In The High Sierra ~ Mount Whitney (1982 & 1983)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on 35mm slides. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the slides haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. The photos below are some of those old slides.


Sometime in the 1990s, we were in an Independence restaurant eating breakfast, having just come down from a climb in the High Sierra. Suddenly shouting erupted outside and I looked-up to see a man running down the sidewalk yelling and waving a piece of paper. Angst over a parking ticket? A lottery winner? As he zoomed past the restaurant and on up the street, we could hear him screaming: “Hans! Hans! We have the permit! We have the permit!” Apparently he and Hans had come all the way from Germany to climb Mount Whitney (14,494 feet (4,416 m)), the highest point and arguably the most famous – or at least the best known – peak in the continental United States. Even then, people came from all over to climb it. But the permit requirements had begun hardening in the mid-1980s and now concessionaires or rangers were around to enforce them. These two hadn’t gotten a permit in advance and were justifiably ecstatic about snagging a rare walk-up one. Considering Whitney’s current level of popularity, having that happen today would exceed the miraculous.

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In The High Sierra ~ Mount Morrison (1974-1985)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on 35mm slides. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the slides haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. The photos below are some of those old slides.


My first trip to California’s High Sierra was on a backpack in 1968. That started, haltingly, a granitic attraction to The Range of Light that has now endured for more than 50 years. The first “real” mountain I ever climbed was (appropriately) Mount Hood in 1972. I did a NOLS Mountain Guide course the next summer during which our attempt on Gannett Peak (Wyoming’s high point) was foiled by a blizzard. My first attempt at mountaineering in the High Sierra was on Mount Morrison (12,241 ft (3,731 m)) in 1974. That was the start of an eleven year long saga of uninformed optimism.

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Telescope Peak ~ Death Valley (Thanksgiving 1974)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on 35mm slides. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the slides haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. The photos below are some of those old slides.


Telescope Peak, at 11,049 feet (3,368 m), is the highest point in Death Valley National Park. My recent trip with The LovedOne to the park rekindled long dormant memories of my first (and only) climb of this peak. It was Thanksgiving 1974 and Wayne and I (miraculously in my case) were recent college graduates; Diane had a year to go. I think Wayne had even found a job! Why is lost in the mists of time but we decided to use the holiday weekend to climb Telescope. Today it’s typically done as a long (14 miles round-trip, 3,000 feet of gain) day hike from the trailhead at Mahogany Flats Campground. We, on the other hand, opted for an overnighter, with a camp on the ridge just short of the summit.

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Why Are You Carrying All That Stuff?

In July 2017, the Spokane Spokesman-Review ran a story called “What’s in your daypack?” It’s premise was that when heading out on anything other than the easiest trail (and maybe even then), you should have with you what’s needed to survive an incident or accident. This was basically another take on the now ubiquitous 10 Essentials. Still, I felt more than a little vindicated after reading it.  My years spent hiking, climbing, and mountaineering taught me (usually the hard way) to be prepared, to be ready to self-rescue if possible, to have some means of mitigating the suffer-fest (either mine or someone else’s), and – above all – to not put others (like SAR folks) at risk because I was poorly equipped for prevailing conditions.

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NOLS in the Wind Rivers, Wyoming (July 1973)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on 35mm slides. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the slides haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. The photos below are some of those old slides.


The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) was founded in 1965 by Paul Petzoldt, a legendary mountaineer and fixture in the Teton climbing community. I had completed a basic mountaineering course with the Mazamas in 1972 and was looking for a way to learn more about mountaineering and how to get around in the backcountry. One of my rock climbing partners at the time (Kim Fadiman) had done a NOLS Mountain Guide course (now it’s called the Wind River Mountaineering Expedition) the year before, was very enthusiastic about it, and convinced me it was just what I needed. So I signed up and soon found myself at the NOLS “Lumberyard” (whose main building burned down in 1974, taking a lot of gear and supplies with it) in Lander, Wyoming on a nice day in late June of 1973.

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