Agnes Vaille Shelter

Last updated
Agnes Vaille Shelter
Agnes Vaille Shelter.jpg
USA Colorado location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Nearest city Estes Park, Colorado
Coordinates 40°15′38″N105°37′13″W / 40.26056°N 105.62028°W / 40.26056; -105.62028 Coordinates: 40°15′38″N105°37′13″W / 40.26056°N 105.62028°W / 40.26056; -105.62028
AreaLess than one acre
Built1927 and 1935
Built byNational Park Service
Architectural styleNPS Rustic
MPS Rocky Mountain National Park MRA
NRHP reference No. 92001669 [1]
Added to NRHPDecember 24, 1992

The Agnes Vaille Shelter is a beehive-shaped stone shelter along E. Longs Peak Trail near the summit of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA. The first shelter was built in 1927 by the National Park Service after a number of climbers died ascending Longs Peak. The shelter was named for Agnes Vaille, who died while descending from the first winter ascent of the east face of Longs Peak on January 12, 1925. Herbert Sortland also died of exposure during an attempt to rescue Vaille. Vaille's family rebuilt the shelter in 1935.

Contents

Agnes Vaille

Agnes Wolcott Vaille was born in 1890 and graduated from Smith College. She came from a prominent Denver family; her father was president of the first telephone company in Denver. During World War I, Vaille volunteered to work overseas for the Red Cross. After the war, Vaille was appointed secretary of the Denver Chamber of Commerce. [2] [3]

Vaille was a member of the Colorado Mountain Club, served as Outing Chairman and was an early member of the '14,000 Footers Club'. [4] [5] In 1923, she made a solo winter ascent, the first known, of James Peak. [6] Mountaineer Carl Blaurock called Vaille "a strong, husky woman, just crazy about climbing". [6]

Vaille's death on Longs Peak

Vaille met Walter Kiener in the Colorado Mountain Club; they decided to be the first climbers to make a winter ascent of the east face of Longs Peak. Their first three attempts were unsuccessful. The fourth attempt began on the morning of January 11, 1925. [2] On January 12, 1925, they reached the peak at 4:00 a.m.; Kiener noted that the temperature was −14 °F (−26 °C). On the way down from the summit, the temperature dropped further and the wind picked up. At 13,000 ft (4,000 m), Vaille slipped and fell 100–150 ft (30–46 m). She survived but was exhausted, and her hands and feet were frozen. [3] Kiener went for help but when rescuers arrived, Vaille had died of hypothermia. [3] [7] One of the rescuers, Herbert Sortland, suffered a broken hip from a fall, and also died of hypothermia. His body was found in late February, a few hundred yards from Longs Peak Inn. [8] [2]

Vaille was buried in Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado. [3]

The first stone shelter was built in 1927 under the direction of Roger Toll, Superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park and Vaille's cousin. [9] Recent scholarship asserts that the present shelter was built by Vaille's family in 1935 to replace the 1927 Park Service shelter. [10] The shelter was designed in the spirit of the National Park Service rustic style to blend with the local landscape, located above 13,400 feet (4,100 m) elevation on the edge of an area known as the Boulder Field. The stone for the shelter came from this area. [11] It consists of a single circular room with a conical ceiling formed by the walls and roof of the shelter, entered by a single door opening whose door has been removed. As a result, the interior may be partially filled with snow for much of summer. There are two glazed windows and one filled-in opening, and the floor is paved with stone. [11]

A plaque mounted near the shelter reads, [2]

Agnes Wolcott Vaille

This shelter commemorates
a Colorado mountaineer
conquered by winter after
scaling the precipice
January 12, 1925
and one who lost his life
in an effort to aid her
Herbert Sortland

The Agnes Vaille Shelter was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 24, 1992. [1]

Walter Kiener

Kiener was born in Bern, Switzerland, the son of a sausage maker. [12] He left school at 15 to help support his family. In his free time, Kiener became an expert mountaineer in the Alps. After serving his mandatory military service, he immigrated to the United States. Kiener arrived in Denver in 1923, took a job as a butcher, and joined the Colorado Mountain Club where he met Vaille. [8]

