Celebrating the Mountain Lifestyle


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right here, right now
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 18, 2007 - 12:08pm PT
Crimpies Happy Thread & Chiloe’s Odd Photo Thread got me thinking.

One of the things that make me happy is seeing my good friends indulging creative ways to enjoy the mountains.

Most of us are white middle class kids who somehow felt the pull of the wild and have for a lifetime infused our gentrified souls with this essential roughness & beauty.

I think of Doug Robinson pulling the Oklahoma boys out west for teli turns, Galen Rowell swapping his hot rod for pins & jumars. In my minds eye I see Mike Graber reaching into Clevenger’s wedding cake at Soda Springs in the Meadows. Leif Patterson spreading his arms to the heavens upon reaching green grass fresh off the mountain or Jody’s dad’s Teton memories.

So post up & reposts of good stuff welcomed!
Pictures, stories, memories, ideas, fears, joys, struggles, goals...
What does the mountain lifesyle look like for you?

‘Could be your honey shoveling the porch, some wood going into the stove, your favorite out house, some skis on the tuning bench, a tent set up deep in the woods set aglow by the light of the Svea , a treasured sinewy trail or ridge, a Baltoro porter’s wizened face, some sharp tools scratching away at blue water ice, or calloused fingers crimping those joyous plates in the Buttermilks.

Not all challenge & triumph, often the quiet, subtle or whimsical notions typify the mountain lifestyle.

One of the more inspiring, creative, & playfull engagements I’ve seen in a long while,
Below John Dittli on secret ops in the High Sierra:

Photos courtesy Dittli Photography

Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:10pm PT
Sweet! Was that ice as good as it looks in the photos?

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 18, 2007 - 12:18pm PT
Dunno Spyork, I'm just sitting here in the mountains looking at them pics on my computer!

Big Wall climber
arlington, va
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:23pm PT
Taking my wife up a 300 ft. FA on an obscure little face in S. Texas, a 3 day canoe trip in the Chugach Mts with my older kids and drying out our stuff in a cozy camp near the top of Johnson Pass in the Chugach with my wife and all four kids. All four of those kids humped packs over a 26 mile pass, the youngest was only five at the time! Recent examples

Trad climber
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:26pm PT
This thread smells like a winner...good idea Roy!


Mountain climber
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:28pm PT
--Was that ice as good as it looks in the photos?

Yep. All just a dream now, buried in a blanket of white...

Trad climber
Butte, America
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:35pm PT
That skatin' looks fun.

One from Labor Day in the Absarokas.
goatboy smellz

Dec 18, 2007 - 12:45pm PT

Trad climber
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:51pm PT

photo: B. Weaver

Trad climber
Butte, America
Dec 18, 2007 - 12:59pm PT
Tom, zat lass one in tuck?

Trad climber
Dec 18, 2007 - 01:02pm PT


Sneaking up behind you...
Dec 18, 2007 - 01:16pm PT

Desolation Basin, Calif.
Dec 18, 2007 - 01:20pm PT

bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Dec 18, 2007 - 01:21pm PT
These two seem to like it.

Sangre de Christo

Soar like a Eagle.


Dec 18, 2007 - 01:41pm PT
In 1980 I was a white middle class punk living in the city (Chicago)looking for a way to escape. I got a summer gig as a volunteer back country ranger in Olympic National Park. I escaped. After a summer of wearing a uniform I got a gig as a guide (i.e., tripod and lens schlepper) for a National Geographic photographer. Somehow I ended up in a book. I used to coin I earned to move to Yosemite. I've been blessed to be living the mountain lifestyle evah since. Yo.


Trad climber
Lee, NH
Dec 18, 2007 - 02:36pm PT
For one thing, we have a lot to pay forward.

Darren D.

Social climber
Dec 18, 2007 - 03:15pm PT
The Climb:

Two Hours Later:


Social climber
The West
Dec 18, 2007 - 04:17pm PT


Dec 18, 2007 - 04:23pm PT
more on the paying forward theme


right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 18, 2007 - 04:56pm PT
A eulogy I wrote for Walter Rosenthal sums up a lot for me:

It's been awhile, I'm guessing circa 1976 or 77, back in a Kelty shop in Glendale CA, Vern Clevenger gave a slideshow on Mescalito and my teenage climbing pal and I attended it like it was Christmas morning. At the time Vern was one of our heroes, given his defining legacy as a prime activist in Tuolumne Meadows.

