Event details: June 9, 2018, 4 p.m., Camp Long Lodge
Part history, part biography, part climbing guide, Schurman Rock: A History & Guide describes the design and construction of Schurman Rock, the world’s first artificial climbing wall, built in 1938-39 at Camp Long in Seattle, Washington.
The book includes a history of the creation of Camp Long by William G. Long, a Superior Court judge, who seized the opportunity to turn an unused 68-acre tract of swampy forest land into a wilderness camp for youth, and a biography of Clark Schurman, a Scoutmaster and Chief Climbing Guide at Mount Rainier, who envisioned and then built his “dream rock” to provide a place to teach mountaineering skills to youth.
Thousands of kids and adults, including Fred Beckey and Jim and Lou Whittaker, learned to climb on Schurman Rock over the past 80 years. In 1938, Schurman published an article describing 22 routes on the rock–“short bits” as he called them. This book expands on this with a guide to several boulder problems on the rock.
Clark Schurman’s dream was to build a human-made mountain incorporating every potential rock climbing problem into its design. After taking a winter to make a clay model of the rock, Schurman worked very closely with the Works Progress.Administration workers to create his dream rock. It took two years to complete the 20-foot high, erratically shaped climbing rock. Schurman called it Monitor Rock after its intended purpose to “warn, remind, advise and instruct.” After Schurman’s death in 1955 the rock was renamed “Schurman Rock” to honor Clark Schurman’s contribution to Camp Long and mountaineering.
Jeff Smoot is an outdoor adventure writer and photographer primarily known for his hiking and climbing guidebooks including Falcon titles Climbing Washington’s Mountains, Rock Climbing Washington, and Best Climbs Cascade Volcanoes. His latest book, Schurman Rock: A History & Guide, was released in May 2018. Jeff serves on the Camp Long Advisory Council and the Friends of Camp Long.
Camp Long, located at 5200 35th Avenue SW, offers numerous opportunities to get close to nature and learn outdoor skills. For more information, call 206-684-7434.