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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Dec 16, 2021

In 1962, Summit Magazine tantalized readers with a tale of the Riesenstein peaks, a majestic (and untamed) mountain range in British Columbia. The article described the lofty granite walls and wondered allowed who would be the first to attempt to climb it.

If you’ve never heard of the Riesenstein peaks, it’s because they don’t exist. Three mountaineers crafted the hoax as an exercise in geographic mis-information, and it inspired a quest for a North American Shangri-La.

Her new book Imaginary Peaks details the cartographical mystery of the Riesenstein Hoax within the larger context of climbing history. In conversation with Seattle Met’s Allison Williams, she detailed the seemingly endless quest, within the climbing community, for newly discovered peaks and claims of first ascent.

Katie Ives is a renowned writer in international climbing community. In 2016 she received the H. Adams Carter Literary Award from the American Alpine Club. She has participated in the Banff Mountain and Wilderness Writing Program and has served as a judge for the Boardman-Tasker Award, and a jury member, panelist, and panel moderator at the Banff Mountain Book Festival. Ives is editor in chief at Alpinist magazine and lives in Cambridge, Vermont.

Buy the Book: Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams (Hardcover) from Third Place Books

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