The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon

August 1, 2017

If you haven't figured it out already, I'm in love with the Grand Canyon and photographing it. I'm also into the history of the canyon and the early pioneers that came here, including Kolb brothers. I could talk all day about the Kolbs, but the Grand Canyon Association and Roger Naylor have done just that in their latest book, The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon.

Roger had this to say about the brothers...“The Kolbs dangled from ropes, clung to sheer cliff walls by their fingertips, climbed virtually inaccessible summits, ran seemingly impassable white-water rapids, braved the elements, and ventured into unknown wilderness—all for the sake of a photo. Well, a photo and a thrill. Sometimes it was hard to tell which was more important.”

Ellsworth and Emery Kolb arrived at Grand Canyon in 1902 to seek their fortune at the remote, breathtaking chasm. Pioneers in the fledgling tourism industry, they set up a tent at the head of the Bright Angel Trail and began photographing tourists as they clip-clopped into the canyon on muleback. For nearly eight decades, these intrepid brothers explored and photographed Grand Canyon from rim to river, rappelling down cliff faces with makeshift ropes and anchors, running the Colorado River's perilous rapids, and exploring every corner of the canyon via foot, boat, and plane. Theirs is an adventure story you must read to believe.

The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon by Roger Naylor with a cover photo by Adam Schallau.

For the cover of this book, the Grand Canyon Association selected one of my Grand Canyon photos with a historic photo of the Kolb Brothers superimposed over it. I have to admit, it's pretty cool to have the Kolbs "standing" in front of one of my photos of the canyon.