Kiener suffered frostbite as a result of the Longs Peak expedition and lost several fingers, most of his toes, and part of a foot. [12] Vaille's father, who was grateful for Kiener's rescue attempt, paid Kiener's medical bills. The accident left Kiener unable to continue his job as foreman of a Denver sausage factory. He was given the job of seasonal ranger, manning the fire lookout station on top of Twin Sisters, by Superintendent Toll. [8] He worked there for five summers, then, with financial assistance from the Vaille family, he enrolled in biology at University of Nebraska, [13] graduating in 1930. He earned his master's degree in 1931 and his Ph.D. in 1940. [12] [2] His doctoral thesis was titled, Sociological Studies of the Alpine Vegetation on Longs Peak. [14]

Kiener taught at University of Nebraska and served as chief biologist for the State of Nebraska Game, Forestation, and Parks Commission. He also founded the Nebraska Game Commission's Fisheries Research Department. [14] He died of pancreatic cancer on August 24, 1959. [14] Keiner's extensive collection of plant specimens, catalogs, field notes, reference books is housed at the University of Nebraska State Museum. [15]

Related Research Articles

Mountaineering Sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering, often called alpinism when done in the Alps, is the set of activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing, and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are also considered mountaineering by some.

Estes Park, Colorado Statutory town in Colorado, United States

Estes Park is a statutory town in Larimer County, Colorado, United States. A popular summer resort and the location of the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park lies along the Big Thompson River. Estes Park had a population of 5,858 at the 2010 census. Landmarks include The Stanley Hotel and The Baldpate Inn. The town overlooks Lake Estes and Olympus Dam.

Longs Peak

Longs Peak is a high and prominent mountain in the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,259-foot (4346 m) fourteener is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, 9.6 miles (15.5 km) southwest by south of the Town of Estes Park, Colorado, United States. Longs Peak is the northernmost fourteener in the Rocky Mountains and the highest point in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. The mountain was named in honor of explorer Stephen Harriman Long and is featured on the Colorado state quarter.

Fred Beckey American rock climber and mountaineer

Friedrich Wolfgang Beckey, known as Fred Beckey, was an American rock climber, mountaineer and author, who made hundreds of first ascents, more than any other North American climber.

Broad Peak 12th-highest mountain on Earth, located on the China–Pakistan border in the disputed region of Kashmir, also claimed by India

Broad Peak is a mountain in the Karakoram on the border of Pakistan and China, the 12th highest mountain in the world at 8,047 metres (26,401 ft) above sea level. It was first ascended in June 1957 by Fritz Wintersteller, Marcus Schmuck, Kurt Diemberger, and Hermann Buhl of an Austrian expedition.

Grays Peak

Grays Peak is the tenth-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,278-foot (4352 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Front Range and the highest point on the Continental Divide in North America. Grays Peak is located in Arapahoe National Forest, 3.9 miles (6.2 km) southeast by east of Loveland Pass on the Continental Divide between Clear Creek and Summit counties. The peak is the highest point in both counties.

Norman Clyde

Norman Clyde was a mountaineer, mountain guide, freelance writer, nature photographer, and self trained naturalist. He is well known for achieving over 130 first ascents, many in California's Sierra Nevada and Montana's Glacier National Park. He also set a speed climbing record on California's Mount Shasta in 1923. The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley has 1467 articles written by Clyde in its archives.

Glacier National Park (Canada) Canadian national park located in British Columbia

Glacier National Park is part of a system of 43 parks and park reserves across Canada, and one of seven national parks in British Columbia. Established in 1886, the park encompasses 1,349 km2 (521 sq mi), and includes a portion of the Selkirk Mountains which are part of the larger grouping of mountains, the Columbia Mountains. It also contains the Rogers Pass National Historic Site.

Alex Lowe American mountaineer (1958-1999)

Stewart Alexander Lowe was an American mountaineer. He has been described as inspiring "...a whole generation of climbers and explorers with his uncontainable enthusiasm, legendary training routines, and significant ascents of rock climbs, ice climbs, and mountains all over the world...". He died in an avalanche in Tibet. The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation honors his legacy.

Frederick Hastings Chapin was an American businessman, mountaineer, photographer, amateur archaeologist and author. He is best known for his exploration of mesas and ancient Pueblo ruins found in the Mesa Verde area of Colorado.

James Peak

James Peak is a high mountain summit in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,300-foot (4,054 m) thirteener is located on the Continental Divide in the James Peak Wilderness of Arapaho National Forest and Roosevelt National Forest, 5.2 miles (8.4 km) east-southeast of the Town of Winter Park, Colorado, United States. The summit is the tripoint of Clear Creek, Gilpin, and Grand counties. The peak is the highest point in Gilpin County and the James Peak Wilderness.

