Harvey T. Carter's Rock Climbing Archival Collection


Harvey T. Carter’s archival collection contains photo albums, correspondence, extensive climbing records and personal papers, climbing gear, and other items. Collected throughout his life, it includes many photos of rock formations and climbing routes, particularly in Colorado. Carter’s collection includes aid gear, traditional protection, ropes, shoes, bolting equipment, and camping gear, some of which are unique handmade items. Carter recorded many Colorado first ascents and his map collection is organized and covers many Colorado climbing areas. Carter created his own system to rank the difficulty of climbs and applied it to many of Colorado’s climbs.

How Does The Artifact Relate to Colorado History

Carter created the first sport climbing area in the United States here in Colorado by hammering fixed pitons into the soft sandstone at the Garden of the Gods. Many of those original pitons are still in place and used by climbers. Anyone interested in the Colorado history of rock climbing will find treasures in this collection. It documents a 60-year period at the height of rock climbing in Colorado. Colorado has long been the home of all kinds of rock climbing and we owe much of that knowledge and progress to Carter’s pioneering spirit and meticulous record keeping. It is vital snapshot of rock climbing in Colorado. Carter also founded Climbing magazine, headquartered in Colorado.

Why Is This Artifact Significant?

Carter was a very influential figure in Colorado mountain activities. Carter pioneered many of the well known climbing areas, including the Garden of the Gods. He is rumored to have made over 5,000 first ascents in Colorado. His collection is significant to all Coloradans because it provides a historical window into the history of climbing in the Rockies. Carter organized the first formal bouldering competition in the Garden of the Gods in 1956. He completed the then hardest climb in Colorado in 1956, an 800-foot buttress on Hallett Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park that is a classic climb in North America.

Artifact Is
Archival collection
Artifact Significant To
Artifact Location

American Alpine Club Library
710 10th St #100
Golden, CO 80401
United States

Harvey T. Carter's Rock Climbing Archival Collection

Year(s) Nominated
2014 Top Ten