You can view the Washburn Gallery by clicking here:
Encapsulating Bradford Washburn’s career is a difficult task...rather like putting Mount McKinley into a bell jar. The sweep of a career spanning over 60 years, lived with intensity and commitment, captures the imagination. Washburn is America’s foremost field cartographer; he has climbed, mapped, and photographed the great mountain ranges of the world including Mount Everest, Mount McKinley, and New England’s Presidential Range. He is a special authority on the Alaska Range.
From the beginning, he has shared his insights, discoveries, and information with others as a writer, photographer, and filmmaker. Bradford Washburn and his wife Barbara, the first woman to climb Mount McKinley, have also been the subjects of numerous articles in LIFE, National Geographic, and American Photographer, among others. His maps of McKinley, Everest, and Washington are the definitive maps of their great peaks; his personal advice is still sought out by young climbers before they tackle such challenges as McKinley and Everest.
Bradford Washburn’s love of climbing began at an early age. In 1921, when he was eleven, he and a cousin climbed Mount Washington, New Hampshire. Two years later, taking along his new Best Pocket Kodak camera, he made a winter ascent of Mount Chocorua, New Hampshire with his father and brother. By the time he entered Harvard in 1929, Washburn had climbed Mount Blanc, Monte Rosa, and the Matterhorn in Europe; published the books, Among the Alps with Bradford Washburn, and Bradford on Mount Washington, in a G.P. Putman’s Sons’ series, Boys’ Books for Boys as well as several articles and a guide book to the White Mountains; worked on a 35mm movie in the Alps; lectured publicly on the Alpine climbs; and had begun to use a large format camera to record the mountain landscape. The large format, Fairchild K-6 camera projected images on a 8" x 10" negative which in turn produced incredibly detailed enlarged photographs.
Washburn’s life has maintained the momentum he established in the 1920s. Throughout his long career, he has accomplished many firsts in the fields of mountaineering and photography. Today, we take for granted long plane flights at high altitudes, radio communication between climbers, equipment air-drops, skiplane landings on glaciers, and pristine, high altitude photographs. In the 1930s and 1940s, when Bradford Washburn was first setting records, these techniques were untried and often extremely dangerous.
Dr. Washburn currently serves as a Life Trustee of the Mount Washington Observatory. Recently Brad and his wife Barbara donated their collection of White Mountain Photographs to the Observatory.