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