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.


Mountain climber
Nov 18, 2010 - 02:01pm PT
Met the Dude in Hueco a few years back, what a character!

Climbing was making the transition to mainstream, but it was really nice to know there was still at least one Rogue running around. Super cool guy. Glad he's been found.

Social climber
Nov 18, 2010 - 02:03pm PT
I climbed and explored with John in AZ. Some of his memorable routes in the Homestead, near Globe AZ, await your pleasure. He put a lot of effort into creating fun hard routes. Aside from that, he was a pleasure to spend time with. He is missed and my condolences go out to his loved ones.

Trad climber
Nov 18, 2010 - 02:09pm PT
There's a story from Peder about Rosholt, Peder and others coming up north from the Valley. After a month of big walls and whatnot, they were driving north through Oregon, Squamish bound, and the driver of the van (the only guy who had any $$ left) realised one evening on gassing up that he had lost his wallet. With no bank account, no credit cards etc, the rest of this crew of filthy dirtbags sat in the parking lot at a Chevron off I-5, wondering how they were going to get the next 900 miles home, pay for the current tank of gas, and where the beer would now be coming from.

It was getting dark and Rosholt glanced up and saw some neon in the distance. His eyes lit up.

"Boys," he said, "we need every coin we've got."

The crew of filth emptied-- EMPTIED-- that van and managed to scrounge together $5 or so in greasy pennies and rusted quarters from under seats and carpets.

"Later," said Rosholt, and set off, on foot, up the highway. The dirtbags bedded down and fell asleep.

The next morning Rosholt woke everybody and herded them into the coffeeshop. He'd found a Native rservation that had a casino, and had parlayed his $5 into $200...enough for breakfast, beer and gas back to Squampton.

Trad climber
Boston, MA
Nov 18, 2010 - 03:11pm PT
I never got a chance to meet John, but in a way I feel connected to him. I started climbing in the Northeast, and it seemed that every time I hit a new milestone of hardest, longest, most beautiful and fantastic route for me, I would find out that John had led it - always in better style of course - TWENTY FIVE YEARS earlier. Nearly every damn time. I almost started to feel like it was a matter of time before I'd run into him soloing past me some day.

Oddly enough, lately I've been enjoying playing poker. I sure do wish I could have run into him at the crags one day, or had him take my money and teach me a thing or two about poker. The guy was clearly very cool, and he's missed even by those of us who've never met him.

Gabe O
the Fet

Nov 18, 2010 - 03:40pm PT
harihari that story was awesome!
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
Nov 18, 2010 - 03:41pm PT
I am bummed at the situation but really glad that John has been found.

John, I'll see you on the other side.........

Rock on! Marty

Trad climber
Oakland Park Florida
Nov 18, 2010 - 04:43pm PT
Pretty impressive;sb=Review_ClimbDate;format=short;mh=50

Nov 18, 2010 - 04:49pm PT
RIP, John. You've been missed buddy.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 18, 2010 - 04:52pm PT

I never met John, but it's always sad when
we lose a 'brother.'
My sincere condolences to John's family and friends.

Nov 18, 2010 - 05:01pm PT
KPHO-TV in Phoenix covered John's disappearance in 2005 and is again working on the case today with the news that remains are identified. We are reaching out to any friends or family who might care to appear on camera to share thoughts about John's life and death. Please contact Thank you.

Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Nov 18, 2010 - 05:10pm PT
John used to keep a tiny wired stopper - can't recall the size - on his key chain. That sliver held the result of an aerial boulder problem in the Black Canyon on a route he aptly named "The Plunge". Not a route that sees much tourist traffic, I believe. As John described it, he was going to retrieve that trinket no matter what.


Social climber
Bouncy Tiggerville
Nov 18, 2010 - 05:28pm PT
RIP, John. Good to have some closure for those who have had concern over your disappearance all these years.

Erik Wolfe
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Nov 18, 2010 - 05:45pm PT
Only met John a few times at Red Rocks. Always a pleasure and replete with good stories. Glad there is some closure.
The Lisa

Trad climber
Da Bronx, NY
Nov 18, 2010 - 06:04pm PT
I have never met John Rosholt but it is sad when anyone in the community passes, and from reading the stories here it is certainly a loss for everyone who knew him.
I am so sorry for his family and friends.
susan peplow

Nov 18, 2010 - 06:05pm PT

As mentioned in a previous post. AZ local TV is showing their spots at 5:30 & 6:45pm tonight.


Trad climber
100% Canadian
Nov 18, 2010 - 06:17pm PT
If his climbing gear was missing fom his residence and car then he wasn't soloing. Everything I have read leads me to suspect there was another person involved. Who drove John from the Casino to the climbing area ? The bits and pieces don't add up. This looks like a climbing accident, because it was made to look like a climbing accident.

Condolences to all friends and family. John was well known and admired by the Squamish climbing community

Trad climber
Nov 18, 2010 - 06:43pm PT
A few more Rosholt stories (crosspost from mountainproject):

John and Peder Ourom were working on a new pitch on the Squamish Buttress. This new pitch was right beside the 10c pitch. Anybody who has climbed in Squamish knows that, on weekend afternoons, this pitch is a bottleneck, where party after party throws themselves at it and lineups are long. Fortunately, there is a palatial balcony from which to watch the action.

Anyway, Rosholt is up there in his aiders, flicking rocks out of the 12- crack they are working on. And along comes a guided party. The guide gets up in a huff when the odd bit of moss and pebble come down from the new crack fifteen feet right of the tourist route.

"Hey!" he yells up at Rosholt, "would you mind waiting until my clients and I have climbed past?"

"No way" says Rosholt, "progress can't wait!" They sent a few hours later and they called the pitch Progress Can't Wait, 5.12a

The Filth and I were once in Real Hidden Valley, and Filth was getting ready to try Fisticuffs. Rosholt was about to solo Illusion Dweller and Filth went up to him and said

"Have you done Fisticuffs?"


"Do you know what size cams it takes?"

"Couldn't tell ya. When I climbed it, we didn't have cams."

Trad climber
Nov 18, 2010 - 07:15pm PT
Sad, strange story.... condolences to all JR's family and friends.

Trad climber
Gunnison Valley, Colorado
Nov 18, 2010 - 07:52pm PT
Thank you for all the posts. My good friend Brent Armstrong was telling stories about Rosholt while bouldering at Red Rocks, just before they found the spine. I never met him, but feel connected, as I've lived in Gunnison for the last 11 years, and followed in his footsteps in Taylor Canyon, The Black and Red Rocks; it's incredible to read about these Rosholt stories, and I hope people keep sharing.

Condolences to all of his friends and family.


Nov 18, 2010 - 08:36pm PT
One afternoon at Squamish John hooked up with Sig Isaac, who I happened to be climbing with that day. It seemed like a couple older guys who thought they were hard were checking each other out, but the difference is that John was hard. John had half a dozen books on poker theory and practice on the back seat of his car.

I hope his relatives (a sister?) can rest a little easier. The news makes a difference to me, too.

Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 18, 2010 - 08:39pm PT
Sorry to hear the sad news. My brother and Hamish both know. I only met John a few times, and never climbed with him, but he was clearly one of the characters that make our community so strong.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Nov 18, 2010 - 08:42pm PT
Wow, I remember reading about his disappearance. What a sad tale, and ending.

Rest in peace, John, and God bless! Condolences to the family.

Arkansas, I suppose
Nov 18, 2010 - 08:42pm PT
Sorry to hear this. He was a very cool fellow.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Nov 18, 2010 - 09:52pm PT
I never knew you, but would love to have had a beer with you.

