R o l a n  P a u l
  F I R N H A B E R   





R. Paul Firnhaber

(Nota bene: This is a bio designed to accompany the marketing of a new book by Firnhaber and Estes Park photographer James Frank entitled
 Magic in the Mountains: Estes Park, Colorado.
Beyond that it has little value.)


Firnhaber has lived in Estes Park, Colorado for over 38 years. He feels comfortable calling himself a local, not only because he has checked the same post office box nearly every one of those days, and climbed to the top of nearly every mountain in the National Park, but because his three sons, two of which were born in Estes Park, traversed  the local school system a combined total of 35 years.  Somehow going to that many Christmas programs and parent-teacher conferences warrants a local medal, if there was such a thing.  Being a local , he feels, is a requirement for describing his own community as magic and writing about it.

With a personal load of too much education, Firnhaber has often tried to avoid the scholarly/academic route, but seems always to get caught up in it as if it was some sort of recurring allergy.  He has worked most of his life as a researcher, writer, editor, and photographer. At this point of his life, he has decided that this is what he does best and he might as well keep it up. His pursuits have taken him to most of the mundane and a few of the exotic places on the planet, usually in search of some elusive big cookie.  For many years he has studied and photographed prehistoric rock art and his studio sports file cabinets filled with over 30,000 slides of this unusual art from most every corner of five continents.  His work has been exhibited, and boasts inclusion in private and public collections, all over the world. 

Seven years ago he bought a home in northern Europe where he now lives
about half the time.  Closer to work, he muses. 

Magic in the Mountains
is his thirteenth book.  His last was Shamanism in the Interdisciplinary Context, and his next two don't have titles yet, but one is a companion volume to Magic on Rocky Mountain National Park (the one that hasn't been written) also with James Frank, and the other has to do with a cast-brass amulet tradition that traveled across Eurasia for over 2,000 years and ended up in the Russian state of Karelia, north of his Estonian home. One portion of this work was just published in a Chinese/English anthology in Beijing, China. He has also published a lot of other stuff, both papers/essays and photographs.

There are still  things he would like to do and places he would like to go. 



Firnhaber in the Gobi Desert in northern Mongolia
traveling south to Ulaan Baatar. In some parts of the world
hitchhiking beats walking.


Built in the early 1800s as a kőrtsihoone or country inn, Firnhaber's home
in  the little Estonian village of Uue-Kariste is half dwelling and half stables. 
He lives in his fixer-upper while he restores it. But since it is on the country's
National Register of Historic Places, it has to be done to
heritage standards, and that is taking longer.

You are welcome to come and visit,
but expect to either help or be satisfied with unfinished.
CLICK  to see more of this place.

Since this short bio was published, Firnhaber has moved permanently to Estonia.  The old stone house continues to be worked-on, but a much newer (1889), year-round house in the nearby town of Viljandi is home. 

Firnhaber can be reached anytime, anywhere by email at