Arizona Republic contributor and author Roger Naylor has released his latest book, The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon, and he will be sharing their adventurous account at the Red Pueblo Museum; 900 N Main St, Fredonia, Arizona on Friday, August 25 at 6 p.m. (Arizona time). Naylor is also the author of Boots & Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers and Arizona Kicks on Route 66. His books will be available for purchase and to have him sign them after the presentation.

Ellsworth Kolb arrived at Grand Canyon in 1901 with younger brother Emery Kolb soon following. Pioneers in the fledgling tourism industry, they set up a tent at the head of 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 the Grand Canyon from rim to river.

It’s all captured in the new book, The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon. Published by the Grand Canyon Association, the 154-page book is packed with drama, perils, feuds, near-death experiences, a cast of the canyon’s most colorful residents, and 190 of the famous Kolb photographs. This is an adventure story you must read to believe. 

The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon ($14.95) is available at Grand Canyon shops, select bookstores and museums, and online at www.rogernaylor.com

The Kolb brothers were rock-climbing, ledge-hopping, mule-chasing, river-running canyoneers. They were rash, nervy and utterly fearless. 

Ellsworth and Emery Kolb were daredevil adventurers drawn to the earth’s most glorious wound. When they landed at the edge of the Grand Canyon, they knew they were home. The boys were equal parts artist and athlete, a dizzying combination that pushed them towards increasingly creative ways to risk their necks.

The Kolbs dangled from ropes, clung to sheer cliff walls by fingertips, climbed inaccessible summits, ran impassable whitewater 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.

And they did it on their own terms. To call them innovators is a gross understatement. They carved out a way of life that didn’t exist, essentially creating tourism photography on the cusp of the 20th Century. The Kolbs also became the first independent moviemakers. They produced the first reality show. They invented the selfie. They invented trail running and put whitewater rafting on the map. Before there even was a National Park Service, they taught America how to explore their national parks.

The Kolbs documented their adventures and their lives, putting everything in photos and on film, just like much of society does today. They were ahead of their time. By a century!

Don’t mean to keep you dangling: come to the Red Pueblo on August 25 to pick up your copy and get the whole story and meet the author.