So sorry to his family and friends.
the hobo

Nov 18, 2010 - 10:36pm PT
I had some Gambler adventures.
John used to stay at our Calico Basin house in Vegas. He was always a lot of fun to hang out with, full of wit and wisdom. He was always carefully measuring out his various powdered mussle drinks, but never turned down a slice of pizza when offered.
Like a lot of the Vegas climbers, we did some routes together, but I was never as strong or not nearly as smooth as John.

Once he was belaying me on one of the righthand 5.11 routes at Sunny and steep. I was so scared to fall I jumped off instead, only to catch myself on a jug several feet down.
His usually unflappable persona cracked for a moment: his eyebrows shot up in suprise behind his ever present perscription sunglasses.
I had never seen him suprised.

Miss you John, glad to have spent time with you. You were a class act.


The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Nov 19, 2010 - 12:55am PT
Very sad news.

I always hoped John had just decided to disappear and was chillin' somewhere. The thought of him leaving violently because of an altercation associated with his profession was painful to imagine.
John first came to Squamish in the late seventies not long after I started climbing. He was known to most of us as "That Guy from Colorado" who floated stuff on lead that we were still struggling to top rope.
He became somewhat of a Squamish regular and as we got to know him, you could see why he was a successful card player. He was totally deadpan in the most frightening situations. He'd be out there on the lead looking totally solid and in the most calm manner imaginable, would say, "I'm pretty scared here and am going to fall off", and he would.
I think it was 97 that I had my best ever trip to the Valley and started that trip with John. We met in the Lodge parking lot at noon and were topping out on the Rostrum at 4:30. Over the next week we swung leads on Astroman, Blind Faith, Powerpoint and on a great adventure up Freestone. He was the offwidth master and was supposed to do the wide pitch up high but I ended up with it. "You'll have no problem Chief" he told me and with his encouragement I had one of the best leads ever. We lounged on top and took pictures of each other with the Geek writing behind us and what happy geeks we were. My condolences to John's family and to all who knew him.
He was a good friend and a great climber and I hope there's a fitting celebration of his life.


Trad climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:00am PT
John was a friend and climbing partner of mine in his Colorado days. We climbed and put up some good routes together.

Social climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:20am PT
hey there say, all.... this is very sad... i too, remember reading about this... and hoping and praying... :(

my condolences to his family and loved ones, at this hard time...

at least he was now found--more can found--if one thing is possible, another can be possible... too...

thus, may the good lord reveal more, in this, for his family's

thanks, russ, for sharing the rip here...
i had not seen the other "remains" post, but i did glance at it...

this was easier to see first, though...

State of Mine
Nov 19, 2010 - 02:47am PT
words cannot describe. i never knew him but i often wondered what had happened. i hope that these words reach his family, and i further hope the remaining mystery is solved. there is healing here and i hope that these great stories will continue and help to keep him in our hearts and souls.

may he rest in peace.....and may friends and family be comforted.

Nov 19, 2010 - 04:14am PT
John was an inspiration. He used to be driving around before six in the morning hunting for partners in Squamish and IC. He'd walk up to where you were sleeping on the ground, stand right over you and strike up a conversation, "What are you doing today?", until you rolled out of bed and got your gear. Such a great guy to hang with, I never missed that extra five hours of sleep.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 19, 2010 - 11:02am PT
I sent an email to Bob Dickerson, famed Gunnison crazy, to tell him about the finding of his remains, and he reminded me that he and John did the first winter ascent of the Ellingwood arete on Crestone Needle. Bob got a little frostbite on that one, I have a picture somewhere that Bob gave me from the top after the ascent. If I can find it, I'll scan and put it up.

I was across the canyon with binocs and a camera when John was on the first ascent of Journey Through Mirkwood on the Painted Wall. I was watching him lead a big roof and then he pulled off a giant loose piece of rock. You could hear John easily yelling "rock!" when he pulled off that huge boulder that split open John Pearson's nose as it grazed him on the way down to a very large explosion. That thing was mere inches from taking out JP for good.

The aforementioned Black climb, The Plunge, was climbed with another Gunnison legend Doug Scott (no, not the Ogre one), and that climb with him, holding John's "plunge", pretty much put Doug on the hardman list.

RIP John,
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Nov 19, 2010 - 11:07am PT
John was starting his college career at WSC in the mid-70's as I was finishing up. In one of his early climbs of that time we did a first winter ascent of the Ellingwood Arete on Crestone Needle. I recall frostbiting my fingers pretty severely part way up and having to hand the lead over to John because I couldn't feel a thing with my fingers. It wasn't real hard climbing, but it was real cold, and John was completely unflappable. That was the thing about John, immense courage and an incomparable mental toughness. John would do things that left the rest of us just slack-jawed, such as the time he did a lieback up the corner of the college library and surmounted the overhanging lip at the top about 60 ft off the ground. Nice going, John, but how are you going to get down? Well, he jumped, landing in a 6 ft drift of snow and just walked away.

In a sport that tends to attract characters of the first order, John was in a class by himself, and a class act he was, too.

Rest in Peace, John, and thanks for everything

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 19, 2010 - 11:15am PT
Thanks for completing the story "Nick" :-) Moss

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 19, 2010 - 12:00pm PT
I met John in Eldo with Newberry and someone else (who escapes me at the moment. Maybe Pulaski) in 1975. He was outgoing and gregarious and just started talking to me. The conversation quickly led to the realization that we all were attending WSC in Gunnison. John sensed in me a willing pawn that could be easily duped into his brand of raw go for it. We climbed late into the evening and headed back towards Golden in his beater Dodge Rambler. I was driving as he was partaking and imbibing. The man had prodigious capacities. In those days the speed limit signs on hiway "pray for me I drive 93" were considered by us to be more sensible suggestions than actual laws. So there we are speeding into Golden at 90+ mph, me driving, John telling wild stories in his wry humorous manner. Without warning I hit a car rattling pot hole that takes out the breaks. Screaming into town, white knuckled, clench jawed, stopping on empty air for brakes and just barely in control, I perform a panicked emergency stop procedure that primarily involves slamming the car into reverse stomping on the emergency brake and holding on for dear life. John is still talking, telling his animated tales with grandiose arm movements. Barreling towards a gas station I'm wondering if he even knows we are about to perish. When the dust settles the rumbling rambler has ground to a screeching halt mere inches from the gas pumps. We are miraculously unscathed. I am hyperventilating and sweating profusely. John is finishing his anecdotal story. He looks at me with just a trace of wide eyed recognition. "that was Desperate" he said then popped the top on another Fosters like nothing happened. "What do you want to climb tomorrow" he asked.

John was a powerful force and an unflappable eminently competent partner. I have so many memories.
Rest in Peace old friend. You are missed.

My deepest condolences to family and friends. I am gladdened that part of the mystery is over.

Good to see Nick Danger showing up at the cyber camp fire. Someone throw some more electrons on.

Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:02pm PT
Fellow former Gunnistoners and WSC rockheads - I fired messages to Doug Scott and Zip Thurston, in case they hadn't heard yet.

The whole closure thing is going on.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:09pm PT
John loved Eldo, he'd drive from Gunnison to Boulder on the weekends just to climb and then roll back into town on Monday morning for classes. He would talk about routes like Le Toit and Cest La Vie. One day we were looking at the cover of Climbing magagazine and there was a great picture of Michael Gilbert doing the Kloberdanz roof (Michael was the brother of our good friend, the late Scotty Gilbert). I asked John if he had done that roof, "yeah, I did it in my Adidas". In those days, John climbed many routes in those old blown out Adidas.

John once showed me a fuzzy black and white 8mm film, taken when he was in high school, of one of his first climbing adventures on The Maiden. I think he was about 16 yrs old and he takes a huge swinging ripper on the pitch. His partner, another young Denver high school punk named Dave Breashears. I wonder what ever happened to that movie?

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:21pm PT
Ydpl8s, you should add the above to, ya cross poster.

