Ostheimer, Alfred J.
Photo: Alfred Ostheimer (courtesy Whyte Archives)
(1908-1983)

A.J. Ostheimer was an American who first visited the Rockies in the early 1920ís, climbing Mount Temple in 1923 at the age of 15 guided by Walter Feuz. Later that year he climbed Mount Ranier with Hans Fuhrer. The following year he returned to the Rockies, completing four ascents with J. Monroe Thorington, Max Strumia and Hans Fuhrer. These included first ascents of Mount Kane, Mount Hooker, Mount Oates, and Simon Peak.

In 1926, Ostheimer climbed in the Canadian Rockies, again with Thorington and Strumia but this time guided by Edward Feuz jr.. During this trip four of the five peaks of Mount Lyell were climbed, three of which were considered first ascents.

He returned in 1927, still only 19 years of age, and with guide Hans Fuhrer climbed an incredible 30 peaks during a 60 day trip in the Columbia and Clemenceau Icefields area. 27 of these climbs were first ascents. During the effort he was ably supported by outfitter Curly Phillips.

Ostensibly the reason for this effort was to fulfill the requirements of a field component for a geology course he was taking at Harvard University. But clearly there was more to it than that. He later wrote that, "We came to explore little known and unknown country; we came for first ascents and the acquisition of scientific knowledge."

Ostheimer did not climb seriously after this most incredible summer in the Canadian Rockies. He went on to a successful career in the insurance business and, as well, became an expert in malacology, the study of shells, and Indian, Mexican, and Hawaiian artifacts and art objects. He visited the Rockies again in 1977, fifty years after his most memorable year of climbing.

Alfred Ostheimerís journal of his adventures in 1927 was published by the Alpine Club of Canada in 2002. It is titled, "Every Other Day."

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