The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier

by Bruce Barcott

Hardcover, 1997




Sasquatch Books (1997), Edition: First Edition, 288 pages


Mount Rainier is the largest and most dangerous volcano in the country, both an awesome natural monument and a formidable presence of peril. In The Measure of a Mountain, Barcott sets out to grasp the spirit of Rainier through a journey along its massive flanks. From forest to precipice, thinning air to fractured glaciers, he explores not only the physique of Rainier but the psychology and meaning of all mountains, and the deep connection that exists between humans and landscape. Filled with adventure, poignant personal reflections, and fascinating mountain lore told by Indian chiefs, professional guides, priests, and scientists, this book is one man's stirring quest to reconcile with a dazzling creation of nature, at once alluring and sometimes deadly.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member disneypope
well-written and helped me know The Mountain and appreciate it when it's out.
LibraryThing member JechtShot
At 14,411 feet (summit elevation), Mt. Rainier is the highest mountain in Washington State and is considered a starting ground for those wishing to try their luck with Everest. The Measure of a Mountain, is the story of one man's obsession with Mount Rainier. Bruce Barcott shares his findings on the history of the mountain, his personal quest to circumnavigate Rainier via the 92 mile Wonderland Trail and ultimately his journey to the summit.

Barcott's writing style reminded me of a healthy blend of Bill Bryson and Jon Krakauer; the wit of Bryson with the intensity and journalistic flare of Krakauer. The story jumps between Barcott's personal experiences and a history lesson of the mountain. I personally would have liked if the book focused more on his personal accounts, but it was interesting to read about the geology, flora and fauna of this great Pacific Northwest landmark nonetheless. I would highly recommend this book to any mountain/climbing book enthusiasts.
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LibraryThing member FireandIce
Barcott's style is the illegitimate lovechild of Bill Bryson and Jon Krakauer. This book is informative as well as humorous. If you like the great outdoors (with a healthy dose of history and botany), it's a great read.
LibraryThing member patl
One of the most interesting books I've ever read. This is a love story to a mountain, and it makes the reader fall in love right along with the author.

There's a chapter on the soil of Rainier, and it's fascinating. Yes, a chapter on dirt is amazing.


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