[I do have a question about this being a "winter" climb since the anniversary was the past Saturday -- April 3 -- which is in Spring]
Having escaped avalanches, endured blizzards and survived an entire winter skiing the rugged Sierra crest, Orland Bartholomew headed down to Yosemite Valley as anonymously as he began his improbable trek in 1928.
On the journey that ended 75 years ago Saturday, Bartholomew made history -- scoring the first winter ascent of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the United States at the time -- and blazed a trail for generations of backcountry skiers.
But hardly anyone noticed. The closest thing to a welcome he got was from a bootlegger who gave him a lift to the ranger's station, trying unsuccessfully to peddle some moonshine. No record was kept at the park of his arrival, and his 300-mile adventure remains nearly as little-known today as it was when he finished in 1929.
Now Bartholomew's son, a group of avid skiers and some history buffs are working to resurrect the memory of his trek by naming a peak for him in the mountains that were his home until he died in 1957.
An 11,099-foot mountain near the Minarets, a section of soaring spires in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of Sierra National Forest where Bartholomew later worked as a ranger, remains unnamed.
Efforts are under way to renew the bid to put Bartholomew's name on the summit.
U.S. Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif., wrote the U.S. Board on Geographic Names in support of a Mount Bartholomew after recording a tribute to the skier and his latter-day followers in the congressional record five years ago.
But a required two-page application was never submitted, said Roger Payne, the board's executive secretary. About 90 percent of the 400 naming requests are approved each year after a four- to six-month review process that requires approval from county supervisors and the state.
Philip Bartholomew, a retired fishery biologist who keeps his father's story alive with slide show presentations of some of the more than 300 scenes he recorded that winter, filed the necessary forms Wednesday to give his father, a quiet, modest man, the exposure he deserves.
The move would permanently leave Orland Bartholomew's mark on the Sierra: in the high country where he trod, among the elements he weathered and, maybe, a few steps further from obscurity.