Zeb the Duck Visits the Mountaineering Museum

Too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer, too rainy in the spring?   Time to explore the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado.

Let’s go inside

This is the first and only museum in the United States dedicated to mountaineering history.   This center opened in February, 2008.    Inside we paid our fee and gazed at the many displays before us.

So much to see here

Maybe start with this climber.

Mountain climbing

Then to this model of Mt. Everest, the portion above 18,000 feet (5,486 meters).

Mt. Everest–the tallest portion

Clean climbing now allows climbers to safely climb without destroying the rock they are ascending.

Clean climbing

A piton hammered into a crack makes a solid anchor, but when a piton is hammered out of the crack, bits of rock are eroded.   In the 1960’s, British climbers began picking up machine nuts by railroad tracks and slotting them into tapering cracks to create rock anchors.   These nuts could be removed from the crack without hammering.   Nuts made specifically for climbing began to catch on in the early 1970’s.   This is called clean climbing.   Did you know that 10% of the Earth’s population inhabits mountain slopes, valleys and plateaus. Many diverse cultures learned to live in isolated and often hostile environments.   Food, work and religion are all partly shaped by mountains.   This is a Prayer Wheel, often found in the Himalayas.

Prayer wheel

Prayer wheels have existed for at least 1,600 years in Tibetan culture.   Prayer wheels are inscribed with the ancient symbols for a mantra, a prayer that is also chanted or whispered.   Some mantras symbolize each of the 84,000 sections of the Buddha’s teachings.     I, Zeb the Duck, like them.   Another exhibit providing glimpses of mountain cultures.

Mountain cultures

This mask is part of a traditional religious garment worn during Mani Rimdu, a festival performed at the Tengboche Buddhist Monastery in Nepal.   It seeks to destroy demons that would harm human life.   How high can humans live?   Remember the higher the elevation, the less oxygen available in the air.   People have lived up to 2 years at 19,500 feet (5,944 meters).   The highest known permanent settlement is a mining town in southern Peru at 16,730 feet (5,100 meters).   The 10th Mountain Division was very important during World War II.

The 10th Mountain Division.  So important in World War II

A peek at life in the 10th Mountain Division

10th Mountain Division

These men were excellent skiers and excellent soldiers.   As the above sign said, many returned to the Colorado mountains and were vital to the today’s ski industry.   Present day climbers are conquering sheer rock walls such as this.

Climbing a very steep rock wall

We ducks know that you humans are very curious, so we will tell you.

You wanted to know this

Now about that sleeping…

Satisfying human curiosity

I, Zeb the Duck, am fascinated by these climbers, but I don’t want to try it.   Remember, the higher the altitude, the colder the temperatures.   There is an average decrease of 3.5 degrees F for ever 1,000 feet.  Or decrease of 6.5 degrees C for every 1,000 meters of elevation that you climb.   I am almost embarrassed to say that I like to be warm and I enjoy my comforts.   How about you?  For more information about the Mountaineering Center, visit http://www.MountaineeringMuseum.org


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