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From the Kremlin to Le Conte

Ralph Collins may be the only person who has signed in at the Kremlin as well as the LeConte Lodge logbook.*

Ralph Collins

Ralph Stokes Collins (19010-1998) was a professor of German at Maryville College and also served 1945-67 with the U.S. State Department, including a posting in Russia.

I discovered Collins' hiking accomplishments through the journals of Margaret Stevenson, where I saw his name pop up more than a hundred times.

Searching through, I found this July 1993 story on Stevenson's 602nd hike, where Collins, age 82, claimed 181 ascents.

I've added him to the Honor Roll with 181, and I'd like to hear from anyone who knows of any subsequent hikes he may have made. The last time Stevenson mentioned him was a 1994 hike where Collins turned back short of the mountaintop.

We now have 87 men and 23 women who are credited with at least 100 climbs. Another recent addition is Rob Ware of Chattanooga, who checked in May 12 with 105 trips.

We're working on an updated version of, and I'm hoping to include profiles of those who have made more than 100 climbs.

*There might be one other Kremlin connection. Secretary of State Dean Rusk (1909-1994) served under President John F. Kennedy, and in 1963 he visited Moscow to negotiate a nuclear weapons agreement with the Soviet Union.

The secretary had a brother, Roger Rusk (1906-1974), who was a professor at the University of Tennessee; and a nephew, Bob Rusk (1940-2023), who frequented the Smokies. If Dean Rusk ever made the hike to Le Conte, I haven't found a record of it.


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