PDN Photo of the Day

Sun, Sky and Surf: California in the 1950s

Mountaineer and rock climber Allen Steck (slide 1) became the first American to complete an ascent of the northern face of the Cima Grande (“big peak”), one of three peaks in the Sexten Dolomites mountain range in 1949. As an Oakland, California native, Steck began his climbing career in the Yosemite Valley. In 1958, Climber Warren Harding (slide 4) was the leader of the first team to climb El Capitan, a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park with an elevation of 7,573 ft. Surfboard designer Joe Quigg (slides 8 and 9), co-creator of both the modern longboard and the big-wave board, began surfing at the age of four. All along the California coast, surf towns like Laguna Beach and Malibu drew legendary surfers like Tom Zahn, Dale Velzy and Renny Yater to their shores. California Surfing and Climbing in the Fifties [T. Adler Books, 2014] tells these and other stories, set against the “larger backdrop of postwar America,” says the publisher in a statement about the book. “Truman and Eisenhower, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Red Scare. Young people were embracing new symbols of non-conformity: Elvis Presley, Jack Kerouac, Marlon Brando and James Dean.” The book, comprised of 84 pages of photos and text by Yvon Chouinard, Steve Pezman and Steve Roper, wakes up the adrenaline junkie in all of us.

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