him as "filthy McNasty" because he tended not to wash. Clyde lived at the mercy of the seasons, changing weather and his own rigorous schedule, equally at home on rock or skis.
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Format: Paperback
I had always wondered about the mysterious man of the Sierras, Norman Clyde. His climbs and abilities were legendary, he logged more first accents in the Sierras that the next 3 climbers combined, he was a prodigious photographer and writer--yet many others were more well-known such as Ansel Adams. I had never found personal insight in to the man until reading this revealing book. Norman was everything from a hero who rescued and found missing hikers long after others had given up, to a loaner that spent so much time alone that he forgot how to talk...but never forgot how to write. A Principal in Independence CA who stood up to protect his school, but was released because he didn't fit in. His climbing accomplishments will never be equaled, but he was banished from leading climbs for the Sierra Club. An amazing man whose story should live in parallel with the majestic inspiration that is found in that special place known as the "Range of Light", the Sierra Nevada mountains. This book is well worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
Like another reviewer, I couldn't put Pavlik's "Norman Clyde" down--it is a book that is fun to read. I have not enjoyed a biography so much since Schlesenger's "Robert Kennedy and His Times."

I grew up within walking distance of the mountains that Clyde knew so well, but rarely took advantage of the opportunity to hike; I believe that my life would have taken me down some very different paths if I had known about Norman Clyde 40 years ago. And I just might have been a better student of Latin and Greek, too. . . One of Clyde's poems is reproduced in the book. It begins as one might expect from a student of Homer--with a "rosy morn." But rather than detailing the life of a man of "twists and turns," the poem is a Wordsworth-like celebration of nature. Pavlik's book includes many choice passages from Clyde's own books and articles.

Clyde continued to trek and climb into his 80s. Perhaps there is hope for me yet. One thing is certain--it would be impossible to read Pavlik's "Norman Clyde" and not be inspired to climb your own mountains, whether they be real or figurative.
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Every person interested in the Sierra Nevada and mountaineering will greatly enjoy "Norman Clyde:Legendary Mounaineer of California's Sierra Nevada".The book fills in lots of previously missing information on Clyde's lengthy life and background and contains very interesting comments by people who met him in all kinds of situations. It also contains a thorough list of published and unpublished sources of information on the Sierra Nevada .
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