We should have a WSC Gunnistoner memorial gathering.
I will be heading to Red Rock this weekend I hope to pay my respects.

Trad climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:44pm PT
Wow a little shock but closure. John and I meet in Yosemite when I was 17 he was 19. He taught me how to Wall climb by dragging me up the first ascent Plunge in the Black Canyon. He took a 60 footer on a A4 pitch down there. I missed 2 days of school as the route took 4 days instead of the 2 he origionally thought. The crazy thing was he had spent most of the day on that pitch and drilled 1 belay bolt at a hanging belay stance, then he proceed to start drilling a second bolt but forgot to clip the 1st one. The manky sh#t he was standing on blew out and he proceeded to rip the pitch, the stopper that Dirk(TwistedCrank)mentioned earlier on here caught him but not after ripping about half the pitch. I lowered him down to the stance and we chilled out ate some food and burnt one. I was freaked my 1st wall and never had caught a fall that big before. We realed the rope back in and saw the sheath hard torn, tried to untie the knot was so loaded we had to cut it. Switched out with the haul line and he went charging back up and relead it in about 2 hrs. I jugged up in the dark and we slept in slings there. Made it off the next day. We were room mates in Gunnison while going to Western State and climbed together for many years. Last I saw him was in Thailand where I ran into him and we climbed together everyday for about 2 months. I have some old pics I'll try to scan and get on here. He was one bad ass rock jock!!!! Miss ya Johnny!

Philo we need to organize a memorial wake for him here in Boulder I'm diggin for slides now.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:51pm PT
Done, pretty hard for me to get away, send some good vibes up the canyon for me. I'm sure John would be having a good chuckle at all the fuss.

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:54pm PT
Thanx Moss.
Yes Doug we should.

Trad climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 02:09pm PT

Let me know when you get back from Vegas. got me wondering on the details on this.
JU Vegas

Las Vegas, NV
Nov 19, 2010 - 02:11pm PT
The three of us were sitting at different picnic tables beneath Lembert Dome in summer of 1977. Our smoky, soiled painter’s pants and pile were a screaming give-away that we were climbers, so Jorge and I hollered to the greasy hippy to come over for top ramen and beer. That’s how we met John Rosholt. Soon we were all roped up together on the pure white Tuolumne granite, where Rosholt pinched tiny crystals, dancing up the glacier polish with an eternal dimple-scrunched grin.

A few months later, he visited us in Vegas for a month. I remember that he loved to hang out in the morning over a pot of coffee and banana bread, seemingly gathering power for explosive action on the cracks as we got to the crags. Some of our first climbing on Velvet Wall was with him, where we explored the beginnings of what would later become Refried Brains. His clean, onsight lead of pitch three was a beauty to behold. All done with passive gear.

Some years passed with the three of us getting out of climbing, but we’d periodically bump into one another at Promarres Thai Restaurant. One time I barely recognized him, he’d gained so much weight. Despite his double chin and lizard cowboy boots, his dimpled grin still punctuated his story. “I make my living playing poker at tournaments the world over.” We stepped outside as he showed us his brand new 4-Runner. “Sometimes I play for 20 hours straight. You need control just like in climbing. Keep a blank face, don’t show the fear, and control the adrenaline.”

Next time I saw him was in the late ‘90s when he walked up to a crag where I was climbing in Red Rock. He was so buff that it looked like he’d had silicone implanted in his bulging forearms. It was an incredible hulk transformation! Even his fingers looked like little hot dogs. Although some hair was silver, I still recognized him by his dimples. After that, I saw him a couple more times, but our lives went in different directions. I knew of the legendary routes he’d been putting up on the Velvet Wall and I admired him from afar.

A few years later I heard that he’d disappeared. Speculations raged: Had he escaped to his own private island? Had he been murdered by some hit man? Years of silence. Then recently, his bones turned up at the base of the Velvet Wall, at the exact spot where he and Jorge and I had first set foot on it, truly the grandest of cathedrals. My heart wells up for a life fully-lived. Creative and intense. My friend.

Joanne Urioste

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 19, 2010 - 02:33pm PT
That was beautiful Joanne.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 19, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
Yep, fantastically well said.

Randy Carmichael

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Nov 19, 2010 - 04:43pm PT
In the late 70s, John was our climbing mentor. He was always working on a project that was at a whole level beyond our abilities. To John, there were no boundaries. He had the confidence to do anything, but was always humble about his accomplishments. My memories are of him heading up a pitch with a hand full of nuts and hexes, and watching him climb effortlessly. He was always a patient teacher. Even back in town and away from the crag, John was always looking for new lines on buildings. He even enjoyed aid routes on buildings and showed me a great roof pitch he set under the Jefferson County Stadium. I’m sure the pitons are still there waiting for a second ascent. He was definitely a buildering pioneer.

John told me two wild stories long ago. I am not sure of the complete accuracy, but these are the stories I remember as he told them to me. He gave me a firsthand account of a second ascent he made on the Leaning Tower. He was making the last few moves of the climb in darkness, and reached over the top to blindly set his last piece. When he weighted the piece, it popped and he sailed off backwards into space. He ended up spending the night in his harness dangling thirty feet out from his partner. On another adventure he told me about a fall high in the Black Canyon, a piece pulled and then his next two pieces pulled. He fell over 80 feet when the rope snagged on a flake. When he regrouped, he found that the core of the rope was cut and only seven threads of the mantle remained intact and had saved his fall. When I asked him how he got the courage to get back on the lead, he said he was confident the same thing wouldn’t happen twice.

Condolences to his friends and family. Peace, Randy

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 19, 2010 - 05:25pm PT
Randy, that route is the infamous Plunge.

Trad climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 06:04pm PT

Trad climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 07:40pm PT
Randy that other route he took a good whipper on was the Leaning Tower's Wet Denim Day Dream.

Trad climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 08:01pm PT
Condolences to all who knew John.

Social climber
Bouncy Tiggerville
Nov 19, 2010 - 08:12pm PT
Thanks everyone for the wonderful stories of John.

The number of people with first posts on this thread says volumes about John.

I climbed with him one day years ago during an extensive road-trip, and I remember him being a quiet man, strong on the rock.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Nov 19, 2010 - 08:21pm PT
The number of people with first posts on this thread says volumes about John.

I thought the same thing. Must've been a cool guy to climb with...

I'm sorry I never had a chance to meet him.

Social climber
Newport, OR
Nov 19, 2010 - 08:34pm PT
I knew John well from his visits to Josh and he was a great guy! I'll see you of the flip side bro:)

Nov 19, 2010 - 10:24pm PT
Condolences to his family and all who knew him

John was a great person who had a powerful influence on me although he probably never knew how much. He talked me into going back to college and introduced me to geology, an outdoor science that has taken me all over the world for work and always serves as a good excuse to get out and go look at the rocks. He was a super strong climber yet quiet and patient. I'll never forget the road trips in the orange Datsun pickup, sleeping in the back in Vegas while he went and played a few hands for gas money, Hilltop Liquor in Grand Junction (no beer in Moab back then), weekends at the North Rim campground, calmly waiting while I thrashed and flailed trying to follow him up the Diving Board in Eldorado, the miracle of finding the original summit register on the Castleton Tower.

Here are a few photos I dug up from the archives, hope they bring back fond memories.

