Weird History

25 Awesome Photos of Early 1900s Mountain Climbers

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Vote up the cool old mountain climbing photos that make you want to go back in time and hike like TR did.

There's something invigorating about looking at badass old timey mountain-climbing photos. The audacity these athletes had to make these treks, without modern crampons, axes, and other safety gear, is, itself, breathtaking. The accoutrements of mountaineers pre-1960 just plain look cool, too. Before every other American started sporting North Face gear like it was government-issued, old-school mountaineers were schelpping up mountains wearing natural fibers; their equipment was braced with leather straps; and their steps were steadied with wooden poles. Some lady climbers even just hiked up their long skirts and got to it.

The gallery below features cool, historic mountaineering photos from the decades roughly spanning 1880-1960. These vintage mountain climbing pictures capture a simpler, less synthetic, and far more badass era in the history of the pursuit.

  • 1. Two Slovakian Climbers, 1940

    Two Slovakian Climbers, 1940
    Photo: Wikimedia
  • 2. Rock Climbing In The English Lake District, 1900

    Rock Climbing In The English Lake District, 1900
    Photo: Wikimedia
  • 3. Mont Blanc, 1862

    Mont Blanc, 1862
    Photo: Wikimedia
  • 4. Group Of Men And Women Climbing Paradise Glacier In Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington, 1911-1920