Posted by: davepidgeon | January 15, 2009

Jenkins survives fatal avalanche

Via Steve Howe, Backpacker’s Rocky Mountain Editor, we learn writer Mark Jenkins, one of my favorite, narrowly survived a recent avalanche that tragically killed his climbing partner and friend, Keith Spencer. My condolences go out to the Spencer family, but I am grateful for Jenkins’ survival, which can be read about in Howe’s blog entry. Jenkins is one of my favorite adventure writers, one whose style can be at times Walt Whitman and at others harshly rooted in realism. 

Two great samples of Jenkins’ prose can be found first in “Off the Map,” an account of his attempt to cycle tour Siberia and the rest of the Soviet Union. You’ll find in “Off the Map” that Jenkins has a knack for character writing. My other suggestion would be his September 2008 article in Backpacker, which laments the passing of true American wilderness. 

As the crow flies, the farthest you can be from a road in Idaho’s River of No Return is a mere 15 miles; in the Escalante and Bob Marshall it’s even less. Astonishingly, in the entire continental U.S., coast to coast, Mexico to Canada, there is only one place left where you can get more than 20 miles from a road: in the greater Yellowstone region.

Read as he builds a theme around roadways. He’s quite skilled at what he does. The world of outdoor adventure literature would have lost a profound voice had Jenkins not survived the avalanche this week.


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