Made with 14 oz. waxed cotton canvas and #69 bonded nylon thread, the slipcases install easily on any wooden surface thanks to the four brass eyelets and included #6-5/8” slotted screws. The slipcase is designed specifically for the “Pocket Book,” which slips in and out easily, and holds it securely on a tool chest’s lid or cabinet door.
Like everything from Texas Heritage Woodworks, the slipcase is made by hand in their shop in Menard, Texas. It will easily last as long as the book and your tool chest.
We love them. I installed one on the lid of my Anarchist’s Tool Chest. Megan installed one on the lid of her tool chest and also installed one on the lid of a Dutch Tool Chest she is constructing for her forthcoming book.
Note that all proceeds from the slipcase (which is $25) go to Jason Thigpen and his family at Texas Heritage. Lost Art Press isn’t taking any royalties. We think the world of Jason and his family and the work that they produce. Even if you don’t need a slipcase, we encourage you to check out the company’s tool rolls, aprons and leather goods.
We are currently sold out of “The Woodworker’s Pocket Book” in our store. Another press run is in the works, but we don’t expect to be restocked until mid-April. However, several of our retailers have stock, and we encourage you to support them. All of these retailers had stock or were taking pre-orders as of today.
Editor’s note: The following is a draft chapter from “The Stick Chair Book,” due out later this year. I just wanted to give Peter Galbert a heads up that we’re changing every reference to “Windsors” in “Chairmaker’s Notebook” (just kidding).This piece has been updated to reflect ongoing changes in the manuscript.
When people see a stick chair for the first time, a typical response is to call it a “primitive Windsor.” Unfortunately, every syllable of that expression is incorrect.
And that’s OK. We live in a world where the term “Windsor” has expanded like a gas to mean almost any piece of furniture where stick-y components are mortised into a plank – Windsor table, Windsor stool, Windsor bench, Windsor printer stand.
It does make you wonder: Where did this furniture come from? A place called Windsor?
As furniture historians point out, the origin of the word “Windsor” to describe a class of chairs is complicated and has yet to be definitively settled.
So let’s start at the beginning. Furniture where legs are tenoned into a plank – what is sometimes called “staked furniture” – goes back at least to the ancient Egyptians. Three-legged staked stools with beautifully curved legs and a saddled seat have been found at Thebes (1400 BCE). And the National Museums of Scotland has a similar one from the same time period.
Staked furniture of all kinds shows up in Western paintings and drawings through most of human history. Stools, benches and tables are the most common forms. So, the idea of putting sticks into a slab of wood is at least 3,400 years old.
What I’m interested in, of course, is this: When did people start making chairs this way?
The simple question is complicated a bit by language. The term “stool” can sometimes mean a “backstool,” which is a stool with a backrest that is a solid board or an array of sticks. Some people consider a backstool a “chair” and not a stool. So that clouds the timeline. Old writings that mention “stools” might actually mean “backstools” and those might be chair-like.
The earliest stick chair – legs, seat, arms and backrest – that I know of is from a Welsh book of laws that dates from the late 12th century or the middle 13th century. The book is the “Laws of Hywel Dda”; the chairs are drawn in a particular copy that was written in Latin instead of Welsh (this copy is referred to as the “Peniarth MS 28”).
The book is illustrated and has two images of important men sitting in chairs (one is at the beginning of this chapter). Both appear to be armchairs. Both chairs have tapered legs below the seat. One has sticks under its arms, and the other has four shapes below the arm. The shapes could be cut-outs in a solid plank. Or the shapes could be objects holding up the arm.
“Welsh Windsor chairs sounds to me like saying Welsh Scottish oatcakes, or Welsh Wexford glass” he wrote. “The chairs I am writing about are very definitely Welsh, and they are called stick chairs in Wales. They do, however, fulfil exactly the definition of what has come to be known, in Britain and the United States, as Windsor chairs. My judgement is to stay true to my original thoughts; only time will tell if I am mistaken.”
So if early stick chairs aren’t Windsors, where did Windsor chairs come from?
First, let’s dispense with the myth about the origins of Windsor chairs that gets repeated in popular culture.
