John Rosholt, RIP


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Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 18, 2010 - 10:02am PT
The remains found in Black Velvet Canyon have been positively identified as belonging to John. If you have any pictures or stories about John, his family would appreciate seeing them or reading them. Post up!

Sincere condolences to Jane and to the rest of Johns family and friends.


Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 18, 2010 - 10:09am PT
Sorry to hear that, but I'm sure it's a relief that he's no longer missing. That was too long.

My condolences to his family and all of you that knew and loved him.

RIP John.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Nov 18, 2010 - 10:28am PT
Many condolences to friends and family.

Really sucks, but probably at least offers the family a little closure instead of never knowing.

Jim Henson's Basement
Nov 18, 2010 - 10:30am PT
He has been missing for so many years now it had become a true climbers mystery.

Condolences to the friends and family that searched so long and hard. I'm happy there is finally some closure for them.

RIP John
the Fet

Nov 18, 2010 - 10:36am PT
Thanks for the update. My condolences as well.
susan peplow

Nov 18, 2010 - 10:40am PT
The news from Jane was a surprise. I'm glad that she and the rest of his friends and loved ones can put some closure on his disappearance. It has been many years and I think most of us accepted that we'd never know for sure what happened to the Gambler.

The mystery of what John was doing out there with his car parked miles away may never be solved.

Thank you Jane for keeping us informed, on behalf of Russ, myself and the rest of the SuperTopo family we appreciate it. All the best to you and your family.

Good-bye John you were loved by many and deeply missed.


Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 18, 2010 - 10:51am PT
Condolences, to his family, closure that took too long to come.

John was a good friend of mine back in the mid to late 70's in Gunnison. We were both in the geology program at Western State College. I was a teaching assistant for mineralogy and physics and John was one of my students in both of those classes. John was quick and smart, but he probably had some of the worst handwriting I'd seen. He also seemed to have a contest going on with a fellow student and friend (Eric Bard) as to who could trash their textbook the most, both of their books looked like they'd been used for doorstops. John was always "ditching" lab to go up to Taylor Canyon. I'd go up after lab and belay him on his attempts of the big roof or have him drag me up some 5.10 thrutch fest (in his green Shoenards). As I came to the belay ledge panting and wide eyed, he would say to me "what's the matter, it's only 5.7 or 5.8" He could hang for hours, upside down, working out a problem, he was built like an Olympic gymnast, guns for biceps.

I'll miss his impish smile and bouncing chuckles when he found irony in some statement that you'd made (which was quite often). One spring, he contracted tick fever and was confined to the hospital for almost a week. I went in to visit him and there he was, bouncing up and down on his bed, ghetto blaster blasting The Ramones, I Wanna be Sedated, singing totally off key with a big smile on his face. He was not the kind of person to sit sedately in a hospital room. He looked up at me and offered me a bite of his energy bar, Barb's Buns, the nastiest granola bars I'd ever tasted, John seemed to be living off of those things for months.

I'll miss you John.
Scott Mossman


Gym climber
A dingy corner in your refrigerator
Nov 18, 2010 - 11:05am PT
RIP John,

hope this closure helps somehow. I needed a climbing partner in Toulnumne once. John took a look at my crazy painted helmet and said "I'll climb with anyone with a helmet like that". He was very kind and felt like a brother right away. Thanks John


Nov 18, 2010 - 11:10am PT
Strange that his truck was left back in the casino parking lot....still a mystery how he got there and what happened. Hope that family and friends can find some peace and that this is figured out in the end.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Nov 18, 2010 - 11:12am PT
I only met and climbed with John briefly, in the early 2000's. Enjoyed his company a lot. Entertaining guy. I am glad that his whereabouts are now known. But it seems the mystery is continuing. What exactly happened?

Rest in Peace, John. I hope the rest of the story is found out through more investigation.

-Paul Humphrey
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Nov 18, 2010 - 11:23am PT
Deepest condolences and sympathy to family and friends.

I copied Russ's post and added it as a news item over on Hope that's okay.

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Nov 18, 2010 - 11:29am PT
RIP John.
I have great memories of a couple of weeks climbing with you in Hueco.
To his close friends and family, I hope this news brings some closure.

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Nov 18, 2010 - 11:31am PT
I ran into and climbed with John many times over the years. Our shared passion for new routes and transforming out of the way rocks into moderately popular destinations often found us in the same areas at the same time. His passion fueled mine, and hopefully the reverse was a little true as well.

I've often wondered when, and how, the mystery of his disappearance would be explained. I'm going to choose to believe that John was out there hiking around, looking for the next new route...

RIP my friend!

 Louie Anderson
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 18, 2010 - 11:38am PT
Condolences to those close.
At least there is a partial answer and some closure.
Zachary Barr

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Nov 18, 2010 - 12:06pm PT
John lugged me up University Wall in Squamish -- one of my most memorable days ever as a climber. The route was a little over my head but John really wanted to climb the whole thing without falling, and I was willing to go along for the ride.

It was around 1997. We met in the parking lot and the next day we were climbing the famed U-Wall. He had been climbing tons in the months before we met; he talked about how re-dedicating himself to the sport was making him happy. He had also decided himself to learning how to eat right. I remember he believed tuna fish had special powers. He mixed spicy Indian pickle with tuna right in the can.

