Harvard expedition places WEIT atop Mount Darwin

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!


  1. Posted September 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    But it will only deteriorate, not progressively evolve into a Bible.

    Ha, evolution doesn’t work.

    Glen Davidson

  2. NewEnglandBob
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Jerry!

  3. JefFlyingV
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    So it is on the boundary of Kings Canyon Park. Beautiful photos of the terrain.

  4. Numberwang
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m gonna have to climb that peak, and put in a sticker. Sigh, you give me no relief.


  5. Sili
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Posted September 17, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Dammit, I now need someone to place a copy of 50 Voices of Disbelief on the moon.

  6. Posted September 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Dan Hart
      Posted September 17, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

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

  7. Posted September 17, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The highest peak I did this week was Fairfield, only 873 metres. (Although this was a ring walk taking in several ohter peaks.)


    My legs feel like I did a lot more, but hey, I’m a relative wimp compared to real climbers.

  8. Posted September 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    What’s inappropriate about Mt. Lamarck?

  9. Colugo
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    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.

  10. blue
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    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!

  11. bad Jim
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

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

  12. SB
    Posted October 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    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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