“The most popular meaning stems from the story which describes how George III was caught in a rainstorm near Windsor,” writes Ivan G. Sparkes in “The English Country Chair” (1973). “Taking refuge in a cottage, His Highness sat on the best chair in the room and being well pleased with its comfort, required similar ones to be made for Windsor Castle. Unfortunately for this theory, the style existed and was so called long before the Georges came to the throne of England!”
Another (slightly more plausible) theory appears in “Popular Technology; or Professions and Trades. Hazen’s Panorama” (1846) by Edward Hazen.
“The Windsor chair seems to have been first used for a rural seat in the grounds about Windsor castle, England; whence its name. It was originally constructed of round wood, with the bark on; but the chair-makers soon began to make them of turned wood, for the common purposes of house-keeping.”
I do like that this theory hints that bark-on sticks played a part in the history of the Windsor and they were originally outdoor chairs.
In the last decade or so, historians have used probate inventories and paintings to present a clearer picture of the origin of the term. The best synopsis of the current thinking was published in Regional Furniture, Vol. XXIV, by Robert F. Parrott in 2010.
The most interesting part of the evidence are two inventories taken two years apart of the same household, one in 1721 and the other in 1723. The first inventory was for the husband who died of a stroke; in the listing of the equipment for the garden are “Forty eight Forrest Chairs.” Two years later there is another inventory, and in the section on garden equipment are listed 60 “Windsor” chairs. Presumably these are the same chairs, but the household has bought another dozen.
“Presumably therefore, the type of seat originally described as a ‘Forrest’ chair sometimes went under the alternative name of a ‘Windsor’ chair,” Parrott writes. “This, then, may be another reason why the early history of the Windsor has been so difficult to ascertain.”
Forrest Chairs We don’t know exactly what these early chairs looked like, but we have some clues. Since the 1970s, several early chairs have shown up at auction houses, at the Victoria & Albert Museum and through some sleuthing. These chairs are far simpler than the typical later English Windsor and could be a stylistic link between stick chairs, Windsor chairs and American Windsor chairs.
These early chairs share many characteristics with stick chairs. There are no stretchers – the strut legs are simple turnings. There is no backsplat – a very common feature on English Windsors. And the ornamentation is incredibly restrained compared to later English Windsors. There is a simple scratched groove around the seat and the comb. The front posts under the arm have a little shape. But that’s about it for decoration.
As a maker of stick chairs, I contend these are the prettiest English Windsors I’ve ever seen. I am also struck by how much these early chairs resemble American comb-back Windsor chairs. It’s rare to see an American Windsor chair with a backsplat. And the rake and splay of the legs looks far more American than English.
It makes me wonder – and this is a bit of conjecture – if these early chairs inspired American makers.
John Brown also had some thoughts on this matter. He came to a slightly different conclusion.
“The oft repeated statement that American Windsors derive from the English chair could be in error,” Brown wrote. “For historical reasons, and because of similarities in design, there seems to be a more direct link between the Welsh chair and the American Windsor. Perhaps the English version is the cousin, and the Welsh chair is the father!”
So About that Name, ‘Windsor’
Once you know these chairs may have been called “Forrest” chairs, you have to wonder, why did the name switch to “Windsor?” Was it because the chairs were first made in a place named Windsor?
William Sergeant found evidence of the earliest-known maker of Windsor chairs in a village in Lincolnshire, which he discussed in a 2018 article in Regional Furniture. That maker, Joseph Newton of Fenton, placed an ad for “New-fashioned” Windsor chairs in July 1725.
Newton’s ad also mentions there are makers of these chairs in London. What’s important to know is that Newton’s shop was nowhere near Windsor Castle (it’s about 140 miles away).
Parrott and other historians have found connections between chairmaking activity near Windsor and where those articles went to London. But Parrott admits the link is still tenuous.
One possible theory for changing the name is that the term “Windsor” gave the form a royal flavor and is in line with the French naming furniture styles after kings (i.e. Louis XIV).
Or perhaps the name “Windsor” could have become popular first as an insult to the chairs, as Sparkes wrote in 1973.
“In the end I find myself agreeing with those writers who connect the origin of the name with the manufacture and sale of these chairs to the London dealers at the Windsor Market and along the main road from Windsor to London. For one can imagine the London chair dealers, used as they were to the finer mahogany and walnut products of the London workshops, referring in a derogatory way to the latest batch of beech chairs ‘up from Windsor’.”
