Aug 4, 2008
Dee Molenaar IceFall
Dee Molenaar is author of The Challenge of Rainier, the definitive history of climbing on the Northwest’s greatest peak. This article is an excerpt from Dee’s autobiography, tentatively called High and Wide with Sketchpad, which he hopes to publish in the near future. The book covers Dee’s life of travel among mountains and deserts, with artistic impressions of what he has seen. Dee has participated in numerous mountaineering expeditions, including Mount St. Elias (1946), K2 (1953), Mount McKinley (1960), and Mount Kennedy (1965). An artist since childhood, Dee developed a habit of carrying a small box of paints to capture impressions of outdoor scenes. He has painted scenes on the spot from below sea level in Death Valley to 25,200 feet on K2. Dee learned to take stereo (“3-D”) photo pairs while flying over mountainous terrain, by snapping two photos a few seconds apart along the plane's flight path. These photos enabled him to view Earth’s landforms in greater detail, helping him prepare oblique-perspective maps of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Dee Molenaar is an honorary member of The Mountaineers, Appalachian Mountain Club and American Alpine Club. He writes: “In my ‘twilight years’ I've come to realize how empty my life would have been if devoid of mountains and the friendships gained through climbing, skiing, and geologizing. I've felt a growing kinship with the observations of Thoreau and Muir, and of one religious philosopher, who wrote: ‘Rocks and mountains are a reflection of God's solid and grand ideas.’”
An important part of Molenaar's climbing pack has been a small box of watercolors, with which he has painted mountain landscapes from below sea level in Death Valley to over 25,000 feet on K2 in the Himalayas. Dee's love of the high, open world of rock and ice and the fringing meadow zone is reflected in his watercolors, oils and pencil sketches, which are in private collections throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Russia, and China. His maps and artwork also appear in State Park, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. National Park service exhibits, ski-area brochures, climbers' guidebooks and autobiographies. In his retirement, Dee continues in his artwork, writing, and lecturing about his mountain travels.
Dee Molenaar Author, Artist, and Master Cartographer
A Neophyte Guide on Mount Rainier