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Hometown Angel Angle 


As a fan of the Field Notes columns, I find it ironic that when Barry Evans wrote about Jimmie Angel and Angel Falls ("Why Waterfalls," March 10), he apparently didn't know that the North Coast Journal and the international headquarters for the Jimmie Angel Historical Project share the same hometown-Eureka.

Let me add some details to the story.

James "Jimmie" Crawford Angel (1899-1956) first saw the waterfall Nov. 18, 1933 on a solo flight in Churun Canyon/Devil's Canyon, which is a large cleft on the south side of Auyántepui, the vast mesa (tepui) from which Angel Falls cascades. Auyántepui is a 348-square-mile tepui in southeastern Venezuela in an area known as the Gran Sabana. It was the location for Pixar/Disney Studio's Academy Award-winning animated film UP in which Angel Falls was called Paradise Falls.

Perhaps it is quibbling, but Jimmie Angel did not crash land at the top of the falls as stated by Mr. Evans. Angel did intentionally land his airplane on Auyántepui some distance from the waterfall on Oct. 9, 1937. The landing was perfect until the airplane's landing gear broke through the sod and sank into a bog breaking the gear. Mr. Evans correctly states, "He and his three companions survived after an 11-day descent" from Auyántepui.

The interest generated by Jimmie Angel with his talk of Auyántepui and a "mile-high" waterfall was so great that the American Museum of Natural History mounted a scientific expedition to it in 1937-1938.

In December 1939, the Venezuelan government named the world's tallest waterfall Angel Falls in honor of Jimmie Angel who was their pilot-guide for the government's Ministry of Development's five-month exploration of the region.

American photojournalist Ruth Robertson led the successful 1949 ground expedition to the foot of Angel Falls which verified it as the world's tallest waterfall at 3,212 feet (939 meters).

I will be co-leading a ground expedition to Angel Falls June 29-July 5, 2012. If Barry Evans and his wife are able to register for the trip they would have a chance to do more field work and swim in a pool of water at the base of Angel Falls - with some neighbors.

Karen Angel, Eureka


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