Today the term “Windsor” gets applied to broad classes of furniture that have no connection to Windsor Castle. Or pieces that have nothing to do with the House of Windsor, which was founded in 1917, or the town of Windsor. It can be confusing. At times I fantasize about a world that has switched back to the earlier and more evocative name for this distinctly English chair: Forrest Chair.
The term “Forrest” is far more descriptive of how the chairs were initially were used: as a seat for the outdoors. And, unlike the word “Windsor,” the term “Forrest” describes without a doubt where the chair came from.
And so, in this book – as a bit of a lark – I will refer to “Windsor” chairs as “Forrest” chairs.
I am certain this will catch on everywhere – just like Esperanto.
The following is from “Ingenious Mechanicks,” by Christopher Schwarz – this excerpt from Chapter IV, by Suzanne Ellison.
Tracing the history of workbenches takes one into the realm of Greek myth, along ancient trade routes, through the harshness of secular and religious empire-building and the glories of golden ages in arts, science and literature. There are many frustrations in the great gaps in the records, and regret over the loss of civilizations, languages and traditions. But the one thing that never disappoints, and alleviates the frustration and regret, is the wonder of human ingenuity.
The research for this topic began in 2014 when Christopher Schwarz asked me to translate an 18th-century description of the fresco from Herculaneum. I picked up the Herculaneum trail again in 2016 to search for contemporary accounts of the excavations and also 19th-century accounts of the condition of the fresco. Here and there, in other research, a low Roman workbench would turn up, but the majority of the images Chris uses in this book, and the workbenches discussed in this chapter, were found in June through September of 2017.
I primarily used publicly available image and text databases maintained by museums, universities, photographic archives, auction houses, academic journals and papers, and used search terms in seven languages. Occasionally, I contacted an archivist or academic researcher, and (with few exceptions) they were more than willing to offer assistance. A conservative estimate of the number of images viewed last summer is 8,000 to 10,000, with images from the Spanish Colonial era contributing about a third of the total.
Verifying the geographic origins of the artwork was the starting point to connecting commonalities in history and development of workbenches with distinctive features.
In the last couple years more public and private museums and universities have collaborated to put collections and other resources online. As we get more access there will be many more discoveries to be made, and I expect the gaps in our timeline will be filled. You may find, as Chris did, a missing piece in the puzzle is in a museum near you.
The Earliest Discoveries: 1st-15th Centuries As Chris and I unearthed examples of the low Roman-style workbenches, there was an emphasis on dating the benches and thinking in terms of a timeline, especially a timeline of innovations. Thanks to my father’s brilliant idea of handing me a map to track our family trips, and to keep me quiet on those trips, I started thinking in terms of maps. I had a workbench-discovery map developing in my head. Date, and place, would become important in solving some of the questions about the technology and the quirky features we found.
Low and higher workbenches and shaving horses are seen in flat outline in Roman funerary iconography, but for our purposes we start with four benches depicted in more dimension and detail. The first four low benches date up to the Roman Empire in the second century. Three are from the heart of the Empire: an engraving of a fresco from Herculaneum; a fresco depicting the myth of Daedalus and Queen Pasiphae from Pompeii; and a piece of decorated Roman glass found in catacombs. The fourth find, and the only extant benches, are the two from Saalburg, the frontier fort on the Limes Germanicus in the Roman province of Raetia. The Saalburg benches had the added interest of puzzling notches, a mystery that was solved, we think, by a Spanish painting executed more than 1,500 years later.
After a gap of six centuries in our record I found an 8th-century fresco of a carpenter working while sitting astride a low bench. The fresco was in an Umayyad bath house in the desert at Qusayr Amra (present-day Jordan), in a region once part of the Roman Empire. The bath house follows a Roman plan and the fresco is one of several “portraits” of the craftsmen who built the structure. After another six-century gap, five benches show up in 14th-century Spain and Italy. The Spanish bench is from Teruel Cathedral in the Aragon province of Zaragoza. Two decades before Qusayr Amra was built, the Umayyad led the Muslim invasion of Spain. In Teruel, Mudejar craftsmen (Muslims who remained in Spain after the Reconquista) built the cathedral and are depicted in portraits similar to those in Qusayr Amra. The Mudejar woodworkers were using low Roman workbenches. Of the Italian benches, one is from a Sephardic manuscript and three are scenes from the construction of Noah’s ark.