RIP John


Nov 19, 2010 - 10:47pm PT
John or "The Gambler" as we called him has always been close friend of my dad's as well as a great friend to me for many years. I grew up around his company and kindness for many years starting when I was just a baby and I enjoyed every minute of being around him. He was always extremely nice to me when I was a child and I have fond memories of him keeping me entertained and talking to me for hours when I was a child. Overall he was a great man whose kindness and caring demeanor made him a great friend. He had such an impact on my family that we dedicated a route at the Sweet Pain wall in his honor named "The Gambler". He has been missed by me as well as my family for years and his great attitude and personality will continue to be missed for many more.
-Lisa Harrison
Allen Hill

Social climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 11:06pm PT
You guys were the best teachers ever. The picture of John, Doug, and friend (Carol?) sums the up the era so well. I'm much better a man for being sent out to buy beer with a fake ID to resupply one of the poker games in Gunnison. And then once, the day after a game, John showed up for the cluster f*#k mass assault on a climb which become latter that week one of the first 5.12's on the western slope.
He worked it hard that afternoon.

Years latter I was doing a film interview with a couple of well known British climbers on the South rim of the Black Canyon. These guys where 23 and 24 years at the time with a small amount of time spent in the US, and mostly in The Valley. Anyhow we (me and Ken Sauls), but mostly Ken, started tracing out routes on North Chasm Wall with his finger. The Plunge was mentioned as was John. And out of the blue one of these guy's says, "you mean the guy they call the Gambler?"

Rest in peace John


Tuscon Again! India! India! Hawaii! LA?!?!
Nov 19, 2010 - 11:14pm PT
Amazing and genuine stories. It's strange... I'm old enough, and have been climbing enough, that I should have met John. So many of my friends have but our paths never crossed.

It's such a strange strange world but there is closure for so many and for that I am glad.

rest in peace, John.

homemade salsa

Trad climber
west tetons
Nov 19, 2010 - 11:31pm PT
Thanks for the photos and the memories Zippy and Douglas. I only met John through you guys, but sure heard enough stories. His quiet manner and scary reputation made him hard for me to talk to as a newcomer to the scene in the early 80s, but watching him climb taught me a lot about how to be precise and thoughtful, no thrashing allowed.

Trad climber
Westminster, CA
Nov 19, 2010 - 11:45pm PT
Hey Russ, I remember reading about John Rosholt on your website. Odd how events transpire; Condolences to those left behind and nice to hear the family having some peace with this closure.

My best, Mike

Nov 20, 2010 - 11:21am PT
Met John in Velvet Canyon many years ago while climbing with some friends I grew up with here in Vegas. He seemed to always be working on a project and was always stoked to share his contagious love for climbing and life as well as the beta w/ some detailed topo's of some new gems. Had no idea until reading this celebration of his life thread that his roots ran so deep yet really not surprised because when you would watch him climb he was so fluid and focused on task at hand and from some stories he shared carried this talent to the poker table to support himself climbing abroad. Had always wondered what had happened to him after his disappearance and hoped he was living large on some crag ridden island with all his needs met. The day it was reported about the bones found in Velvet Canyon something told me perhaps it was John so called SAR and shared what info I had and directed them to ST for more details to hopefully help identify the remains and bring some closure to many though when I found out was him I was selfishly bummed he wasn't on some exotic island living the dream. Knowing he went doing what he loved does help yet know your missed my friend and thanks for the inspiration and good times and will catch ya on the rebound.

Blessings to family and friends and thanks for sharing some great stories and pics,

Looks like SAR said remains were found below Prince of Darkness...

LAS VEGAS -- Metro officers scaled hundreds of feet down a canyon wall Friday to retrieve more of the skeletal remains found near Red Rock Conservation Area.

Metro police officers Adrian Crandall and James Rogan had just inches to spare as they navigated a sheer cliff face known by local mountain hikers as "Prince of Darkness."

"There's not much room for error up there. It's 6, 7, 800 feet up," said Officer Crandall who added that he doesn't get nervous. "We do this all the time. I've been doing this for 11 years. Just another day at the office."

Human remains were found by a hiker on the Black Velvet Canyon trail Thursday afternoon. It took until Friday morning for Metro Search and Rescue to recover the remains safely. The officers needed to rappel off the side of the cliff another 100 feet from the spot where the helicopter dropped them off.

Hikers tell 8 News NOW that the steep terrain can be difficult.

"Everybody out here hikes usually on the mountain bike trails and the horse trails. If you get off the trails without a compass and knowing where you're going, you'd be in trouble," said Don Beach who often hikes the area.

Police found parts of a spine, skull, ribs, and a variety of other bones along with some cloth. "What appears to be the clothes the person was wearing. The bones ended up being in the shirt and pants on their own," said Officer Crandall.

Metro believes the remains belong to a hiker and given the location do not believe it is a homicide. It's too early to know the age or gender of the person.

"There's family, there's people wondering what exactly happened," said Sgt. Gavin Vesp, Metro.

"You always feel good when you can help somebody out or close a chapter in a book. There's definitely some family members out there," said Officer Crandall, Metro.

Metro says 2010 is no more or less busy for them than previous years. They've done around 150 hiker rescues and recoveries this year.

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 20, 2010 - 01:23pm PT
John was a very cool man indeed . . . at the ripe old age of 16 or 17, 1978 or '79, I was blessed with an opportunity to climb with him at the Cookie. I flailed on the Waverly Wafer yet he was totally positive and supportive toward my efforts. He took over the lead, brought me up to the belay and then proceeded to fire Butterballs while I belayed, watching in amazement as he floated the route. My high school climbing buddies and I were totally psyched to listen to his climbing tales and spend the afternoon with him. We will always remember the motto "blotter is my spotter"! Thanks Mr. Rosholt for being the real deal.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 20, 2010 - 01:37pm PT
Peter, great pics of John! This is causing a lot of old friends to reconnect, which I'm sure John would approve of.

I was with Bob Dickerson a couple of weeks ago and your name came up. It seems like we have a lot of friends in common, have we met, am I just having oldtimer's disease?

Scott Mossman

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 20, 2010 - 01:57pm PT
Moss, earlier you mentioned John's bout and hospitalization with tick fever and his rambunctious misbehavior in the hospital. I had to laugh. He and I both contracted tick fever doing a first ascent in Taylor Canyon. The cyclic nature of tick fever is like malaria. If you had seen him an hour later he would have probably looked horrible. He was the lucky one, I had a simultaneous case of giardia. While John was cavorting in the hospital I was holed up at my girlfriend Christine (yeah the one of the dream) at her parents ranch in Hartsel. After a day of me redecorating their bathroom and hall way and stairs and "clean up on isle 3", they politely invited me to make my self at home in the old farm house out back. The one with the outhouse. After recovery John and I joked that with tick fever for a week you fear you are going to die and then for another week your fear you will live. Nasty stuff that. Anyway that climb became known as Tick Fever.

Las Vegas,Nevada
Nov 20, 2010 - 03:22pm PT
John rented a room from me for a while and was such a pleasant person to share the property with. He was so easy going and I miss our talks about first ascents, the Zone diet, and high-mileage Toyotas.I was always so impressed with how he reinvented himself into a 5.13 Sport climber in his later 40's, with the same ambition that he had for putting up new routes in Velvet.He was kind and generous, and in fact as I type this out, my laptop is sitting right atop a large desk he had given me. He will be truly missed.

Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Nov 20, 2010 - 11:23pm PT

I just had dinner w/ pthurston (Zippy - of the photos upthread) on my way though SLC. We reminisced quite a bit about the Gunny connections. We are both pretty impressed by how many have come out of the woodwork at the news of John's finality. John was one of those people who seemed to connect many otherwise unconnected individuals.

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 21, 2010 - 08:41am PT
Hit me bump.

Here is a nice right up about John and his disappearance by Pete Takeda for Rock and Ice.


The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:57am PT
Thanks for all the photos and remembrances of John, I know there's more coming. Peder aka. "The Bear" sent me some great ones going all the way back to the seventies and he promised to post them. I'll see if I can scan the ones of John and I being happy geeks at the top of Geek Towers.
Best to all, RIP John.

