Mountaineer Bradford Washburn

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In 1936, strapped to the open door of a small plane circling in subzero temperatures, Bradford Washburn took the first aerial photographs of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley. In 1999, his research added seven feet to the estimated elevation of Mt Everest.

For the better part of the 20th century, Brad Washburn, who turned 90 this year, has been a National Geographic icon, an explorer and mountaineer, a geologist, a photographer, a cartographer, and long-time director of Boston’s Museum of Science. Although most of Washburn’s 10,000 photographs were intended to help geological study and map-making, they are much more than that. Ansel Adams described them as “perfectly composed”, “the first of their kind and the finest ever made.”

A pioneer in a 20th century quest to explore, understand, and explain the sublime spaces of our world…
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Bradford Washburn