In the 15th century, low benches are depicted in Flemish and French paintings of the Holy Family, and in two books from southwest Germany and central Italy. Karl Schreyner, a woodworker in Nürnberg from about 1425, is one of the woodworkers in “The Mendel and Landauer Hausbücher.” In 1485, a woodworker and his bench are on the cover of a novella published in Florence. Both are notable because they are not religious images.
Each time there is a large gap in the image record, huge societal shifts were at work. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the Roman Empire was weakened by plague outbreaks that caused troop shortages and disrupted food production. During the 3rd century, there was a 50-year-long crisis that saw the Empire split into three warring parts. The devastation of wars and plague led to population shifts and, despite a reunification late in the century, there were cities in the western part of Europe that never recovered. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, the Empire struggled to keep control over its vast territories. And by the conclusion of the 5th century, the Roman Empire in Western Europe and the age of Classical Antiquity was at an end.
With the advent of the Early Middle Ages, Western Europe splintered into small kingdoms and city states. In the East, the surviving portion of the Roman Empire attempted to retake Italy and other areas lost to invading tribes. It was, to say the least, a time of great social and economic upheaval, and not every invading or land-grabbing group put record-keeping at the forefront. Artwork from the time does include scenes of woodworking, usually of a Biblical theme, rendered in manuscripts, frescoes, tapestries and mosaics. Representations of the construction of Noah’s ark have yielded a few low workbenches. To Chris’s delight, a series of benches in an early 14th-century Northern Italian manuscript have full face vises.
Two things to consider concerning the lack of image records from the last centuries of the Roman Empire and through the Middle Ages are: Who commissioned the art and who controlled what could be made? In other words: Who had the money and who had the power? The answer: wealthy landowners and the Catholic Church. For the wealthy, a nice selection of art might include portraits to exhibit the richness of your garments and jewels, illuminations for your Book of Hours and tapestries illustrating scenes from the Bible (and to keep out the cold). The Church commissioned frescoes to teach illiterate parishioners lessons from the Bible and the life of Christ. The civic authorities of a city state might commission artwork illustrating themes of good government and portraits of city luminaries. Artwork featuring woodworkers and other craftsmen, all of the low end of the social and economic scales, was not desirable.
How the artwork was made also figures into what survived. Manuscripts and paintings were easy to move to safety, or be looted then saved. Frescoes can be incredibly durable, but given the great age of any work created in this time period they are, nevertheless, fragile. Add in questionable conservation methods and the countless wars and conflicts extending well into the 20th century, and it is remarkable we have anything left to ponder and appreciate.
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from “The Anarchist’s Workbench,” which you can download for free here. This excerpt discusses one way to choose wood for your workbench: its cost per pound.
Let’s Talk About Weight When you compare the weights of species, you need to make sure the comparisons are all at the same moisture content (12 percent is the typical comparison unit). You can compare the density of a species by comparing its “specific gravity,” which is a method that compares the weight to a cubic meter of water. Or you can look at the average dried weight of a cubic foot of the wood (also at 12 percent moisture content).
These are useful, but I think you can also make some important comparisons by factoring in the local price of a species. It’s like buying meat at the butcher. Is rib eye ritzier than hamburger? The price per pound helps us answer that question (and yes, it is).
For example, a cubic foot of hard maple consists of 12 board feet of maple. If maple is $4.73 a board foot, then a cubic foot of maple costs $56.76. That cubic foot weighs 44 lbs. Or $1.29/pound.
Longleaf pine (a yellow pine) is 78 cents a board foot (for No. 1 grade), so a cubic foot costs $9.40. That cubic foot weighs 41 lbs. Or a remarkably cheap 23 cents per pound.
Because I live to poke fun at Ipe, let’s run those numbers. Ipe costs $17 a board foot, so a cubic foot costs $204. That cubic foot weighs 69 lbs. So Ipe is $2.96/pound. Not a great deal at the wood butcher’s.
