Charlie Janeway

Happy 60th birthday to John. I wish I could give him a present as wonderful as the one he has given me over the years.

Without John's leadership, I never would have experienced many exhilarating climbs in the mountains as John was the mentor of our Group Health Alpine Society (GHAS).

For many years GHAS had at least a yearly climb of some mountain on or near a peak on John's "to-do" list, one that he hadn't previously "bagged" for his life list of first ascents. These were trips of six varied Group Health docs. Our packs were always heavier the John's as he had less food and clothing than the rest of us. John seemed to survive on berries and nuts on these trips, a diet which undoubtedly accounted for his marked annual weight variation. He would gain 30 pounds in the winter only to lose it all by the end of summer. Despite the weight loss he was always a strong bear-like fellow.

After a few miles down a well traveled trail John would cut off into the brush almost by scent. This bearded guy would then have us cross a roaring river suspended by a rope, in what I think he called a Tyrolean traverse. The we would sweat up some steep incline through the brush, sometimes tripping over a "burn" of fallen logs to end up on our backs turtled up looking at the sky. Eventually we would breathlessly reach the summit where we were on top of the world able to see forever. From this vantage point we were ringed by mountain ranges that John knew like the back of his hand. He would name peak after peak scanning the horizon for 360 degrees to my amazement as I confess most of the peaks looked pretty much the same to me. I knew if I was there alone I would be seriously lost. With John, however, I knew we could always get home because he knew exactly where we were. John always seemed to push me to my limit but was sensitive to what that limit was and when to stop. When I got in trouble he was there to take care of me, even reducing my dislocated shoulder (twice).

Those trips were great times for male bonding where men would stink, fart and tell dirty stories, those things we would not do at home or at the workplace. Such sharing, however, made Group Health a better place to work.

Again, John, happy birthday and thanks,

Charlie Janeway