John Lixvar

Rhino Reminiscences

A key word search through Lizard's on-line mountaineering journal reveals only eight "Roper" entries between November 8, 1981 and January 13, 1991 ; although I suspect there were a few more trips where the Bulgers and the former Himelfartskommando crossed paths. Without a doubt, the most memorable "crossing" occurred along the Chelan Crest in the spring of 1984 when an out of control snowshoeing Rhino cut across the front of Lizard's skis, breaking the tip off his precious Bushwackers. The terse journal entry hardly does justice to the trauma of the event:

May 26-28, 1984 Chelan Crest Ski Tour, WNF: Get Gray, Tuckaway, and Battle Mtns before exiting via Blue Grouse Basin . Roper breaks my Bushwackers. RIP: March 9, 1974 - May 28, 1984 .

To John's credit, the Lizard did receive nominal payment for his fully depreciated equipment - a small sum that hardly compensated for the emotional loss incurred.

Other entries include joint ascents of Mt Thompson, Loomis Mountain, Mt Margaret, and a failed winter ascent of Prairie Mountain near Stampede Pass, where only Rus Kroeker went on to the summit. That climb is best remembered for Rus's rescue by a fleet of snowmobilers sent out to find our lost companion. As I recall, Rus made the trip wearing his business suit!

I believe our last trip together was another "mixed mode" adventure where everyone but John was on mountain bikes. Lizard was leading a winter bike mountaineering trip to Taylor Mountain for the Boeing Alpine Club. John tagged along on foot, interested in the new route I had recently discovered. Unfortunately the trip went rather poorly. Lizard got lost enroute, and the weather turned nasty - freezing rain and wind. Our escape route was via a long road that left our plodding pedestrian at a great disadvantage. Interestingly, not one of the dozen participants of that trip ever went on a repeat ride with the Shockwave Rider.

Doctor John has enjoyed a long and prolific mountaineering career that puts him at the forefront of North Cascade adventurers, along with Fred Beckey and a few others. As a goal-oriented climber, fixated on climbing lists, he is without peer. He also stands out as a fine writer with a knack for witty and sometimes absurd names - but most importantly, John Roper is valued as a good friend. May he and his family enjoy the mountains forever!

With Best Regards on your 60th Birthday,

John Lixvar, Lizard the Shockwave Rider
4 January 2004