The chart compares some of the common U.S. hardwoods and softwoods using typical Midwestern retail prices circa 2020 (this is not wholesale or trade pricing). This cost-per-pound calculation is simple to do yourself using your local prices.
Here’s how: Take your cost per board foot (use 8/4 prices) and multiply that by 12. That’s the cost for a cubic foot. Now divide that number by the weight of a cubic foot of that species (a statistic that is easily found in books and online). The result is the cost per pound.
Do the Math From the chart, ash looks like a good choice among the hardwoods. The problem with that assessment is that by the time you are reading this book, white ash might be almost extinct. The emerald ash borer has devastated the ash forests in the United States. So, you might not be able to buy it at any price. And if you do find it, you want to ensure it hasn’t rotted. We have been plagued by punky ash for the last few years as the sawyers have milled up trees that have been standing dead.
Aside from ash, poplar and the maples are a great bang for the buck. Both are easy to work, readily available and fairly cheap by the pound. I’ve made workbenches using all three species and think they’re fine. Neither is considered a noble species for a workbench, like European beech. But as long as you aren’t out to impress anyone, go for it. You’ll have no problem finding those species at almost any lumberyard in America.
But if you want to go full redneck, read on.
Softwoods that are used for structural members in home construction – the yellow pines, Douglas fir, hemlock and some spruces – are an outstanding value. They are heavy, cheap and readily available at any lumberyard. After working with them most of my life in residential construction and workbench building, they remain my No. 1 choice for workbenches.
Here’s why: Anyone can buy it. You don’t have to search out a specialty lumberyard or set up a commercial account. Just go to the home center if you want (though I always prefer family lumberyards). They have plenty.
Also important: They have plenty. A typical home center or family lumberyard will have hundreds of planks of 2x material in the racks on any given day – everything from 2x6s to 2x12s – with lengths from 8′ to 16′. At a home center, you can spend hours sifting through the racks to find the best boards – the employees don’t care. At a family lumberyard it pays to ask permission (they will sometimes be happy to help you). Either way, just be sure to restack the lumber nicer than you found it.
Here’s another buying tip: Some lumberyard chains carry No. 2 yellow pine, others carry No. 1. The price difference is minimal, but the quality isn’t. No. 1 is worth the extra nickels. If you find a yard that deals in No. 1, you might be able to buy all the wood for your bench in one swoop. If you buy No. 2, you might have to hit all the yards in your town, county or region.
Yellow pine is easy to work. I’ve built yellow pine workbenches using only hand tools, and using a full-on machine shop. It’s friendly stuff. Yes, there can be some knots, but if you pick your boards with care, you’ll have almost none of those to deal with.
So there must be disadvantages. Yes, but they are slight. Construction lumber is sold in a wetter state than hardwood lumber.
While hardwoods are typically sold at about 12 percent moisture content (or at equilibrium with some environment) that is not the case with construction lumber. It is wetter.
How wet? In the Midwest it might be 15-20 percent moisture content. On the West Coast, it might be even wetter (as in wet enough to ooze and squirt water). So, you need to gather up what you need to build your bench, cut it to rough length, stack it and wait a bit.
It might also be “case hardened” because it was kiln dried too quickly. When lumber is rushed through a kiln it can develop tension that is released when you cut it. It’s particularly obvious when you rip a board. Sometimes the wood will pinch so hard on a blade it will stop a 3-horsepower table saw like pinching out a candle.
How do you deal with this? It’s not difficult.
Plan to cut things a bit over-wide. And have some wooden wedges handy to keep the kerf open when you rip the wood. After that first rip, a case-hardened board will usually lose all of its fight.
Make your rip cut to a shallow depth at first – less than half the thickness of the board. Then raise the blade, flip the board end-over-end and finish the rip.
The final disadvantage: Softwoods are uber-redneck. No one is going to “ooh and ahh” over your choice of yellow pine. It’s the mullet of the forest.
The True Cost of Yellow Pine per Pound I’m not a trusting soul. After I calculated the cost of yellow pine per pound (23 cents) based on published statistics, I decided to see if that worked in the real world. So, I weighed several 2x12x8s and came up with an average weight of 30.4 pounds each.
