home

articles

news

links

book

search

new item

back

September, 2015--Scott Stine's A Way Across the Mountain: Joseph Walker's 1833 Trans-Sierran Passage and the Myth of Yosemite's Discovery, published by Arthur H. Clark, San Francisco, and the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, is now available.

From publisher's blurb: Following Walker's death in 1876, an alluring tale arose concerning his trans-Sierran route. In the course of the crossing, goes the story, Walker found himself on the northern rim of Yosemite Valley at the plungepoint of North America's tallest waterfall, staring into the most awesome mountain chasm on the continent. Over the decades since then, this time-honored tale has hardened to folklore. Dozens of historical works have construed it as a towering moment in the opening of the West.
But in fact this tale of Yosemite's discovery has no basis or support in firsthand accounts of the 1833 Sierran crossing. Moreover, there is much in those accounts that contradicts Yosemite lore, and much that points to a trans-Sierran route well north of Yosemite Valley...

It's an Earthshaker!


Joseph R. Walker's 1833 Trip to California
One hundred and seventy-five years of lore and legend dispelled

We look forward to the soon to be published A Way Across the Mountain: The 1833 Sierran Crossing of Joseph R. Walker by Scott Stine.

Scott Stine is a geomorphologist and paleoclimatologist in Geography and Environmental Studies at California State University, East Bay. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1987, then accepted a Post-Doc at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. His work at Lamont focused on climate change in the Sierra, the Great Basin, and south-Andean Patagonia. A professor at Cal State since 1991, he teaches classes in landform analysis, climate change, biogeography, map interpretation, and environmental problems and solutions. Elected a lifetime Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 1993, Stine continues his field studies throughout the Americas. His research has been published in numerous scientific journals, and he is the author of two forthcoming books, A Way Across the Mountain: The 1833 Sierran Crossing of Joseph R. Walker, and The Once and Future Mono Basin: An Atlas Through Time. Stine was selected Cal State-East Bay's Outstanding Professor of the Year for 2005-06.

The View, March 2005--a publication of CSUEB.
http://www.calstateeastbaynews.com/news/uploads/view_march_2005.pdf

"In his spare time, Stine has written a book on Joseph Walker's 1833 [Bonneville] expedition across the Sierra. The fur-trapper and his expedition have long been hailed as the first white men to set eyes on Yosemite Valley. Stine's book, which is not yet published, dispels that romantic notion. "I read a book when I was 18 or 19 about the history of the Sierra, and incorrigible skeptic that I am, I even then realized that it just didn't look right," Stine said of his inspiration for the book. By reconstructing the expedition's route and walking more than 400 miles, Stine concluded that Walker had actually been 65 miles north of Yosemite Valley."

Richard Orsi, CSUEB professor emeritus of history, praises the book as "One of the best examples I've ever seen of interdisciplinary research."

Mono's Scientists, Spring 2007, by Geoffery McQuilkin
http://www.monolake.org/newsletter/03spring/p07-10scientists.pdf

"Now-Professor Stine is still free-ranging in his inquiry into the landscape--in California and the Great Basin, as well as in Patagonia and Alaska. Some Mono work continues, leading to a much anticipated book on the history of the basin. His work on California's climate history and epic droughts has challenged thinking about the state's water resources. Recently he's taken up a new vein of inquiry: the history of exploration and discovery. A question turned to an inquiry and turned to an investigation, leading Stine to trace Joseph Walker's 1833 route across the Sierra--not through Yosemite, as the old campfire story had it, but rather through the Carson, Mokelumne, and Stanislaus drainages."

Yosemite Association, October 2006, Gene Rose, Yosemite's Tioga Country: a History and Appreciation,

"Recently, the course of Walker's traverse has been questioned by historians. One revisionist contends that Walker's trans-Sierra route lay to the north, where his hard-pressed group passed through the Calaveras Grove. This researcher questions whether Walker ever saw Yosemite Valley or the Tuolumne Grove of Big Trees." A footnote cites "Scott Stine, professor of history [sic.] at California State University, Hayward during a phone conversation."

go Joe Walker and John C. Frémont.


©1999, 2007
Bob Graham