Skip to main content
51 votes

How do you know you have reached North or South Pole without GPS?

Amundsen's team used a meter on their sledges to get close (dead reckoning) and then sextants to confirm the position. Using Amundsen's diary, Roland Huntford (in The Amundsen Photographs) ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
51 votes
Accepted

How do you know you have reached North or South Pole without GPS?

I'll expand a bit on how one would use a sextant to locate the north or south pole. The basic arrangement needs a horizontal reflective plane, for which Amundsen used a pool of mercury. A precisely ...
jpa's user avatar
  • 836
20 votes
Accepted

Why did Lewis and Clark use square rigged boats?

From the article you've linked, they were under sail a little more than one-tenth of the time [on the river]. Perhaps that could have been a bit greater if they were schooner- or lateen-rigged, but ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.6k
14 votes
Accepted

Why did wetting down canvas sails increase the speed of a sailing ship?

Wetting the sails down helps hold more wind by closing the gaps and making the sails stand flatter. Now the sails had to be kept wet, for a wet sail holds more of the wind than a dry one. Water had ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

How did Viking era hikers carry their gear and provisions?

This can be answered pretty precisely. They used the so called "Gokstad backpack". http://wychwood.wikidot.com/kit-bags The Gokstad 'backpack:' this is an oval cross-sectioned tube of leather or ...
OddDeer's user avatar
  • 23.5k
12 votes
Accepted

When did indoor climbing gyms start to become popular?

For a more data driven approach, here's a google trends graph for the popularity of searches for "climbing gym", "indoor climbing", "climbing center", "climbing centre", and "climbing wall": google ...
erfink's user avatar
  • 4,252
10 votes
Accepted

Why are large/pear shaped locking carabiners called HMS carabiners?

These types of carabiners are designed to be used with a Munter Hitch. The Munter Hitch was created by a Swiss mountain guide named Werner Munter who called it, Halbmastwurfsicherung, meaning half ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
9 votes

Is this rock I found on the Toiyabe Crest Trail an arrowhead?

Yes, that looks like arrow heads I've found in that general area too. Note that it may be a unfinished or discarded piece. There is clear flaking and shaping. It would be very very unlikely for ...
Olin Lathrop's user avatar
  • 21.4k
9 votes
Accepted

What is a glass artificial horizon?

I'd suppose, that the glass horizon is the one that uses a well-polished glass as a reflective surface. The quote from the answer you've mentioned: The basic arrangement needs a horizontal ...
Usurer's user avatar
  • 1,478
7 votes
Accepted

When did wearing a helmet become the norm for climbing?

You should always wear a helmet when climbing outdoors due to the risk of rockfall. The only downside to wearing a helmet is that it is slightly less comfortable than climbing without one, but this ...
Qudit's user avatar
  • 1,280
7 votes
Accepted

Were elk solely plains animals before the Europeans came?

TLDR: No, they were found all over North America before the Europeans arrived and are being reintroduced into the Appalachian mountains. I can see them preferring the plains instead of mountains in ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
7 votes

How do you know you have reached North or South Pole without GPS?

Take a time-lapse photo of the sky directly overhead at night. The moving stars will form circles in your photo, and if the center of the circles is directly overhead, you are there.
Bruce's user avatar
  • 195
6 votes
Accepted

What is the history of the Duckbill rock formation in Oregon?

For your specific questions, The rock type is sandstone. This type of rock formation is called a Hoodoo and they happen when a harder rock type or layer is ontop of a weaker layer. The weaker layer ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

What footwear did mountaineers wear in the 19th century?

Great question! In the UK, in many ways the cradle of mountaineering as a sport, it was common to wear traditional shepherds footwear known variously as shepherds boots, fell boots or hill boots ...
Tullochgorum's user avatar
  • 11.7k
6 votes
Accepted

When, how and by whom was sport climbing invented?

As far as I know, the "change of paradigm" that led to the birth of sport climbing happened between the 70s and the 80s, and it happened separately in Europe and in the United States. From ...
valerio's user avatar
  • 907
6 votes

Can a rope&bucket used to gather water from a well be kept outside, tied to this well, or does it have to be kept inside?

Wells are covered to keep the water clean, not to keep it dry. A well bucket rope is only going to be as long as needed, one end is going to get wet several times a day. Even in single person home ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

When and why were House Sparrows originally brought to the United States?

It looks like the first sparrows where brought over in 1851, to control insects, and because they would have been familiar to people coming from Europe. When Europeans first arrived in the Americas, ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
6 votes

What is this abandoned equipment and shed on skids near Mono Lake CA?

This is likely a 1960s Mono County Television Corporation CATV (Community Access/Antenna Television) broadcast translator/repeater station. The original CATV - a precursor to modern Cable TV systems - ...
David Bailey's user avatar
6 votes

Historical data about rock climbing / bouldering ascents

Not sure if you're still looking for information on this but the Pinnacle Club (the UK's first women's rock climbing club) have just celebrated their centenary and have put together a website with ...
EmmaL's user avatar
  • 365
5 votes

When did indoor climbing gyms start to become popular?

From what I was able to find, while there were climbing halls from as early as 1974**, indoor climbing really took off after plastic bolt-on climbing holds were started to be made in the late 80s. ...
april rain's user avatar
  • 3,482
5 votes

What are the differences between a lighthouse and a light station in terms of the specific purpose?

A lighthouse is one of the buildings in a light station and has the actual signaling light while light station refers to all of the buildings. A light station comprises the lighthouse tower and all ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
5 votes

When did wearing a helmet become the norm for climbing?

The BMC history of helmets puts it at 1996 with the introduction of the Petzl Meteor helmet which was a combination of a hard shell and foam helmet. This matches my recollection of when things became ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 10.7k
5 votes

Are there US Forest Service maps of historical logging?

In the US prior to about 1900, there was little control over logging. Around 1900 the practice of Reforestation began gaining tracktion, with more oversight and controls. Forest that have never been ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
5 votes

What accounts for the predominance of Kendall Mint Cake over York Peppermint Pattie in mountaineering expeditions?

I've eaten both. They really don't have anything in common besides containing a lot of sugar and peppermint flavoring. There may be several variants of mint cake now, but the stuff I was eating in the ...
Charles E. Grant's user avatar
5 votes

Climbing before 1950: photography book/database

I found a site that has a number of old climbing photographs from around that time and I think is your best option (that I could find). Historical Rock Climbing Images 1890s - 1930s There is also ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How much different was camping before “leave no trace” took hold?

So, I can't answer from experience, but there were some significant changes since 1950 regarding the use of national parks. In the 1960's or so, there was a significant uptick in usage of National ...
fyrepenguin's user avatar
  • 2,530
4 votes

Can a rope&bucket used to gather water from a well be kept outside, tied to this well, or does it have to be kept inside?

If you are talking about a wooden bucket, you'd want to keep it moist all the time. It will crack and leak when drying thoroughly. Incidentally, this will not be a problem, as it will go into the well ...
cbeleites unhappy with SX's user avatar
4 votes

When did wearing a helmet become the norm for climbing?

I haven't yet been climbing for 20+ years, but from my 8-or-so years experience of climbing in European and Asian countries I can tell that helmets did not become a universal norm yet. It all depends ...
april rain's user avatar
  • 3,482
4 votes

When did indoor climbing gyms start to become popular?

According to this article on Wikipedia The earliest artificial climbing walls were typically small concrete faces with protrusions made of medium-sized rocks for hand holds. Schurman Rock in Seattle, ...
Paul Lydon's user avatar
  • 5,980

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible