Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Bradford Washburn

Bradford Washburn Bradford's cartographic, scientific, and photographic achievements on Denali (Mt. McKinley) are unparalleled. Bradford, a mountaineer, scholar, and gifted photographer, has not only made many first ascents in Alaska, and elsewhere, but his high altitude photography of Denali and the Alaska Range has earned him the reputation as the "Ansel Adams" of high altitude imagery. Bradford first climbed Denali in 1942, then pioneered the West Buttress Route, which today is by far the most popular route up the mountain. Bradford's wife,Barbara(also featured in this Jukebox), made the first ascent by a woman in 1947. Climbers and scientists, the world over, consult with Bradford concerning routes, conditions, and historical precedent. Truly the "dean" of the mountain, Bradford shares, in amazing detail, his extraordinary journey over more than half a century to explore, document, and share the mountains that have been the focus of his life. On the day of the interview, Bradford and Barbara were in Talkeetna waiting for clear weather so that they could visit key locations, such as Fake Peak, in an effort to clear up remaining mysteries about Captain Cook's claimed ascent of the mountain. Bradford Wahshburn died on January 10, 2007 at age 96. For more about Bradford Washburn see his obituary in the New York Times newspaper.
Bradford Washburn appears in the following new Jukebox projects: