Measure of a Mountain by Bruce Barcott
Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier

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Synopsis

In The Measure of a Mountain, Seattle writer Bruce Barcott sets out to know Rainier. His method is exploratory, meandering, personal. He begins by encircling it, first by car then on foot. He finds that the mountain is a complex of moss-bearded hemlocks and old-growth firs, high meadows that blossom according to a precise natural timeclock, sheets of crumbling pumice, fractured glaciers, and unsteady magma. Its snow fields bristle with bug life, and its marmots chew rocks to keep their teeth from overgrowing. Rainier rumbles with seismic twitches and jerks—some one-hundred-thirty earthquakes annually. The nightmare among geologists is the unstoppable wall of mud that will come rolling down its slopes when a hunk of mountain falls off, as it does every half century (and we’re fifty years overdue). Rainier is both an obsession and a temple that attracts its own passionate acolytes: scientists, priests, rangers, and mountain guides. Rainier is also a monument to death: every year someone manages just to disappear on its flanks; imperiled climbers and their rescuers perish on glaciers; a planeload of Marines remains lodged in ice since they crashed into the mountain in 1946. Referred to by locals as simply "the mountain," it is the single largest feature of the Pacific Northwest landscape—provided it isn’t hidden in clouds. Visible or not, though, it’s presence is undeniable.
 

About Bruce Barcott

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Bruce Barcott, author of The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier, is a contributing editor at Outside magazine. His feature articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, Sports Illustrated, Harper's, Utne Reader, and other publications. He contributes reviews to The New York Times Book Review and the public radio show Living on Earth, and is a former Ted Scripps Fellow at the University of Colorado. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their two children.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published February 1, 2011 by Sasquatch Books. 290 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Sports & Outdoors, Travel, Science & Math, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Measure of a Mountain

Kirkus Reviews

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 A marvelous biography of Mt.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Measure of a Mountain: Beauty...

Publishers Weekly

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High above the domiciles and roadways of Seattle looms Mt. Rainier, a beautiful but forbidding shape that dominates the landscape and draws people of the region to discuss, view, climb and possibly to

Sep 29 1997 | Read Full Review of Measure of a Mountain: Beauty...

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