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Nov 21, 2010 - 01:49pm PT
didn't know Rosholt , but have to admire his accomplishments and life style of living on the edge...if his remains were found at the base of a crag , wouldn't this mean he fell while soloing?
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 21, 2010 - 02:38pm PT
rj, that seems a plausible hypothesis. It sounds like the police and coroner are doing what they can to investigate and reconstruct the scene, given the lapse of five years. For example, the bones may have been washed some distance downstream in the canyon in flash floods, from wherever the body first was. And there may always be some loose ends, e.g. how John got from town to Black Velvet. There seems no need at this point to speculate, and hopefully more information will clarify what happened, although it may take a while.
peder ourom

Trad climber
vancouver canada
Nov 21, 2010 - 08:02pm PT

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 21, 2010 - 08:11pm PT

You can Edit your post so that all the photos show up - the Upload feature causes this problem a lot - you need to move the cursor over to the right each time you upload.

Edit your post so that the text looks like:

etc., where xxxxx1 = 179006
And then all the photos will show up.

If you have stories in your rosholt.Doc file, Copy/Paste them from the Doc file to your post:
Ctrl-A to select all text from your file, Ctrl-C to copy, then click on the edit box of your post and Ctrl-V to paste in the text.
(Actually this assumes you have a PC, but the filename looks like it's a Mac? I think it's Control- instead of Ctrl- on a Mac?)

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Nov 21, 2010 - 08:44pm PT
Been off the grid so I feel late with my condolences. While I'm happy for the closure that the family now has, it's still a sad ending.
peder ourom

Trad climber
vancouver canada
Nov 21, 2010 - 08:58pm PT
Sometime in the now somewhat blurry mid seventies I first met John. Their were 2 climbing centers of the world in NA at this time, Eldorado in Colorado, and the Valley. ( sorry Henry! ) Being a Squamish climber, the magnet was the big walls, as it had been when for the previous generation of Canadian Valley climbers. For John, the pull was the free climbing. Sure he was talked into the occasional big wall, ( I climbed the movable feast with him the year after the Plunge, it crosses underneath, just for him to show me where his wall ripper happened! ), but John was a free climber from the free climbing center of America. Valley climbing was swollen hands and full grunting, just keep trucking . In Colorado the style was finesse and patience, working out the moves off tricky gear..trying to keep it together. Colorado climbers had style. They could face climb scary places like Perilous Journey. And only real climbers want anywhere near the Black.

And he was the real deal. I was one of the lucky ones to play with John on Kloberdance. He flowed it in runners. with a swami belt for a harness. Without chalk. ( to be fair Barber, Breashears, and a barefooted Guerin probably also could and did )

John just wanted to free climb and do first free ascents. He had this little book where he wrote down details on all his climbs. John was the gear master. He could tell you the exact placement details for a route he had climbed years ago. Every single one. In perfect order. And he searched guidebooks for the magical letters: 1 PA or maybe A0. Early on before cams 5.10 and 5.11 gear climbing was the real sh#t. And these climbs still are. Even with cams.

You always gave John the offwidth and chimney leads. We all wore the goofy thick kneepads wall climbing, but John had a really thin pair that he always wore on long free routes. They were his widecrack secret. His calm way of suffering in a wide was legendary. Once I belayed him on a nasty one in the Black. 5-6”. Steep!! Hexes and stoppers. A pegmatite band of sh#t midway. A dangerous and ugly lead. Grunting up and slipping down repeatedly. After 30 minutes - Peder to John: how’s it going? John: okay. And he was. Sure glad it was not my f*#king lead.

I spent a season in Colorado in 1977, at times staying at his dad’s place in Lakewood. His dad was a famous geologist, one of the first to touch the moon rocks. John also started out on this path. However, after doing some geology field work, he decided to move on. And become a gambler. At least until his $500 was gone!

And maybe it never was( to tell the truth, with his well trained poker face on, john could tell you anything and you really had no choice but to believe him! ), so you never really did know the truth.

We climbed all over Colorado that season, eldorado, boulder canyon, the black, Lumpy ridge. Serious climbing. Multipitch trad routes on hexes and stoppers. Pulling buckets unroped on the bulge. Stiff green Chouinard shoes that edged like a dream. Outer Space on the Bastille was choice. Praying not to be abandoned on some long scruffy solo climb above Denver that john had dialed years earlier. No chalk to follow, no john. But he saved the last doobie for the summit so it was okay.

We also stayed in Gunnison, craching in an upstairs apartment. I think maybe Jimmy Newberry’s? Or Doug Scott’s ( the real doug scott, not the british one that stole woznys stash ). Peter or Gary probably remember. Downstairs, a deli. Every night in the wee small hours we descended like mice. And we made subs. Huge subs. Deluxe subs. Heavenly subs. 4 a night max. Trying hard to not slice off our fingers in the dark. And then cleaned up immaculately. Nice clean dirtbags we were. I am not making this up, honest! The peyote was creating some things at the time that maybe never happened, but this did!

John didn’t really like that mountain and ice Canadian suffering kind of thing, but we did make it to the Bugaboos once. we camped at the Bugaboo Snowpatch col, with the big packrat, about the time American alpine wannabes were beginning to show up and fall into the schrund at alarming rates. And it sucked. Battling mosquitoes hiking huge loads up the col. F*#king snow and rain and wind and snow. Again. Never go to the Bugaboos with Peder. Looking right at the amazing sunshine offwidths through the storm. Avalanching.

And he was cheap cheap cheap. Once in Vegas after a days climbing with Hamish we went to Johns to make dinner. He said he had enough food for the 3 of us. And he did. A can of beans.
Instead we went to a buffet at a casino. Surrounded by 300lb Zeppelins, we went right to the head of the line, for free. You see, when a card game was about to lose a “loser”, and needed another player, they would call John to come and join the game to keep it going, playing for the house. With his battery powered fan blowing the cigar smoke back in the face of the high rollers. We did have to find clean gambler kind of clothes to make this scam work.

John lived the dream he wanted. Not to be tied down. Climb when you want. Gamble when you want. Stay where you want. Not for John was the “regular” life of jobs, wives, kids, mortgages, and taxes. John only ever wanted to own 1 key ( for his Toyota ), he felt more comfortable when his house was able to move. Eventually with his sisters help he did have a real place of his own, and went to 2 keys. This would not have been easy for him to adjust to. How many keys do you own?

Around the time John disappeared I had been trying to contact him to try and fit in a Valley trip that spring. He never answered. I miss him a lot.

Love you bro,


1 john kept that shredded piece of Plunge rope for years. I think it is probably at his house with my dolt cobra hook that he never returned. Jane if you are reading this, Please, I want it back! ( just kidding )

2 the posted story about john going to the local casino to raise money is mostly true. Some details have been changed but I like this version even better.!

3 The pack rat at Bugaboo col had a name, I just can’t remember it


Nov 21, 2010 - 09:54pm PT
Thanks Peder.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 22, 2010 - 10:35am PT
Peder, what a great narrative and pics, that's the John that I knew! I love the pic in Taylor Canyon where all you can see of John is his 2 arms sticking out from behind Peter giving the "double bird" salute. Was that upstairs apartment in the Columbine? I did a stint in there, used to keep my beers out on the fire escape to keep them cold (no fridge).

Trad climber
Nov 22, 2010 - 06:21pm PT
Sometime back in the mid 80’s we had an especially long and drawn out winter.
We hardly climbed other than occasional bouldering sessions at Morison.
My primary climbing partner in those days was Maurice Reed.
We were planning a road trip to somewhere with better weather.
After hearing about our plans our friend Pierrette wanted to go.She was a great cook and had some cash to help with expenses.
This put us with a party of three so we set out to find a forth.
After exhausting all of our usual possibilities Maurice said,” How about Johnny Rotten? He‘s always up for something”.

