Dora Keen Letter to Howard Palmer 1911


Dora Keen Letter to Howard Palmer 1911




Handwritten letter from Dora Keen to Howard Palmer. The letter is dated October 18, 1911 and is sent from Philadelphia, PA. The letter describes Keen’s doings in Alaska, including her first unsuccessful climb of Mt. Blackburn. She also discusses a colleague who climbed the Matterhorn that year and recommends her to the American Alpine Club for membership.





The American Alpine Club Library Archives


The American Alpine Club Library


"My dear Mr. Palmer,

I have very little accomplishment to report for the Alpine Club record this year, having been too late for Mt. Rainier and the Canadian Rockies t both of which I went to climb. Guides unwilling to go on Rainier's waist deep fresh snow, and had left Lake Louise because of [indecipherable] bad weather.

In Alaska I got only to 8700 ft. on Mt Blackburn, of the Wrangell Mtns., 16,140 ft. But I had the most wonderful experience of the kind that I have ever had or dreamed of. I got up my own expedition, went where no one had ever been before, and was out 13 days on the ice and snow.

I had four Alaska prospectors, - better than swiss guides, - and the first day two pack-horses and [indecipherable].

Then we packed the load on to a sled and tree dos and the men pulled, pushed and lifted it for two days more, over interminable crevasses and rotten snow bridges, to the foot of the mountain terrible, constant, unseasonable avalanches all over the two glaciers by which we tried to ascend made us abandon them after 4 1/2 days wasted. Then we took to a ridge and were getting up well when the storms set in and reduced supplies made it impossible to wait there for good weather.
No one had ever been nearer than five miles to the base before and that only one of my men.

Miss Annie Strawbridge of Philedelphia, has been up the Matterhorn this summer and I would like to propose her for the Alpine Club. Will you be kind enough to send me a [indecipherable]?

I hope you had good luck with your climbs. I too came to a lack, and [indecipherable] on rock breaking ice in glacial boots to wash, etc.

Very truly yours

Dora Keen"

Original Format

Handwritten correspondence on paper




“Dora Keen Letter to Howard Palmer 1911,” The Collections of the American Alpine Club Library, accessed August 6, 2020,

Document Viewer