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Elbridge Rand Herron

Born in Italy to American parents - his father was George Herron, a prominent socialist, and his mother, Caroline Rand, was the daughter of the founder of the Rand School - Elbridge spent all but two years of his life in Europe. He attended the University in Florence, studying philosophy, and perfecting his abilities as a musician competent on the piano, organ, and harpsichord;  He was thought to have been capable of becoming one of America's outstanding composers.  He had a natural gift for languages and was fluent in a half dozen, and his vivid Italian poetry was notable.

As a youngster he covered the walls of his room with climbing illustrations, yearning to attempt the sport. Circumstances, however, delayed this goal until he was in his early twenties. He climbed then for seven years before his untimely death from a fall while descending the Second Pyramid in Egypt.

During his climbing career he spent much time in the Alps, reaching the highest point for the time on the north face of the Grandes Jorasses and doing severe routes in the Kaisergebirge. He travelled to Morocco to climb in the High Atlas, ascended Guilchi in the Caucases, climbed in Lapland, and - on a joint German & American expedition to the Himalayas - reached 22,000 feet on Nanga Parbet. When, in 1929, he finally came to America (he always considered himself an American) he obtained a pilot's license, and met Allen Carpe, with whom he climbed on the cliffs along the Hudson River.

Carpe died from a fall into a crevasse on Mt Mckinley in the same year that Herron perished.

In a letter to Carpe's wife, Herron wrote, "Although we climbers usually don't admit it, we are always more or less conscious that the strange and irresistable call of the mountains is also a call towards the end of life. And for that very reason we love them all the more, and find their call more sublime. Our secret heart's desire is that our end should be in them."





Photos (ca 1925)  and biography background courtesy of the
Henry S. Hall, Jr.  American Alpine Club Library

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