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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Riding five horses and leading five more, three young New York men, their guide, and a camp cook entered the untamed vastness of the Bitteroot Mountains. They expected the trip to be the adventure of... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Snowbound by Ladd Hamilton

I couldn't put the book down until I read every page. Ladd Hamilton made this area come alive with his in depth, detailed description of the harshness when challenging the Bitterroot mountians. I had to question my own response to their decision to leave Colegate behind to live or die alone. I really enjoyed reading this book, I will look forward to many more books written by Ladd Hamilton. .

The Unforgiving Bitterroots of Idaho.

Last weekend I stopped in a local bookstore (Moscow, Idaho) and Ladd Hamilton was signing his book, Snowbound. I talked with him a few minutes and bought a copy. For those of you that have traveled Hwy 12 over Lolo pass, you may have seen the markers for Colegate Licks. I've fished this area for years and always wondered about the details of the Carlin hunting party. Hamilton has written a superb account of the events specifying this out of the way marker on the Lochsa river. It is as gripping an account of wilderness travel as one can find. If you enjoyed Ambrose's re-telling of the Lewis and Clark expedition over this region, this is every bit as good. The ethical questions raised in this tragedy are considerable and sparked a national debate. A great story and wonderful reading.

A gut-wrenching account of wilderness survival.

Hamilton does an excellent job of describing the physical demands of a pack trip into a mountain wilderness. Reading his detailed account, a person can almost feel the unforgiving weather and participate in the bruising, torturous trek through the mountains. Add to this the indecision, moral dilemmas, and complacency of the hunters and your in for a great read. The fact that this was a true story really kept me in awe.

A extraordinary and well-told historical tragedy.

In September 1893, a troika of young gentleman hunters from New York headed into northern Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains, hoping to bag some trophy game--moose, elk, maybe even a grizzly bear or two. With them traveled a guide, a camp cook, ten horses, and three dogs. They packed along ample food and equipment, including a couple of the latest, most sophisticated firearms, and it seemed that nothing could prevent their enjoying a relaxing and rewarding wilderness adventure. Nothing, that is, except perhaps the weather. Locally heavy autumn rains portended an early and brutal snowfall in the Bitterroots that year. But the hunters chose to ignore the weather, just as they did the obvious ill health of their cook. These were only the first in what would be a series of bad judgments that turned this pleasure trip into a memorable race for survival. Combining a reporter's devotion to detail with a yarn-spinner's talent for building suspense, Ladd Hamilton has crafted from the true tale of the Carlin party a riveting, often chilling book that's timeless in its portrayal of human frailties and Nature's capriciousness. "Snowbound" is the sort of tome that Seattleite Jon Krakauer ("Into the Wild") might have penned had he lived a century earlier. It's a classic story of people overreaching their abilities in the bush, but is made especially impressive by the fact that Hamilton had to stitch it patiently and tenaciously together from one-dimensional military records, a slanted account published by a member of the Carlin band, and equally suspect newspaper reports. A retired newspaperman who now teaches journalism at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, Hamilton has some experience recounting bygone tragedies. His 1994 book "This Bloody Deed: The Magruder Incident" breathed grisly new life into the case of Lloyd Magruder, a prominent Lewiston merchant who in 1863 was murdered in the Bitterroots, provoking a chase after the killers that extended as far as San Francisco. Like that earlier work, "Snowbound" has the deceptive pace of a slow-burning housefire. Readers see disaster dogging the heels of the Carlin party long before its members did. In large part, this blindness was the result of distrust between the two breeds that made up the expedition: the citified sportsmen, represented by organizer Will Carlin, a photographer, skilled marksman, and son of the general in command of the army at Vancouver, Washington; and the veteran outdoorsmen, among whom cook George Colgate is the most noteworthy. The Easterners, overconfident of their mountaineering prowess, refused to listen to their backwoods guide when he counseled retreat before the threat of record snows. Meanwhile, Colegate grew sicker with each passing day, yet lied about his condition, fearing the hunters would resent him if they knew the truth: that he was suffering from a severe urinary blockage, and had foolishly left at home the catheters he needed to drain his bladder. Not until
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