We go over to where John was living at the time.
His truck was parked in the street out in front of the house.
We left a note on the door. GOING CLIMBING NEED A FOURTH, J-TREE/RR.
There had been a lot of snow that year and the shady side of John’s truck still had a drift against it. There were no tire tracks. It obviously hadn’t been moved in a very long time. In passing we peeked in the passenger window. Maurice said,” Man check this out!” I looked inside and laughed when I noticed that out of the debris and dirt on the flour there were a number of healthy 6 to 8 inch plants growing directly out of the carpet.

John found the note and he was totally up for a climbing trip. His only request was that when we were in Vegas he would like to sit in on a poker game or two just to offset his expenses. Maurice, Pierrette or myself knew nothing about John’s poker interests so we said, “sure no problem”.

With our team assembled we maintained the van and packed the camping and climbing gear for a great early spring climbing road trip.
Our first stop was going to be Indian Creek near Moab but it was so cold that we decided to keep going to Las Vegas.

We pulled on to the strip and John asked if we could stop at a casino just to look around a bit.
The next thing we knew he was absorbed a game and we couldn’t get his attention. When we finally got him to acknowledge us it was way late and he said that he was on a streak and if we would bear with him he was sure that he would make enough to pay for all the expenses for the trip.
Well,we wound up sleeping on the parking lot of the casino that night.
At daylight there was a knock on the door of the van and it was John ready to go climb.

This scenario went on for the whole trip. Several times we dropped John off at the casino in the evening and picked him up in the morning. There was no such thing as just a few hands with John on that trip.

We did quite a few notable first assents on that trip. In fact everything we climbed was ether a new route or we had no knowledge of it being climbed.
Back in those days there was no guide book to Red Rocks.
Also in those days Red Rocks was not a park. It was rugged, drive anywhere, unimproved trails out in the desert.

I woke at dawn one morning to the sound of automatic weapon fire right next to our camp.
There was a Cadillac convertible with the top down parked no more than 50 yards away from our van. Standing next to the Caddie was a guy the size of a box car dressed in a business suit with a machine gun in his hand and he was just mooowin the desert down with blasts of gun fire.
We hunkered down in our sleeping bags and prayed that he would go away.
Maurice and Pierrette were having mild desert romance so John and I usually teamed up for climbing after he had played cards all night.
He never minded taking his leads but was more than happy to second when I wanted the sharp end. Back in those days I was somewhat of a lead hog any way.

One particular climb that still stands out that John and I did on that trip was in Oak Creek Canyon.
The details of the first pitches are a blur but the final pitch will stay in my quiver of unique climbing memories.
This pitch was Johns lead.
The climbing up to this point had been on those solid dark purple, almost black, mushroom holds that are unique to Red Rocks.
The pitch before was mine and the shrooms had been getting exponentially lighter in color and protection scarcer by the meter. In fact I had a hard time finding enough pieces to construct a sound belay when I finished the lead.
At this point I expressed to John,” I think we should bail and leave all this stuff in as anchors!”
John wasn’t having any of that and started setting up the rack for the next pitch!
He set out climbing on brown shrooms and getting very little gear in. The further he climbed the gear got scarcer and the shroom holds got lighter in color.
I didn’t mention that we had NO bolt kit.
Silently John calculated the hold sequences and face climbed with smooth deliberate progress.
He never backed down or even looked down.
That’s when it started to rain!
Not water, but, white sandstone mushrooms!
Every time he unweighted a hold to move to the next one it fell away!
I was terrified by the fact that he hadn’t placed a single protection placement for a very long time.
The dynamics of a leader fall from that far out would have ripped my belay anchors right out of the rock.
Every hold that he unweighted dislodged and to make matters worse he was nearly out of rope.
It seemed the he was way past half rope since he placed a piece.
At one point the thought of untying from the rope crossed my mind.
I held on in stupefied silence for what seemed like a long time to me. Finally I heard him say that he was off belay.
I didn’t even ask what the belay anchor was like. I just pulled the gear and started climbing.
The same thing happened as I climbed but a lot sooner. Each hold that I used popped from the face as I unweighted it all the way to the belay ledge!
He had found some cracks for a belay so I was protected while seconding that pitch. We found good rappel anchors for the decent.

Around the fire that night I asked if John if he minded calling the route, “Toxic Shroom Syndrome”.


Trad climber
Okanogan, WA
Nov 22, 2010 - 06:48pm PT
My old friend o-man has inspired me to add a Gambler story.

In the late nineties I was doing alright on the ever increasing stock market. I had got to know John as an Arizonan and he was very curious about trading. It was around the time that the stock high tech bubble burst and John was putting up routes at the Homestead.

He queried me for what I knew, set it aside and then got into the bear market as a short trader. From all accounts (his own and others) he excelled at it. I think it fascinated him the same as gambling. He loved to tread in a down market.

That sort of trading is not dissimilar from your disintegrating hold story Olaf.

RIP John and condolences to family and friends.


Social climber
So Cal
Nov 22, 2010 - 07:06pm PT
Some time in the 90's a climber hitched a ride with us from the LA area to Vegas/ RR. A friend of mine at the time was day trading for a living and had gotten me into reading a couple of books on technical analysis. We had a long really insightful conversation on the subject during the long drive. This guy also spoke of making a living at gambling for a while. We were a fairly large group and he may have climbed with some of our bunch, but I think Ed and I had our own agenda and we split off from the rest of the group. I don't remember climbing anything with him.

Can't remember for sure, but in some of the photos he looks vaguely familiar, and there can't be to many climber/pro gamblers out there.

Ever since the first disappearance posts I've wondered if our passenger was John.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 24, 2010 - 01:00pm PT
I was told that there was a profile on John, that I've never seen, in a back issue of Climbing. I looked it up and it looks like it is in issue #174 from March of 98. Does anyone have this in their stash? I'd love to read it.

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 24, 2010 - 01:04pm PT
Me too.

Anyone have it?

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 24, 2010 - 01:18pm PT
Peder posted

john kept that shredded piece of Plunge rope for years.

If that is true it should be found and sent to Neptunes or some such archive of climbing history.

Boulder, CO
Nov 24, 2010 - 02:47pm PT
Philo, here's the article:


Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Nov 24, 2010 - 03:16pm PT
Thanks Eric, Philo actually gives a link to that article upthread. The one we are talking about is from Climbing in 1998. It was a profile on The Gambler when he was still around.

Trad climber
Nov 24, 2010 - 03:35pm PT
I just started to scan some photos of Johhny. I'll post more of climbing in Thailand later. We were living the dream climbing here. I'll put the old Gunnison ones on my first post.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 24, 2010 - 07:28pm PT
As requested:

Thorp, WA
Nov 25, 2010 - 03:20am PT
I have enjoyed reading all the, thanks everyone!

When I think of a memory for John it would have to be him rescuing me from Aspen in '79. I had tried to make a go of living in Aspen that summer and it wasn't working. I was stuck and down on my luck. How it all lined up I cannot say... but, he picked me up (could it have been that infamous orange truck?) and brought me back to the great Northwest. Thank you John! With a quick stop at my folks place in Tacoma, (you know the place Peder) we were off to Squamish where we did lots of stuff I can't remember. I'm sure we did some climbing too.

My condolences to all John's family and friends.

Doug Klewin

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 25, 2010 - 09:32am PT
I never met John but I feel I know him now from this thread. In a sport with so many characters, he really seems to have stood out as one of the most colorful. Whenever the phrase "living the life" pops up, it will be his that I think of as the best illustration.

I hope that his family can take consolation from the positive impact that he had on so many others.
Allen Hill

Social climber
Nov 27, 2010 - 04:21am PT
Doug, post the photos!

