Peak 1 memorialized in new book
Ryan Summerlin December 27, 2012
As a child, Dutch immigrant Jon Anton Vierling loved to hike Peak 1. It was the mid-1950s and his father, whom the kids called “Pop,” worked as a mining engineer at the molybdenum mine in Climax while the family of nine made their home in a self-built log cabin on Bill’s Ranch in Frisco.
Later, Vierling served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He earned a Doctorate of Science and a Master of Science from Harvard University, among other degrees. In his career, he wrote 27 professional books – but it was not until “Peak One: The Journey Up” (The Waterfront Press, 2012) that he had the opportunity to document his formative journeys to the top of the local peak.
In “Peak One,” Vierling takes the reader on a visual and narrative trip up to the peak’s summit, starting at the trailhead at the south end of 2nd Avenue in Frisco. Along the way, the armchair enthusiast is invited to experience local flora and fauna, the Masontown mining ruins and remains of a primitive ski jump above Zach’s stop.
Eschewing what he calls “a lack of consistency in the findings” and “vastly different conclusions” on Masontown, Vierling opts for a first-hand account of his experiences there and on other stops along the hike.
The full-color, landscape-oriented 8×10-inch softcover book features photographs by Karin Prescott, formerly of Dillon. Prescott, who worked as a photographer for the Summit Daily News from 2000-03, now lives on the south side of Hoosier Pass near Alma. Her photographs have appeared in Women’s Day, Christian Science Monitor and The Mountain Gazette, among others. A dedicated humanitarian, Prescott has traveled to Uganda and Jordan to photograph for nonprofit organizations.
She shot the photos for “Peak One: The Journey Up” over the course of six months in 2012. Colorful, captivating and rendered in large-scale throughout, the images are among the book’s strongest features.
Throughout the journey up, Vierling weaves facts, stories and reflections, including a section on beetlekill followed by a section on Hester’s Log and Lumber Mill in Kremmling, which processes beetlekill wood for building. Vierling highlights Hester’s, he writes, because he used the mill’s products in his Frisco house, what he calls a “period home” that dates to the “2005 invasion of beetles.”
The story arrives at its finish above treeline, past lichen-covered rocks and along the steep hogback ridge to the peak, where on a clear day, Vierling recounts, “Copper Mountain Ski Area, Keystone Ski Area, Mount of the Holy Cross, Tenmile Peak, Buffalo Mountain, Mount Baldy and of course, Lake Dillon” are visible.
“Peak One: The Journey Up” is geared toward all lovers and would-be lovers of Peak 1 – those who have already hiked it, those who wish to hike it and those who just want to live vicariously through the author’s experiences.