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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vintage Photos

This image is of my great grandfather Willem Kat and his daughter Harriet in Yosemite in 1931. Willem Kat was one of the early founders of modern day rock climbing and lived in Yosemite National Park for 19 years as a contractor. Kat Pinnacle named for him in Yosemite.
-Sparrow King

Comments on "Vintage Photos"


Blogger Barcelona m'enamora said ... (9:59 AM) : 

Her trousers ara what in our days called boyfriend jeans...isn't it?

And this type of boots are very modern, too!!


Blogger FH said ... (10:08 AM) : 

Beautiful story :)


Blogger Jack Daniel said ... (10:19 AM) : 

Are these Dutc people..?


Blogger alastair said ... (10:41 AM) : 

It's funny how stylish the absolute functionality of their clothes becomes.


Blogger AGreekAbroad said ... (11:21 AM) : 

I love the reflection of the mountains into the water. Beautiful scenery!


Blogger Naomi Marie said ... (11:43 AM) : 

I actually love her boots, goes to show the difference between style and fashion and how something so functional can be stylish too. Wonderful photo, thank you for sharing the story!


Anonymous Richard said ... (11:43 AM) : 

I've climbed Kat pinnacle in Yosemite. Nice to see who it was named for.


Blogger Vasare Nar said ... (11:45 AM) : 

These photographs look great :)


Blogger annamaria potamiti said ... (11:57 AM) : 

Lovely photo- Awesome boots!Really enjoy all the retro posts-


Blogger tinyjunco said ... (11:58 AM) : 


i sent you a 'vintage pic' of my grandfather, and this particular pic echoes him in so many many ways....first, my grandfather lived in the CA central valley all his life(fresno) and in the 1920's and 30's he used to go camping in yosemite (they'd take a mule team or horses in back then, easier than cars.) by the 1960's he no longer wanted to go to yosemite since it was 'too crowded'. fortunately many areas in the Sierra Nevadas are still very lonely, if you backpack in :)

Grandpa was a US National Champion uphill motorcycle racer in the 1930's, and in so many pictures of him from that time he is wearing the same jodphurs and knee high laced boots Harriet wears in this picture. Wonderful!

Thank you Sparrow King and Mr. Sartorialist! steph


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:10 PM) : 

Sparrow King,

Thank you so much for sharing this photo of your very actually cool family. I loved the back story of your Great Grandfather bucking convention of the day and pioneering a new adventure.



Blogger SAMANTHA said ... (12:30 PM) : 

Wow this is so cool. Really opens my imagination


Anonymous Bohemian Design said ... (12:38 PM) : 

Love the story!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:57 PM) : 

grandeur of the wild


Blogger Marcel Da Chump said ... (1:16 PM) : 

Classic Americana.

Wondering if they met Ansel Adams.


Blogger Unknown said ... (1:29 PM) : 



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:46 PM) : 



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:48 PM) : 

Every single thing about this photo is cool, but maybe the coolest part is that in 1931 this man was getting his daughter out in the wilderness in men's clothing and teaching her to climb, too. (Maybe he didn't actually teach her to climb, but I like to imagine that happened!)

Thanks so much, Sparrow King, for sharing this photo! It's a treasure.


Blogger Maryam said ... (2:53 PM) : 

Beautiful photo! Thanks for sharing!

xoxo, Maryam


Anonymous warp-speed said ... (3:19 PM) : 

This picture is great at capturing the stillness of the lake. Those style of boots have come a long way haven't they.


Anonymous mon sac by me said ... (4:26 PM) : 

Wonderful place.... ! wonderful people...... !!


Anonymous Brittany Myers said ... (9:28 PM) : 

absolutely incredible. Kat truly was a visionary!


Blogger peglud said ... (10:22 PM) : 

Are you still accepting submissions for vintage photos?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:55 AM) : 

more incredible is the fact that no one seems to be mentioning their beautiful healthy bodies - how often do you see them nowadays?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:00 AM) : 

Just for a moment I thought he was talking on a mobile phone!


Blogger Country Girl said ... (9:54 AM) : 

Love love love!


Blogger Laura K said ... (4:24 PM) : 

I am a clothing buyer in the outdoor industry and a rock climber - so I love this photo! Any more outdoor vintage photos you have to share? Especially any of women 1920s- 1950s? I would love to use them for inspiration and design.

Thanks for all you do...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:16 PM) : 

Photo and story are both wonderful!

Thank you for sharing.


Blogger lollipop4598 said ... (2:47 AM) : 

Wow, they look very stylish. Now i climb, and let me tell you, that is certainly not what I wear. I LOVE their clothing, especially her boots and jeans, but I don't see how you could possibly rock climb in that. That waist on her pants looks too tight to even sit comfortably.


Anonymous Sartor Resartus said ... (3:42 AM) : 

The main thing that strikes me here is how soft and spoiled we have become regarding clothing/equipment for outdoor activities. All romanticism aside, this is very basic clothing. People were tougher, whined less and took more risks.


Anonymous Camille said ... (3:56 AM) : 

Truly awesome anecdote.


Anonymous Sophie said ... (6:41 AM) : 

I love reading the stories that accompany these photos - it's amazing to see a snapshot of someone's day from such a long time ago!


Anonymous vintage engagement rings said ... (6:44 AM) : 

Fashion keeps on rolling!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:35 AM) : 

These photos are amazing, the stories, the people, the surroundings, the clothes - truly fascinating.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:35 AM) : 

I love this photo and the story behind it. This one really makes me wish that this blog offered the option to "Share" and "Like" on FB because of it's quality and historical significance. But I don't think there's an official Sartorialist FB page. For a good example of a blog I follow that does this well, check out


Blogger Kat said ... (10:56 AM) : 

Sparrow King - i would love to know more about your great great grandfather because my name is Antoinette Kat -my husband was Jaco Kat and his father Cor Kat.
I live in South africa and have three sons. my e- mail :


Blogger JLB said ... (4:07 PM) : 

Wow. I've climbed Kat Spire a few times- had no idea of the story. And to find out via The Sartorialist is very cool, indeed!


Blogger Marissa said ... (11:53 PM) : 

this is so funny, there really is nothing new under the sun is there? those boots rock! love the whole look.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:06 AM) : 

A free book about William Kat is available at in electronic version.


Blogger lollipop4598 said ... (6:43 PM) : 

So Kat Spire is named after this guy? Pretty cool.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:43 AM) : 

Sparrow, thanks for sharing. How unexpected to find your post here. I especially enjoyed seeing the photo as I spent some time in Yosemite in the early 70's doing rock climbing with the UCLA Bruin interesting bunch indeed.


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