Bishop, CA
Nov 27, 2010 - 12:35pm PT
I met John in the fall of '91. He was playing in the World Series of Poker and I was doing Desert Tortoise biology and climbing at Red Rocks. We were both crashing at Waterman Bob's house. He would leave in evening to play and sometimes not get back til the following day. I asked him enough questions about playing poker that he wrote out a list of what beats what and said he'd give me $40 to play in one of the seven card stud side games. He made it pretty clear that all I had to do was be real patient and bet conservatively until I knew I had solid cards. I followed his advice was up a little, and over time, up a little more for several hours. His strategy was working. At some point I got a little bored, and it not being my money, I started to bet a little more liberally. I crashed out going for the big hand in a half and hour or so. I went and watched John in a Texas Hold 'em game at one of the main tables. It was pretty interesting to see him with big stacks of chips playing high stakes poker. A few days later he asked if I could return the favor by driving him to the casino so he could pick his bank. I guess he'd bought in at the start of tournament and had all his money in chips and it was time to cash back out. When we got near the casino he told me to drop him off in front and to drive around the block as slow as I could and that he'd get back in my truck as I came around again. As I pulled into the front drive of the casino, like clockwork, John pushed through the front door wearing sunglasses with bulges throughout the front of his leather jacket walked with determination to my truck. He told me to keep it rolling and got in. He had more cash in his jacket than I could comprehend at the time. That couple of weeks was a view into a world I was completely ignorant of. John was really fun to have conversations with and really generous with sharing his knowledge of poker.

We didn't get to climb together during that time. The only climbing story I have isn't really a climbing story. We got a little sandbagged bagged by our friend George Smith. George told us there was an excellent five or six pitch 5.6 we could solo. He told us there was no way we'd need a rope based off the ropeless climbing we had on our resumes. We stopped by Desert Rock to get chalk or something and ran into Peter Mayfield and another guy. This is digging deep so the details might not be exact. Anyway, four us jogged out Oak Creek I think it was, and without a topo all concluded we were looking at the route. The four us all decided we didn't want to onsight solo the exposed looking arete with only enough beta to identify the first pitch of the route. We walked back to the car somewhat dejected but reassuring ourselves that it would be better to at least climb the route with a rope before bringing it into the solo circuit. All and all it was really fun hanging out with John that fall.

I saw John again at the Needles in 2004. It was brief, and again, we did not get to climb together. I wish I had had the opportunity to share some pitches with him. I feel for all his family and friends. I admire that he lived life without the security of the 9-5 grind. This isn't the way I had hoped the story would be be resolved.
edit: I had originally said Needles 2006 but got a note from a ST member that he disappeared in 2005 and was last in the Needles in 2004. I apologize for the huge mistake.

Nov 27, 2010 - 01:14pm PT
John Rosholt the true American classic.
Betty Uno

Boulder climber
Lafayette, Colorado
Nov 30, 2010 - 11:40am PT
I am so glad there is closure for his sisters and family. That is undoubtably where he'd wish to be. What a legend. Goodbye John Rosholt.


Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Nov 30, 2010 - 11:50am PT
I saw John again at the Needles in 2004...

Interesting you mention this. I think this was the same time, the only time, I met John Rosholt. Dr. Yoho was there too?

John was a larger than life figure. Amazing.
Allen Hill

Social climber
Dec 3, 2010 - 08:39pm PT
Betty Uno

Social climber
Colorado native
Dec 4, 2010 - 03:11pm PT

Oh look, there's that green belt again.

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Dec 4, 2010 - 07:23pm PT
Thanks Coz, that was a great tribute to an old friend. RIP
the albatross

Gym climber
Dec 5, 2010 - 11:04pm PT
I never got to meet John Rosholt yet appreciate his vision and accomplishments. It sounds like he was fully alive. A modern day cowboy whose disappearance has haunted many for years.

I'm not sure if it matters in the end, but it's clear from this video clip that his few remains were found high on the wall not on Prince of Darkness, but on what may be near (or below) The Velvet Wall Original Route, a seldom done line which starts off the Black Tower above the Epinephrine Chimneys.

John "The Gambler" Rosholt, Thank you for the inspiration. Rest in Peace.

Albert Newman

Big Wall climber
las vegas
Dec 6, 2010 - 05:33pm PT
Out of respect to John I am posting my 2 cents.
First, this has been a great mystery and I am thankful we at least know where John ended up. As most know, John had a special place in his heart for Black Velvet Canyon and there is no better place for a climber to lay to rest. Most of us are very Earth oriented people and it is much better to return to the Earth. Save the box!

I still have many questions as to how he got where he was, what were the circumstances, etc. but we may never get to know. I participated with John's sister Jane years ago trying to help locate John and can only say that Jane is a great sister! If I go missing, call Jane!

I first met John at the Oak Creek Campground in Red Rocks back when Red Rocks was "climber friendly". Not so much anymore! There was a camaraderie amongst climbers then that seems more rare today and I was fortunate to have met John during these times. Everyone seemed to know everyone. John happened to be playing in a Poker tournament at Binion's and happened to have free buffet tickets and offered to take the gang to dinner! There must have been 6 of us or so. I hadn't eaten so good in months! We all actually ended up getting our picture taken as a group at Binion's in front of a case of 1,000,000 dollars which was a classic! I wish I still had mine. If anyone here was with us (you know who you are)and still has your, I'd love a copy.

Finally, John has left us with many fine climbs and memories. Thanks to all who have shared here as I have enjoyed reading! Thank You John and see you on the other side.
Allen Hill

Social climber
Dec 17, 2010 - 03:38am PT
bump bump bump
Randy Atkinson

Trad climber
North Vancouver
Dec 19, 2010 - 12:36am PT
Hi all, thanks Peder for capturing the essence of the John Rosholt I knew. I only climbed with John in the late 70's, Yosemite and Squamish. He was a mentor for climbing that I truly appreciated, he did know how to place gear, he had his funky slider stopper things, and everything was always solid.

I am the guy who sandbagged John on Clean Crack. Clint Cummins posted an article that shares John's accomplishments and the Clean Crack story. As Peder noted, John scanned guides for points of aid, A0, he loved the FFA, FA. And this was without chaulk, unlike myself who lathered rather heavily.

Met John in the Valley, with him taking me up, sort of swinging leads, 1st pitch only, Bev' Tower, of the Nabisco Wall. We did Wheat Thins, Butterfingers to top out. We did other routes in the valley that season, but that was a real kicker at that time. And truth is, I climbed Butterballs with Jim Collins, Leanord Coyne, and John, he hit it first time, Jim and Leanord did not.

When John showed up in Squamish it was still the early days of free climbing and he was a man that could gobble up that aid. I knew that Anders had cleaned the crap out of Clean Crack, good job, but was pretty sure he didn't have a chance in heck in getting up the thing. We had sort of climbed all of the cracks around at that time, and it came down to wandering down to the Malemute and givener. It was a classic yoyo fest, pull the rope cause were focusing on style to the stump, with John topping out. We loved it. And we did not get sh#t that day from the cleaner of the route, the venerable Mighty Hiker, Anders. Unless you correct me here Anders.

John climbed with many of us Squamish climbers, and did make a rather major impact with big contributions. I am truly sorry for everyone's loss especially those who knew him far better than I. Doug Scott and all, I hope the wake or whatever you all did was in the fine style that John always exemplified.

Take care all,

Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 19, 2010 - 01:11am PT
No, I wasn't at all concerned that you and John had done the FFA of the 'new' Clean Crack. I'd spent five or six days digging and working on it over the preceding eight months, had tried it once or twice, and was pretty sure I wan't going to be able to do the thin part below the stump. I was about as fit and strong then as I've ever been, and never have cleanly led it, although have done it a few times with a friendly top rope. You and I were climbing together a fair bit then, and it was nice that someone I knew had gotten it, even if an American rope gun was involved.