To a certain degree, Vern used Walter’s good-natured presence on the climb as a comic foil for the story; partly due to Walter’s overall relaxed, good nature, (he said that Walter had a good book to read, just in case they decided to kick back for a day) and specifically because Walter chose to climb in Lowa Triplex, which was the standard high-altitude mountaineering boot at the time. Vern said Walter’s explanation was quite simple:” I'm going to be standing in slings, so what does it matter?” Vern had plans to try to free climb as much of the climb as he could, I don't think Walter cared so much about it and given the report of their ascent that proved to be a more applicable perspective. Vern had maybe one free climbing picture which Walter took of him laybacking an expando flake.

In spring of 1980 I moved to Mammoth Lakes, so I could pick up some mountain travel skills and be closer to Yosemite. I didn't know any climbers up there. I was buying a block of chalk in the pharmacy and Hugh Burton's wife, Kathy Dermitzakis, pegged me as a climber and introduced me to the boys: Marco Milano, Bob Finn, Chuck Cochran, Vern and Margaret Clevenger, Kevin Leary, and Walter Rosenthal.

At the time, Kevin and Walter were sharing a tiny Airstream trailer in the trailer park, out where the golf course now sits. Also there were Marco and Bob sharing a trailer, a nice guy named Jim, who in later years I got to work with at Tamarack Lodge and then Vern & Margaret together in a trailer, where I rented the second bedroom.

They all took me under their wing, which included employment on Bob Stephan’s hard-working drywall stocking crew. At the time Walter was primarily a skier, the rest of them shared enthusiasm equally split between skiing and climbing, but my time with those boys and my defining memories of Walter in particular, are all about the days of the “Drywall Dogs”.

Make no mistake about it: even though Marco was our foreman, Walter was our spiritual leader and Chuck was his lieutenant. These appointments were entirely impromptu of course, more a generation of character than anything else. On a tidy notepad in his pocket, Walter always had the immaculate count as to where the numerous sheets of drywall were to be stacked and he anticipated logistics. Walter was the science officer, (incessantly reading Scientific American), while Chuck, when not giving me shite for being young and bow legged, told uproarious stories in his signature drawl and sought to uplift team morale.

Every morning, we’d go to Schatzees Bakery, where Walt, smartly dressed in a dark blue short waisted jacket, wool pants, and stiff leather mountain boots, would see to it that we all had plenty of coffee, and he was the last person to suggest, “perhaps we need a few plugs for the road?”, a “plug” being a buttermilk doughnut, by weight and density, the highest caloric value doughnut a person could buy: essentially a gold brick of dough, butter and sugar.

That infectious laugh! One of the bigger jobs we worked on was Aspen Creek: this gargantuan palace, in its construction phase like the vacuous bowels of a medieval castle, with endless passageways, multiple enclosures and great lofts, was peopled with tough carpenters ambling proudly about with their framing hammers dangling from twin nail bags like loaded six shooters. He and Chuck would get us to race down the long hallways, up the stairs, in teams of two gripping double bundles of 12’ 5/8" drywall sheets. This became entertainment: and Walt's resulting laugh was more like a hearty exhortation, a sarcastic gulping, it sounded like he was drinking in life with large throatfulls. We worked very hard and owing to the dynamic, cheerfully so.

When a friend of mine, a climbing partner, Jerome Carlian died that summer, Walt, not much of a drinker, bought two Coors talls and sat me down on lunch break to be sure I was okay and talked with me about it, looking after my sense of the whole thing and checked to be sure I didn't feel any guilt, a feeling which he said can be quite normal when one suffers the death of a friend.

About midsummer, Tom Carter and Alan Bard joined our team and the resultant dynamic expanded hilariously! Carter was always humming reggae tunes, while Cochran would cut him up about it and Bardini was just looking for a way out to get back to the guiding, which at the time was being done for John Fisher at the Palisades school. Also joining us was a very large black man named Marcus, who I later beat out in an eating contest, including ribs, corn, potatoes and pie. Little 135 pound Bob Finn could also out work him in terms of sheer load carrying capacity, which was really something to watch. Marcus knew we were just a bunch of crazy white boys.

In the fall, we all showed up for work one morning on a crystal-clear, beautiful day. Our collective tone was ambivalent; work energy low, appetite for the Sierra light and raging aspen's very high. Walt & Chuck held a pow-wow, then Walt quietly went over to confer with Bob Stephans. He came back and declared the successful outcome of a congenial mutiny! “We’re taking the day off boys; and we are first going to the Bishop Golf Course driving range (Chuck's bid), then we'll have a nice day hiking up Paiute Pass".

Since spring, we’d all been working so hard together and it was largely Walt’s sense of timing and care for the morale of his team that sparked a wonderful day of hooky together. We were all pretty stimulated by the end of the day and we barreled down the trail from Paiute Pass en masse, running headlong through the aspens in a tunnel of brilliant red leaves.

Via Con Dios Walter,
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