Harvard expedition places WEIT atop Mount Darwin

September 17, 2009 • 12:02 pm

There is a section of the Sierra Nevada in California called The Evolution Range, which includes appropriately named peaks like Mount Mendel, Mount Wallace, Mount Haeckel, and Mount Spencer, and inappropriately named ones like Mount Lamarck.  (A new peak, not yet formally named, will be called Mount Gould. I suggest Mount Improbable for the next name.)

The highest peak in the range is, of course, Mount Darwin, at 13,831 feet.  It was first scaled in 1908 and, unlike higher peaks like Mt. Whitney, is a technical climb.  My friend Andrew Berry, who teaches at Harvard, just undertook a mini-expedition to Mount Darwin with a former member of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, Dunbar Carpenter.  I asked them, by way of bicentennial homage to the old man, to place a copy of my book at the summit.  Sure enough, they did.  Here’s the photographic proof.

Mt. DarwinjpgFig. 1. Mount Darwin, with its flat summit.

Summit, Mt. DarwinFig. 2.  Nearly at the summit.

Berry 2

Fig. 3.  “I’m the king of the world.” Andrew Berry on the summit with the goods.

Reading on topFig. 4.  Dunbar Carpenter, too absorbed in reading to climb.

InscriptionjpgFig. 5.  Now it belongs to the ages. Inscription in the copy left at summit.

o.k., Richard, you may sell a million copies, but let’s see you get The Greatest Show on Earth up there!

Big H/T to Andrew and Dunbar!

okay, okay, Mount Lamarck is fine. But I draw the line at Mount Lysenko!

15 thoughts on “Harvard expedition places WEIT atop Mount Darwin

  1. Don’t you mean “In your face, Shubin”?

    Of course, now Neil will have a copy sent to the bottom of the Marianas Trench or summat.

  2. I took WEIT with me to the UK Lake District this week, but I didn’t actually take it up the peaks with me.

    Even though WEIT is a helluva lot lighter than my copy of TGSOE.

    Man, those peaks make my Lake District climbs look puny.

    1. Awesome! It’s probably only a matter of time, though, before some fundie replaces it with a copy of Gideon’s Bible.

  3. Put me on Team Lamarck! So what if he was wrong about a hell of a lot – so were Aristotle and Galen. Lamarck was a freaking genius and one of the greatest biologists of all time.

    Better a Mount Lamarck than a Mount Haeckel. Haeckel accomplished a great deal scientifically but the stench of his ideological legacy is eternal. I’m dismayed by the current fad to rehabilitate his name. Gould would be too.

  4. Hey! Why you gotta bag on ol’ Jean-Baptiste for? The man was a powerful figure in convincing the scientific community, and Darwin, that descent with modification was an accurate description of how the biosphere works. Ok, so he got the mechanism wrong. But not completely wrong! Some epigenetic mechanisms are quite Lamarckian. So, lay off the Chevalier!

  5. I’m not sure about naming a Sierra peak “Improbable”, unless it was man-made. I’d rather someone name an asteroid “Teapot”.

  6. Congrats on climbing a mountain and placing a book at the summit where no1 will read it. This act will really help biologists everywhere!

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