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Schedule set for Norman Clyde birthday bash

April 11, 2014

Norman Clyde with his trademark campaign hat, ice axe, pistol and back-breaking pack. The Eastern California Museum will host an event next Saturday, April 19 celebrating the legendary mountaineer’s 129th birthday. Photo courtesy Eastern California Museum

Bluegrass music, free food and cake, a “Pack With Legs” fun walk, vintage camping and climbing exhibits, and guest speakers will all be part of the first annual Norman Clyde Birthday Bash, scheduled for Saturday, April 19, from 11 a.m. to whenever the band stops playing, at the Eastern California Museum in Independence.
The event honors pioneering mountaineer Norman Clyde, who recorded 100 first ascents in the Sierra in the 1920s and 1930s, and was a fixture in the Sierra Club’s High Trips, which introduced hundreds of people to the High Sierra. Clyde lived in Independence and Big Pine when he was not roaming the Sierra for weeks at a time, carrying his legendary 80-pound pack. Clyde would have been 129 years old this year.
The day will start at 11 a.m. with an informal fun walk. Participants are encouraged to carry a pack for the moderate walk along Independence Creek and through town. Those carrying the heaviest packs will be rewarded with a prize.
Local bluegrass band Idle Hands will start entertaining around noon, and free hot dogs and beans will be available, with birthday cake for dessert. Beverages, beer and wine will also be provided. Donations will be appreciated.
Numerous speakers will recall their encounters with Clyde. Giving brief talks will be Andy Selters, Phil Pister and Norm Milleron. Dennis Kruska will present a video interview with Glen Dawson, who climbed with Clyde as a young man and, with Clyde, led the first ascent of the East Face of Mt. Whitney in the 1930s.
There will be displays of vintage camping gear from the 1930s and backpacking gear from the 1940s and 1950s, and displays of vintage climbing gear by SP Parker, Howie Schwartz and Neil Satterfield.
Memorial Norman Clyde T-shirts will be on sale.
The Eastern California Museum is located at 151 N. Grant St. in Independence. For more information, call 760-878-0258, check the museum’s Facebook page or

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