It’s about high time the US had a museum dedicated to the world of mountain and rock climbing. Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, CO is the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum, named after the man who first climbed Mt. Washington…at the age of 11! Two years later, his mother gave him his first camera, a Kodak Brownie, which launched a love of photography. He went on to pioneer the use of aerial photography in planning mountain expeditions (yes, he was an avid pilot, too!). And at the ripe age of 29, he was named director of the New England Museum of Natural History in Boston where he remained the director for the next 40 years. He was still climbing Mt. Everest while in his 80s – in fact, he determined a new height for Everest at 29,035 feet.
On exhibit at the Museum, are the most famous pieces of equipment in climbing history including Peter Schoening’s ice axe which he used to summit K2 in 1953. (He jammed it against a boulder and saved five falling climbers.) The Museum is housed inside the American Mountaineering Center (co-founded by the American Alpine Club, Colorado Mountain Club, and National Geographic Society) which includes one of the world’s largest libraries dedicated to mountaineering research and education, and a 350 seat auditorium America’s Boldest Mountaineer would be proud of.