News Center

News from the Reed College public affairs office

Search: or

Features

Events

Trailblazing woman mountaineer Arlene Blum discusses her autobiography "Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life" October 23 at Reed College


The 1966 Reed graduate led the first women climbers on successful ascents of Annapurna and Mt. McKinley and was the first woman to attempt Mt. Everest


PORTLAND, OR (October 7, 2005) - Legendary woman mountaineer and Reed alumna Arlene Blum will present her new autobiography Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life at 3 p.m. on October 23 in Reed College's Vollum Lecture Hall. Defying dominant gender stereotypes and the hostility of the 1970's climbing establishment, Blum led the first teams of women to successful ascents of Mt. McKinley and Annapurna. She was also the first American woman to attempt the near-mythological Mt. Everest climb.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit Reed's public events webpage at http://events.reed.edu or call the public events hotline at 503/777-7755.

Blum's first book, the bestselling Annapurna: A Woman's Place, has been hailed by National Geographic Adventure magazine as one of the top 100 adventure books of all time and by Fortune as one of the 75 books that teach you everything you really need to know about business.

In Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life, Blum continues to use her understanding of mountaineering as a metaphor for human aspiration to draw connections between regions of her own life. In addition to a celebrated mountaineer, Blum has been a research scientist instrumental in the banning of two carcinogenic chemicals, a women's-rights pioneer, a keynote speaker, and an awkward biochemistry student chasing a love interest up her first climb. All of these voices inform the narrative of Breaking Trail.

Adventure-travel writer Jeff Greenwald declares, “Breaking Trail is one of those rare books that manages to be both intimate and universal. I found myself inspired and educated by Arlene Blum's courage in the face of continual obstacles, many far more daunting than a crevasse or icefall. More than a great read about climbing, it's a terrific allegory for the struggle that so many brilliant women have faced on their paths to the summit.

The lecture is sponsored by the Mazamas, the Portland Chapter of the American Alpine Club, and Reed College Alumni Relations.