These were boards I’d had in my shop for months, so they had likely lost some of their water weight (as all softwoods do). Plus, the boards in this particular pile were fairly average – not full of sap or with lots of heavy summerwood. In other words, they were a bit on the lightweight side.
Each of these boards cost $8.81 each, so that’s 29 cents per pound – about 6 cents per pound more expensive than the published weight tables indicate. But still a great deal.
I wondered, how did that work out after surfacing the boards and gluing them up? What was the cost per pound of “finished” yellow pine?
Here’s how I calculated that. The benchtop for the workbench at the end of this book is made from nine 2x12s, ripped in half, glued up and planed so the top is 5″ thick. Nine 2×12 x 8s cost $79.29. After gluing up the top, I managed to weigh it on a heavy-duty scale we use for shipping crates. The top weighed 240 pounds. That’s 33 cents per pound. Still a bargain (if you ask me).
This week 28 years ago Dick Proenneke was rolling pell-mell down a mountain steep as a cow’s face.
Editing this book has been so much fun, in part because of what we didn’t edit. Dick made it very clear that he did not want his journal entries edited, which Monroe Robinson has respected. The result? Intimacy.
We editors love to tidy things up. Here at Lost Art Press we have our own house style followed by AP Style and Merriam-Webster. We like consistency. Our goal is to create smooth and easy reading, much like the experience of driving on a freshly paved stretch of road. No one likes to hit a pothole while admiring the scenery.
That said, voice is scenery. We respect voice. We also know that as much as we find comfort in lines drawn on a map, sometimes turning off the highway and onto a bumpy dirt road provides the best view.
So much of this book is edited – the photos, the illustrations, Monroe’s text, the front matter, the back matter, the maps, and even the journal entries chosen and the order in which they appear. But Dick’s words, for the most part, are not. And so we are gifted with porkypines (porcupines). Hurdy gurdy drill (egg-beater drill). Purty (pretty). Cuttingest machine (a tool that is performing its job well).
Much of this book is about the things Dick made from found materials while living alone in Alaska. But every once in a while Monroe includes a gem of a journal entry such as the one below. Once you catch onto the rhythm of Dick’s writing style you find yourself with him, circling the mt. (mountain), hiking in deeper snow than expected, noting the tracks of wolves, climbing, sliding, lamenting snow in mittens and a lost walking stick, surviving (not “sorry charley” this time!), and warming and writing by the fire. Each journal entry is a delightful detour down a dirt road.
The illustrations for this book by Elin Price are complete and Linda Watts, our designer, is already working on Chapter 6 out of 9. We can’t wait to share this book with you, a deep dive into Dick’s life, misspellings and all.
— Kara Gebhart Uhl
March 15, 1993:
Clear, Calm and -8°.
Clear and stars looking down, it could get pretty cool tonight. The half gallon carton of vanilla ice cream set on the table out front and morning would find it about right for dishing it out. Zero degrees makes soft ice cream.
The fire was buried the whole night. I would have coals but puny ones. During breakfast I knew what I was going to do today. A good day to circle the mt. I had suggested it to Leon [Alsworth] and he said we will have to go on snowshoes. Maybe next week he could go but I was sure he wouldn’t. On those little Sherpa aluminum and plastic snowshoes I wouldn’t go. Only thing good about them is the ice claws for mt. travel. It was 9.30 when I closed the door. I would pack my snowshoes to the mouth of Low Pass creek. I had the Olympus OM1n with 50 and 28 mm lens. I was dressed cool for it would be a warm three hrs getting to the divide. That last 400 feet of elevation is as steep as a cows face.
I took a few frames from the mouth of Low Pass creek and then headed for the pass. No sign of porkypines at their winter home and now I wouldn’t know where to find one. I see no tracks.
