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Pickets and Dead Men: Seasons on Rainier Paperback – March 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Mountaineers Books (March 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594851018
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594851018
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

BREE LOEWEN has been a climbing ranger on Mount Rainier, an EMT in Seattle, and has written for Climbing magazine. She currently teaches rigging and navigation classes for search and rescue groups and lives in Carnation, Washington, with her husband and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

So I give it a solid 3 might warrant a 4 but certainly not a 5.
Baja James
Her love and utter respect for the mountain shine through the turmoil and suffering she endured to live out her 'dream job'.
Jennie S. Hill
Bree's writing style is clear, insightful, very polished for a first-time author.
Andre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Baja James on October 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started reading this book and it is a fast read. Chapter 1 is very interesting. There are lots of folks I would never want to meet. The authors climbing partner, Kim, the skier that takes the wands and ditches them, the authors boy friend that she says tried to kill her and I hate to say it I am not sure I would want to climb with the author. Chapter 1 reads like a how not to execute a winter climb and how not to pick a partner and how to ignore all the warning signs of an epic about to happen.

To me this book shows the real underbelly of climbing. The self centeredness that some climbers have and the attitude that the outdoors is just Disneyland with SAR teams.

The book is a real eye opener for anyone who has never climbed in this environment. The writing is OK but a bit bleak and negative. And the author seems to draw some of this negativity in people to her. This can make the book a bit uncomfortable to read.

The climbers themselves are a selfish lot and the tourists in the book range from selfish to suicidal. There are times in this book where you will have to wonder if Bree sometimes sets herself up for failure. If by nothing else never saying no. In the end I think the book reveals she is a good person. And that as climbers sometimes we need to look inwards and outwards. Inwards to our challenges and goals and outwards to insure we do not leave a wake of carnage in our paths.

So I give it a solid 3 might warrant a 4 but certainly not a 5.

Tag line should be "Mamas don't let your kids grow up to be climbers......"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Mercer on January 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Clearly lots of hard work went into this book. Not just the writing, which is very good, but the adventures themselves. The job of a ranger always seems so glamorous, and the authors love of the work and the location really highlights those aspects of it. The author also does a fantastic job setting things straight with regards to long days and night and chores and the gruesome and grueling parts of the job. The adventures that are documented are fantastic and the descriptions really allow you to get into the events and begin to know the places and people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Digbee VINE VOICE on June 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
If you've ever wanted to be a climbing ranger, or wondered what they do, this short book will tell you. I'll warn you in advance: it's not glamorous. In fact, it's often dreary in Loewen's telling - - lots of very cold hikes without water, food, the right clothing or the right equipment.

As that suggests, the book is full of moments when I thought, "Why did you make these choices?" For example, why did you leave base with too little water, too little food, too little clothing, an inadequate first aid kit, and so on? Often the answer is, "I expected an easy run up to Camp Muir," or "I only expected to have to guide a lost kid down the hill," but obviously life as a climbing ranger throws things at you. Constantly.

Most of the individual chapters didn't have the clear beginning-middle-end of a traditional story, built around a particular idea or point. (The story of the first body recovery did, though.) Many of them are in fact "all the stuff that happened in my really long day that covered 72 hours." There are interesting stories in there, but if I were Loewen's editor, I'd have had her break them up into many, shorter stories, each with a stronger narrative structure.

Behind the stories lies a very strong indictment of National Park Service personnel policies and management. Her bosses are macho jerks who don't know how to manage people. Some are enamored of uniforms and gun belts, others love enforcing regulations even when that enforcement gets in the way of the unit's mission. They expect rangers to work for free, without sleep. They worry about maintaining the NPS image even if that injures or kills visitors - or rangers. Appalling.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andre on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
As someone who is very familiar with climbing and hiking on the Mountain, I found the book excellent. Bree's writing style is clear, insightful, very polished for a first-time author. My only wish is that there had been more. More insights into her thoughts (we were given glimpses, but only hints of evolution), more vignettes from three years than the handful that she chose to share, more views of the characters that made each situation so fascinating. Don't get me wrong, what is in the book is great, well detailed, and extremely interesting. Much more can be gleaned by reading through the lines, particulary if you are familiar with Mt. Rainier and its community. While reading the book I also kept wondering if the fact that the book was published by the Mountaineers had in any way kept some of the more juicy morsels out. While I of course do not know, I can guess the many reasons why a more thorough "tell-all" book was not written, including I'm sure relationships with the people still there, and some who are sadly since deceased. However, what was written is a really fascinating, very well written insight into the world of a climbing ranger on Mt. Rainier, a truly thankless but extremely important job, and if anyone has an interest in Mt. Rainier and climbing, it is well worth reading. Bree, you're a very good writer, I hope to see more from you in the future.
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