Norm (John) Burke

I first met John in 1969 at a Hi Laker fishing club meeting. I had heard of his exploits in the mountains at that time and admired him for all those adventures in the Cascades. I was relatively new to the Cascades then. Over the years his exploits continued to expand and I was only a blip in his memory bank until I moved to Manson. Then in 1991 I received a call from him to go on a trip to Agnes Mtn, the only condition that I had to meet was pick he and Mark Allaback up at Lucerne then go on to Stehekin. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to finally get out with the now famous John Roper. At Stehekin we caught the shuttle bus up to High Bridge then proceeded to hike the Agnes Crk trail for about 7 miles where we abruptly took a right turn, forded Agnes Crk and gained the ridge crest between Yew Crk and Agnes Crk and from there going over a rocky knob at 6210 elevation, then dropping down about 300 ft and traversing into the Yew Crk basin where we stopped for the night . My first day with John had been completed, my energy level was completely depleted and my thoughts were if tomorrow was like today, then I was in deep trouble.

After serenading John and Mark with some of my best snoring for the night we awoke the next morning and I was ready to go again. I followed John and Mark up the Yew Crk valley where we eventually had to rope up and gain a knife edge crest. We then unroped and literally straddled the crest and shuffled across it with great care since the exposure on both sides was severe enough to make me forget that my crotch was being worn down by the sharp stone. We ultimately got over this hurdle and from there the Summit of Agnes was a piece of cake. We spent a short time on the summit and retraced our steps back over the straddled crest and spent the night at a nice spot lookin down into Spruce Crk.

The next morning we went over to Mt Asa and read the original summit register placed there by Asa Post (Austin's father). From there it was a continuous brush whack down into the devils club filled valley of Agnes Crk, where we picked up the trail and literally had to run part of the way in order to catch the shuttle bus down to Stehekin.

We got back to Manson in the dark and arriving at my new home, my wife took one look and screamed, because my legs were literally covered with scratches and blood. I had foolishly not put on pants down the slope of the devils club filled valley of Agnes Cr. Thus ended my first trip with John R and it inspired me to never ever refuse a future trip with John. I will always remember John giving me a Mountain Bar of candy when we arrived down into Agnes Crk, that one event made my trip, for then I was an accepted member of his elite group.

Thanks John for your friendship and have a great birthday,

Norm (John) Burke