Mitch Blanton

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 format.

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 companions.

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 20 years.

Mitch