My Adventures with John
John, Bruce Gibbs and I were planning to do a two day ridge run somewhere
north of the town of Index with some obscure un-climbed bump along the way.
We left John's car at the end of the traverse and drove to the starting point.
Bruce suddenly realised he might have to compete on a mad dash with a charging
Rhino and leaping Kangaroo and decided a peaceful Giraffe would be better
off sleeping so he went home. John and I encountered a few technicalities
along the ridge which kept the Rhino in check but the downhill stretches were
a brutal competition with the Kangaroo vainly trying to keep the Rhino in
sight. We made the summit of the un-climbed bump and dropped down to a brush
filled valley, and then to a rock filled stream. I managed to keep up with
John until about half way along the stream when my boot caught between two
rocks that stopped my foot while I kept going. My foot felt like it had a
broken bone so I couldn't put any weight on it. John took a professional look
at my foot and after deciding I would live, took off for the car which (unknown
to me) was about a mile away. I discovered that I could make some progress
with an extreme limp but I was comforted in the knowledge that John would
come back for me after a day or two of waiting at the car. A couple of hours
later I managed to limp to the car where John was patiently waiting. I very
much prefer the Bulger rules where you assume everyone can take care of themselves
rather than the suffocating Mountaineer rules which are so inhibiting.
Coming down the ridge from Spire Peak I was racing John down a Heather slope.
He realized I was hot on his tail so he proceeded to do a STANDING GLISSADE
on the heather. I had never seen anyone do this but I tried it and it worked.
Another time John was leading our party down a ridge from Shark Peak in Boston
Basin with me close behind. When the snow ended in thick brush John stopped
to put on his leather gloves. This reminded me of the scene in the movie "Bullet" where
the bad guy realized Steve McQueen was determined to catch him so he strapped
on his seat belt. The race was on. With super human effort I managed to keep
the Rhino in sight.
Another time I was following John along a ledge above a snow field. The ledge
stopped with no where to go except for a 10 foot verticle drop. I was trying
to figure out how to climb down when John solved the problem as he leaped
down onto the snow.
My trip with John on Lost Peak where he completed his 100th peak of the "Top
100" Bolger list in early July convinced me that it was a worthwhile
endeaver. Until then I thought that it was much better to do interesting climbs
instead of remote but trivial peaks. I realized that the adventure of exploring
remote peaks where you are unlikely encounter another living sole was very
satisfying. At the time I had 41 of the top 100 using my previous philosophy.
At the end of the year I had 82. The next year I finished the list. John later
led me up Cascade for my 100th peak on the "Home Court 100" list.
Dick (Kangaroo) Kegel
Copyright 2004, John W. Roper.
All Rights Reserved.