One hundred years ago, artist and adventurer Belmore Browne undertook a remarkable expedition into the Alaska Range in a quest to become the first to reach the summit of Denali. Beginning in the winter and traveling by dog sled from Seward, at sea level, Browne made it within 125 feet of the 20,320’ summit in late June 1912, but was turned back by extreme winds.
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At 7 p.m. in the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar, Alaska Denali Guides co-founder and noted Alaska Range mountaineer Brian Okonek will present a slideshow of 153 glass slides that Browne used to illustrate the many lectures he delivered to audiences throughout the United States for years following the 1912 expedition.
Okonek, who led 60 expeditions to Denali, recently traveled to Dartmouth College to comb through the Belmore Browne Collection housed in the Dartmouth College Library. His research was supported by a $2,000 Alaska Humanities Forum 2012 mini-grant.
The slideshow will also include contemporary images of climbs in the Alaska Range taken by Okonek, who led 60 expeditions to Denali.
Three years later, Browne provided key testimony before the United States Senate in hearings that led to creating what is now Denali National Park. A 1907 oil painting he made of Denali is the first known painting of the iconic mountain.
After serving in World War I, Browne became a professional artist, best known for his paintings of the Canadian Rockies. His work can be seen at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian.
“One of the things that Belmore really epitomized was a life in the open,” Northern Susitna Institute volunteer Arthur Mannix told Alaska Pubic Radio Network host Steve Heimel earlier this summer. “He was truly a rustic renaissance man.”
To listen to the complete APRN interview with Mannix and Okonek discussing the 1912 Belmore Browne Expedition and the centennial commemoration in Talkeetna click here.
1912 Belmore Browne Expedition in the Chulitna River Canyon