Meeting John Roper has been the high point of my
climbing life; it's as simple as that.
I had conceived of the idea of climbing the highest
point in every part of the North Cascades, but it was
not until I met John that I understood exactly what
that entailed. He pioneered and established the
example that all dedicated peak baggers are now
following. His approach was truly unique. No one else
was "cleaning out" every summit in vast tracts of
terrain on each trip. I got to see how this was done
on my first overnight foray with John. This trip in
the Canadian Skagit was a classic Roper loop, climbing
every notable summit. It was a real eye-opener for me,
from which I learned so much. I've unabashedly copied
The article that John wrote after that trip is an
example of the breadth of his talents. He had
researched the historical information about the area
and wove that into the story. A Roper trip report is
guaranteed to convey unusual and interesting
anecdotes. He has made history in the North Cascades,
and his personal acquaintence with so many of the
climbing personalities of his era is an endless source
of interest. He's a great story-teller.
No description of John would be complete
without mention of his sense of humor. He manages to find the fun
in every situation. Many grueling uphill slogs have been enlivened
by his gentle barbs, poked as often at himself as at his hapless
One of my favorite things
in life is sharing a mountain summit with John. No one is better
able to identify all that can be seen. There's probably something
in view that he was the first person to climb, and certainly there's
a notable unnamed feature which bears a Roper Name that is both
clever and descriptive-he's the master in this arena.
Congratulations, John, on your 60th birthday. I hope we can have shared adventures in the hills for another
Copyright 2004, John W. Roper.
All Rights Reserved.