I was breaking a deeper trail than I had expected. It would be a good climb up the trench to the pass. Old tracks of a wolverine headed or coming from the pass. I have seen porkypines in the pass making that slow hike to the Kijik country. In due time I was up there enjoying the view back down and across the lake. Lots of snow up there and I believe there is more snow in the bottom behind gold ridge than I have ever seen there. 1,700 feet from the lake is the gain in elevation when you climb to the pass. From the pass it is a gain of 1,300 feet to the summit where I would cross. No tracks not one as I traveled on. The fresh last snow laid like a cotton bat and about 6 inches deep on top of the settled snow pack. Just before I got to that last very steep pitch to the divide I came to a reasonably fresh wolf track coming down from the high ridge. Later I would see that track climbing up 1st canyon. So wolves cross there some times and so do wolverine for today I would see a wolverine track climbing to the 3,000 ft. ridge.
At last I stood at the base of that 400 ft. very steep climb. I would have to climb it without snowshoes so I put them on the light pack frame with my camera gear. The snow more than shoe pac deep but a base that was soft enough to give good traction. Traverse back and forth across a width of a couple hundred feet of the mt. Climb at a comfortable angle. Slow but steady does it and in due time I was up near the eye in the mt. I had looked for it as I climbed from Low Pass but couldn’t spot it. I found the snow so deep only a little of the eye was visible. At last I stood on the divide and the time a quarter till three. It had taken me more than five hrs from my cabin to the top 3,000 ft. up.
The sun was bright and a cool breeze had me looking for sun on the protected side of the ridge. I shot a few frames and ate my sourdough sadwich and one of Sis’s good cookies. Now it was down hill all the way to my cabin and about 2 hrs. steady going to get there. Steep for the 1st quarter mile. Now I learned what I once knew. Crampons can be necessary for that 1st quarter for the snow can be too hard to kick steps. Right there I should have turned back and down where I had climbed. I expected it to get better a hundred feet down. There is hard wind pack near the top. To play it safe I moved in the clear of rock outcrops below.
To lose footing and go pell mell down a steep pitch and hit a rock will spoil your day, but good. I was in the clear but footing was poor. If I started I wouldn’t stop for about 200 yds. And I started. I was using both hands on my good walking stick for a brake. Faster and faster and it was a pretty rough slide. My pack kept me from staying on my back and when I went side wise I started to roll. Ho Boy! All I could see was snow and blue sky revolving at a terrific rate. Presently I slowed and stopped. It had been the six inches of loose snow I was expecting higher up. It is surprising how much snow gets inside a tumble down the mt. My mittens were full. Snow inside my jacket. Didn’t lose my Bean cap with the ear flaps over my ears. Still had my pack on for I had hooked the rubber link across my chest. First thing I noticed was that my right upper arm pained a little. If it hurt so soon it wouldn’t hurt a lot more tomorrow. Legs were ok and that was good. If I had broken a leg it would be “sorry charley” you didn’t make it. Tonight would be well below zero. So I could put up with a sore arm and not complain. I discovered that I had lost my good walking stick. I looked for sign of it above and below. Even tried to climb but after climbing 50 feet I slid down 25. Tried again and just couldn’t get traction. So I got organized and headed down the mt. in the loose 6-8 inches of snow. When the incline flattened a bit I put on my snowshoes and came down the water course from the base of the steep going. I hadn’t gone far when I met a wolf track climbing to the divide. It was short steps and feet making drag marks in the loose snow for the wolf. Headed for the Kijik for I hadn’t seen tracks in the pass coming to the upper lake. Down, down but not so steep that I would lose control on snowshoes. At times I would support my right arm with my left hand. It was uncomfortable hanging free. Lower I came to a wolverine track climbing so it was going over the top. I find mr. wolverine just doesn’t seem to care how steep or rough it is. He doesn’t seem to appreciate an easy route.
Hope creek at last and from 1st canyon down it was nice going. Wished for my walking stick but managed without it. It was going to take just about 2 hrs. from the divide to my cabin and the sun would be just about ready to set directly behind the Pyramid mt.
I opened the cabin door and learn’d Leon had been here. A bag containing letters a package and two batteries for my Bendix “King” radio. I still had a very few coals under the ashes and fine stuff would have a fire going quickly. I wanted to auger the ice this evening for I might not do it so easy tomorrow. I found it 27″ this 15th of March. Did my chores with little difficulty and got out of my damp hiking clothes. How would my journal entry go with that gimpy right arm. It has worked better but I managed better than I expected. I’ll take an “Ascription” at ladder climbing time. Now 10.30 Clear, calm and -3°.