He was a beast on University Wall. He climbed every hard pitch, never falling, all the while stopping to put in gear every three feet. He would labor over each placement, just hanging out by one arm on overhanging rock. Each piece was -- without doubt -- perfectly placed. I had never climbed with someone as slow or as strong. The longer he hung out the more confident and he became. It defied logic.

The whole route we hauled a little bag. I viewed the hauling as unnecessary, and said so. But John wouldn't hear it. He wanted to be comfortable. You'd think all that hand-over-hand hauling would have tired him out -- it didn't. We brought along a chair for the belayer [me], extra coat, probably some food, and John's shoes for the descent.

On the route, he told me about his profession. I was only 22 years old, so I'm sure I was wide-eyed at his descriptions of traveling the west playing poker and rock-climbing. "That's why people call me the Gambler," he said.

When we reached the final ledge, I was worn out and knew I had just climbed the hardest route of my life. We sat on the sunny ledge for a few minutes. He was feeling good, proud to have set a goal and accomplished it.

John put on his shoes and set off across Bellygood ledge. We simul climbed across the ledge; as on the route, John led. We reached the forest and hiked off -- I barefoot, John -- ever the planner -- in his sneakers.

Social climber
Carlsbad, CA
Nov 18, 2010 - 12:34pm PT
I met John when he swung through San Diego for a card tournament at one of the casinos or card rooms. I enjoyed chatting about cards while he took the time to work with me on my crack technique. I can still see his smile when I was almost overcome with nausea on Bat Flake and his calm instruction on how to help extract his knee from Mother Superior. Thanks John.
Joe Huggins

Trad climber
Lafayette, CO
Nov 18, 2010 - 12:38pm PT
To John's family-I'm so sorry for your loss. John was a good man and a fine friend.In '84 I spent the summer in the Sierras, and climbed tons of great routes with him. He would often suggest pitches for me to lead with a sort of mischievous poker face...never got me into anything I couldn't handle, though. After being up in Tuolumne for a couple of weeks, we decided to brave the heat in the Valley; drove down about mid day, had some pizza and 3.2 beer at Degnan's, and went to Middle Cathedral to climb the first few pitches of Stoner's Highway. He led the first pitch in typical style, as I was following I got violently ill- in the 104 degree heat, he didn't even argue about going down.

A couple of years later, I was bumming in Vegas, climbing with whoever was available, and ran into him at Red Rocks. I remember how stoked he was to be able to get us both into the dealer's buffet at one of the old casinoes; he had "juice"...

Never one to be taken advantage of; we were on a road trip out of Boulder, driving to Vedauwoo in my VW bus. I got flagged by a WY State trooper, who was going to take me in if I didn't pay the $50 right then, John made my bail. When we got back to Boulder, he insisted the first stop be the bank...

I could go on. I am glad that we finally know-Happy Travels John!

beneath the valley of ultravegans
Nov 18, 2010 - 01:02pm PT
I'll send up a windhorse for The Gambler! I met John down in Hueco about twelve years back and then off and on again in JT. Always a big smile, cool stories, and willingness to poke around or crank with equal aplomb. He'll be missed.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Nov 18, 2010 - 01:25pm PT
I did not know the man, I don't think we ever met that is, but condolences to family and friends. Closure can be so important in the human psyche.

That said, and I know I am going off topic here a bit, but I grew up in Cali with animals of different kinds, primarily cats and dogs. Whenever a 'member' of the family died, we would show the body to all the other mammals before we buried it. Closure. However, regarding my late dog and late cat Cara. Shortly after moving back to London from north Wales, Cara died and I had the vet cremate her, as I did not have land to bury her, and for about a month Ci was looking around the house, back and front yards for her (they were close), and I regretted not taking her body home for him to see and understand for closure. And some humans do underestimate the intelligence of other animals.

Anyway, I sure hope this is closure for John's loved ones. But it is still a bit of a mystery (I have been following it since the first thread about his disappearance years ago).

RIP dude

Boulder, CO
Nov 18, 2010 - 01:28pm PT
I met John bouldering out at Queen Creek Arizona and we quickly became good friends and regular partners. Bouldering, trad or sport…it never mattered to John as long as we were climbing.

John was the kind of partner that never asked "Are we climbing this weekend?" it was always "WHERE are we climbing?". His passion for new routes and for finding himself in climbing was remarkable, and contagious. He would call at the most random times to talk about a new route, or a new area he had scoped. Always wanting to get plans in order to explore and send. He patiently helped me learn the art of bolting routes, making sure the bolts were always thoughtfully placed, and we worked together developing routes on limestone crags near Globe, Arizona.

When I went to climb Epinepherine in Black Velvet (where he was ironically found), John told me a story about how he'd soloed the route and how a loose hold at the crux roof sketched him out "Watch out for that one. I nearly shat myself" he said. I didn't know him very well at that time and I thought he was bullshitting me. It sounded crazy to solo a route like that. Years later, I'm chatting with a couple of climbers who tell me a story about climbing Epi, sitting on top of the Black Tower when here comes this guy, solo, smoking a cigarette. He chatted with them for a bit then kept going. Blown away, I asked them to describe the guy, and they described John to a tee.

The last time I saw John was at my going away party (John at left in the photo) before I moved to Colorado. We had made plans to climb in Eldo and The Black…always plans for big days. He went missing shortly after I moved, and I never saw him again. From the sounds of it, John went soloing in Black Velvet again–he loved that canyon. Gambling was John's way of life, and his way of leaving it.

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