In 1910, four Alaskan gold miners set out to climb Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, to win a two-cent bar bet. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll tell the surprising story of the Sourdough Expedition, a mountaineering effort that one modern climber calls “superhuman by today’s standards.”
We’ll also hear about a ghoulish tourist destination and puzzle over why a painter would blame himself for World War II.
Sources for our feature on the Sourdough expedition:
Bill Sherwonit, “The Sourdough Expedition,” Alaska 68:4 (May/June 2002), 28.
Jason Strykowski, “Impossible Heights: The Alaskan Miners Who Conquered Mount McKinley,” Wild West 24:4 (December 2011), 20.
Terrence Cole, ed., The Sourdough Expedition, 1985.
W.F. Thompson, “First Account of Conquering Mt. McKinley,” New York Times, June 5, 1910.
The Telegraph has a photo of the mummies in the Capuchin catacombs in Palermo, Sicily.
Wikipedia has a photo of Rosalia Lombardo, the immaculately preserved 2-year-old embalmed in 1920, and another appears here:
Karen Lange, “Lost ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Mummy Formula Found,” National Geographic News, Jan. 26, 2009 (accessed 10/10/2015).
This week’s lateral thinking puzzle is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale’s 2005 book Outstanding Lateral Thinking Puzzles.
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Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
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