Breaking Trail by Arlene Blum

Timeline created by wshull@bos
  • Period: to

    Arlene is born

    Arlene Blum (born March 1, 1945)
  • Arlene's childhood years in Chicago

    Arlene's childhood years in Chicago
    From the age of five on in Arlene lives in Chicago and is raised by her Orthodox Jewish mother and grandparents.
  • Arlene attends Reed College

    Arlene attends Reed College
    In the early 1960s, she attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
  • Rejection

    Rejection
    In 1960, she requested to join a high altitude expedition, but was told that she was welcome to come as far as the base camp to “help with the cooking.” However, she was able to go climbing as part of her research for her senior thesis, which was on the topic of volcanic gases on Oregon's Mount Hood.
  • Her first big climb

    Her first big climb
    In 1967 she attmepts her first big climb through a friend she met at College, she climbs Mt. Adams with her friend Joh who she met at College.
  • Mt. McKinley

    Mt. McKinley
    As deputy leader, Blum was part of the first all-woman team to ascend Alaska's Mount McKinley in 1970.
  • MIT and Berkeley,.and the endless winter

    MIT and Berkeley,.and the endless winter
    Blum graduated from Reed and attended MIT and UC Berkeley, where she earned a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry in 1971. After graduate school, Blum embarked on what she called the "endless winter" — spending more than a year climbing peaks all over the world.
  • Everest..round 1

    Everest..round 1
    Mt. Everest, at 29,028 feet, is the highest mountain on Earth. In the autumn of 1976, she helped organize the second American expedition to try to climb it. No American woman had yet made the ascent.
  • Annapurna

    Annapurna
    she organized a team of thirteen women to climb Annapurna (I) in Nepal which, until then, had been climbed by only eight people (all men). It was called American Women's Himalayan Expeditions - Annapurna. They raised money for the trip in part by selling T-shirts with the slogan "A woman's place is on top".
  • Researcher/Educator

    Researcher/Educator
    As a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, in the late 1970s and 80's, Blum's research contributed to the regulation of two cancer-causing chemicals used as flame retardants on children's sleepwear. Blum taught at Stanford University, Wellesley College, and the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Present day

    Present day
    After a long hiatus, Blum returned to science and policy work in 2006—when her daughter started college—and her memoir Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life was published. She discovered that the same Tris her research had helped remove from children's pajamas was back in California couches and baby products.