Colorado Mountain Club A hiking club

The Colorado Mountain Club (CMC), formed in 1912, is a nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) outdoor education organization based in Golden, Colorado that gathers and disseminates information regarding Colorado's mountains in the areas of art, science, literature and recreation. The club advocates for the preservation of the alpine regions, and was instrumental in the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. The CMC has its own press with over 30 published titles, and has continuously published Trail & Timberline magazine since 1918.

Mark Wilford is an American rock climber and alpinist known for his bold, traditional style.

Glen Dawson (mountaineer)

Glen Dawson was an American rock climber, mountaineer, antiquarian bookseller, publisher and environmentalist.

Jeff Lowe

Jeff Lowe was a famed American alpinist from Ogden, Utah who was known for his visionary climbs and first ascents established in the US and Canadian Rockies, Alps and Himalayas. He was a proponent of the "Alpine style" philosophy of climbing, where small teams travel fast with minimal gear. Lowe made over 1000 first ascents.

Carl Blaurock was an American mountaineer. He pioneered many climbing routes throughout Colorado and Mount Blaurock is named after him. Blaurock and climbing partner Bill Ervin were the first to climb all of the 14,000-foot peaks in the state of Colorado, doing so by 1923.

Adam Bielecki (climber)

Adam Radosław Bielecki is a Polish alpine and high-altitude climber, known for the first winter ascents of the eight-thousanders: Gasherbrum I and Broad Peak. In his book Spod zamarzniętych powiek written with co-author Dominik Szczepański, Bielecki tells the story of his climbings, memories from Himalayan expeditions, and the effort the highest mountains demand.

Bierstadt Lake

Bierstadt Lake is located in Larimer County, Colorado and within the Rocky Mountain National Park. Near McHenrys Peak and Longs Peak, there are "spectacular views" of the Continental Divide at the lake. The Bierstadt Lake Trailhead is located about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) from the turn-off at U.S. Route 36 into the Rocky Mountain National Park. During the summer, shuttle buses provide transportation to the trailhead.

History of Rocky Mountain National Park began when Paleo-Indians traveled along what is now Trail Ridge Road to hunt and forage for food. Ute and Arapaho people subsequently hunted and camped in the area. In 1820, the Long Expedition, led by Stephen H. Long for whom Longs Peak was named, approached the Rockies via the Platte River. Settlers began arriving in the mid-1800s, displacing the Native Americans who mostly left the area voluntarily by 1860, while others were removed to reservations by 1878.

References

  1. 1 2 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 MacDonald, Dougald (2004). Longs Peak: The Story of Colorado's Favorite Fourteener. Big Earth Publishing. pp. 86–91. ISBN   978-1-56579-497-9.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Taylor, Carol (January 11, 2013). "A fatal winter climb in 1925". DailyCamera.com. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  4. "Agnes Vaille · Women in High Places, 1880-1950 · The Collections of the American Alpine Club Library". library.AmericanAlpineClub.org. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  5. Fleming, Barbara (June 14, 2015). "Fleming: The story behind a name: Agnes Vaille Shelter". Coloradoan.com. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  6. 1 2 Robertson, Janet (2003). The Magnificent Mountain Women: Adventures in the Colorado Rockies. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 49–56. ISBN   0-8032-8995-2.
  7. "East face of peak in Colorado defies efforts to scale it". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, New York. January 28, 1927. p. 29. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  8. 1 2 3 Colorado Historical Society (2004). Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing. Fulcrum Publishing. pp. 205–224. ISBN   978-1-55591-531-5.
  9. "Agnes Vaille Storm Shelter". coloradoencyclopedia.org. 3 August 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  10. Perry, Phyllis J (2008). It Happened in Rocky Mountain National Park. Morris Book Publishing, LLC. p. 62. ISBN   978-0-7627-4238-7.
  11. 1 2 Mehls, Steven F. (August 4, 1991). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Agnes Vaille Shelter". National Park Service. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  12. 1 2 3 Jessen, Kenneth (June 20, 2015). "Tragedy haunted Longs Peak climber Walter Kiener". ReporterHerald.com. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  13. "Walter Kiener, mountain climber and hero of a winter tragedy on Longs Peak last January, attending University of Nebraska". The Lincoln Star. Lincoln, Nebraska. September 20, 1925. p. 13. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  14. 1 2 3 "Archives & Special Collections". archivespec.unl.edu. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  15. "UNSM Botany Collections & Research | Collections". museum.unl.edu. Retrieved September 5, 2017.