Enjoy dramatic images of Arlene’s adventures from her college days to her historic climbs of remote and beautiful high peaks in these albums. They illustrate the chapters of her award-winning memoir Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life. The book recounts how Arlene’s challenging childhood led to her realizing improbable dreams in the world’s highest mountains, the chemistry laboratory, and the public policy arena.


1. Beginnings
First adventures in the Pacific Northwest and Peru while at Reed College and MIT.
1964 to 1967 (Chapters 1-5)

2. Berkeley years
Summiting Mt. Waddington in British Columbia.
1967-69 (Chapters 6, 7)

3. Denali Damsels
Becoming a leader during the first all-woman ascent of the highest mountain in North America.
1970 (Chapters 8-10)

4. Endless Winter
Following a vision, fifteen months of climbing around the world.
1971-73 (Chapters 11-14)

5. Peak Lenin
200 top climbers meet for a camp in the high Pamir range of central Asia and find unprecedented storms and avalanches.
1974 (Chapters 15, 16)

6. Trisul
A straightforward climb of a 23,400-foot peak in India comes to a tragic conclusion.
1975 (Chapter 17)

7. Everest
Building the team and climbing to 24,500 feet on the second American ascent.
1976 (Chapter 18)

8. Annapurna
Leading a team of women on the first American ascent of the world’s tenth highest and perhaps most dangerous mountain.
1978 (Chapter 19)

9. Bhrigupanth
Leading the first ascent of a 22,000-foot ice peak in India with an international women’s team.
1980 (Chapter 20)

10. Himalayan Traverse
Making the first trek across the Himalayas of Bhutan, Nepal, and India with Hugh Swift.
1981-82 (Chapters 21, 22)

11. Mountains, Molecules, & Motherhood
Carrying baby Annalise across the European Alps with partner Rob Gomersall.
Resolutions of family mysteries; appreciation to friends; and future climbs.
1987 (Chapters 23-25, epilogue and acknowledgements)