The same thing happened with Crime of the Century, although it took much less effort to dig out. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to do it, and didn't mind that someone else did. Contributing to the community, perhaps - IMHO it's fine to leave a climb for someone better, or to come back another day, and we all should at times do things which may benefit others more than ourselves.

Social climber
Dec 24, 2010 - 04:08am PT
Rest in peace, John. Lots more routes await us all.
sister jane

Littleton, CO
Dec 28, 2010 - 07:14am PT

I wanted to send you a message that John Rosholt has been found.
These are my personal thoughts of his disappearance. (It is obvious I am not a climber!!)

It was a dramatic weekend as I received a call from the Clark County Coroner’s office on November 13, 2010 that some human remains had been found and they called to ask me some questions about John. A rock climbing site, supertopo, also contacted me telling me police were trying to contact John’s sister, Jane.

I was very hopeful upon the receiving the call from the Clark County Coroner that perhaps the bones recovered could be John’s, then after several calls to the coroner, found that area climbers had called the LVMPD with a tip that perhaps the bones were John, the 5 year missing climber. I had followed the postings on supertopo forwarded by a climber friend, Russ Walling, as well as the stories featured on the Las Vegas news channels and to my dismay heard that these bones were non-human, so my hopes had dashed. I spoke with my Las Vegas Missing Persons Detective, Det. Juarez on Sunday night, Nov. 14, and he said there was a partial jawbone with 3 teeth recovered and he would be bringing John’s dental records to the coroner. I heard nothing for 2 days but kept watching the climbing sites and followed along. It is so interesting to read the random stories they wrote in about John. I will forward these and many links to you.

I received a call from the coroner late Wednesday evening, November 17, 2010: the remains ARE John Rosholt, the dental records were a conclusive match. WOW. I am still in shock. His name was released to the media on Thursday 11/18/10. I asked again about the exact location of the remains and he said “on a rock ledge on Prince of Darkness” in Black Velvet Canyon, Red Rock Conservation Area. He explained that the confusion regarding the human and non-human remains is that there were 2 search and rescue recoveries within 8 hours in the area, one on the rock ledge and the other in the valley (those in the valley were non-human). I went from 80% hopeful with the first call from the Coroner, to 50% after police dispatch told me I was contacted because climbers had called in the tip to contact me rather than hard evidence, (climbers internet inquiry… “anyone have contact information for John’s sister Jane” so my phone number was given to police by climbers), then my hopes went down to 20% when bones were not human. When I called our sister, Jill, who lives in the Canary Islands, at midnight to tell her John had been found, she asked why I held onto a 20% chance of John when the remains were not human and I responded that I was holding tight onto any thread of hope.

John had called me on 12/27/04 to tell me that he was going on a New Years Trip to Las Vegas for 1 to 2 weeks to play some Poker and hike around. He left on 12/29/04 and the last time he was positively seen alive was an ATM photo on 1/19/05. He planned on a short trip, his Christmas present from Jill had not year arrived from the Canary Islands, so he e-mailed her the night before he left, that he would have another Christmas when he got home in January but he never returned back to Scottsdale.

I knew John had planned on doing some hiking during his Las Vegas New Years trip, as he had a sore shoulder. When I first heard from the coroner that bones were found in Black Velvet Canyon, then at Prince of Darkness, I had a feeling this was John, and googled Prince of Darkness/John Rosholt and the first thing that popped up was Texas Hold ‘Em, John Rosholt FA, meaning that John had the first ascent, established the route and named the climb. My thoughts were that these were his very familiar climbing rocks, he named the adjacent rock route and was one of the first to climb there back when area was established in the 1970’s– this could really be John! His friend told me in 2005 that if John were in Red Rock area, he would be in Black Velvet. The police did a helicopter search in May of 2005, but they focused on the main Red Rock area, not so much in the more remote Black Velvet Canyon. At least this is an appropriate ending to his story and he ended on His rocks and in an area he loved. His best friend said, “John was the ultimate gambler with his constant ‘calculated risk’. There is that ultimate adrenaline addiction whether it is poker or rock climbing.”

Your terminology was perfect Pete, as I believe he was scouting around, as he did when he was recovering from an injury, exploring for new routes or route improvements. Darin said he was searching for a better route for Texas Hold ‘Em, as many were slipping or falling at the top. Darin said this was a climb that he felt was a project he must complete. That is why when the coroner told me a body was found on a cliff on “Prince of Darkness” near “Texas Hold ‘Em” I knew somehow this body had to be John.

When I called Darin hours after hearing the news, he said after a long silence, “This is a good closing, a good ending. This was His Climb, His project on His own Rock… bottom line. He was a gambler. He was Las Vegas. When everyone said it was too dangerous to climb Red Rock area as most were used to granite of Yosemite or Eldorado, John helped develop Red Rock”. He said John’s scrambling in street shoes is like technical climbing to many, he was probably just “extreme hiking”. We believe this is what he was doing too, especially since he was wearing jeans and mending an injury. We thought he would be scouting on foot and exploring the area, as he told me he was going to be hiking around. We agree with Pet Takeda and Darin. Darin also said when he and John would get really good at climbing for the season, they would go to Black Velvet to climb Texas Hold ‘Em 5.11c after climbing Prince of Darkness 5.10c to warm up and it’s about a 10 minute hike between the 2 routes. He said John was determined to find a safer route to the top, searching to find a route improvement, apparently John felt this was a climb that must be completed. “That stubborn streak and methodical thoroughness would have placed him there to complete his project”. With John’s 200-300 first ascents (I asked him how many first ascents he had and he said “I don’t know, a lot” and I asked again, really how many? and he reluctantly said “I don’t know 2 or 300 First Ascents” (I thought I had seen a listing of the FA’s on his profile of or somewhere, if anyone has one, I would love to have a copy). Texas Hold ‘Em is a climb that John was quite proud of and perhaps wanted this to be his signature climb. John’s house had nothing out of place when I arrived in May 2005 except for my Christmas letter with photo of the girls on the kitchen table and then two pieces of paper on his dresser of “Texas Hold Em 5.11b”, written on top, plotting three different top approach routes for the climb that he was apparently working on. Looking back, it is not surprising he was climbing there, perhaps this was a clue for me in case he did not return. I did not even know that Texas Hold ‘Em was located in Red Rock, and if it was a message or clue, I did not intercept it and I did not pick up on it, even if this was intended for me to know.

The Las Vegas Metro Police Department Search and Rescue use a book, the Red Rock Climbing Guide by Todd Swain, for their search and rescues and said there is a very good full-page photo of these Wall climbs and routes on page 360. I went downstairs to look through John’s books and found his copy but he had the older 186 page First Edition guide printed in 1993, before many of these new climbs were even discovered, so I must check for a newer edition. I had not opened any of the boxes I had packed at this home the week of May 20, 2005, as it was just too sad, but at the request of Anita Roman, a Las Vegas news reporter, who was doing the story about the remains found and recovery, was hoping to add a few climbing photos. I went down to look through his climbing books and photographs, and this time did so with admiration rather than sadness. In his old Red Rock guidebook, he yellow highlighted his climbs he had done and wrote “SOLO” over many of the climbs where he had done solo climbs; a most notable Solo climb was Epinephrine 5.9, that was next to Texas Hold ‘Em. I was thinking, how did he live this long looking at some of his photographs? I guess I will have to go buy the new book so I can see and appreciate the majesty of this Black Velvet Rock Wall that he thoroughly enjoyed. I looked up “mountainproject – black velvet canyon” and found the most beautiful photographs of the area posted there.

John’s remains were found by 2 German climbers that had taken a higher than usual route that was not often used by climbers as they estimate about a dozen per week climb Prince of Darkness and still he had not been found for at least 5 1/2 years. There was no backpack and no climbing gear. He was climbing in jeans and these somewhat protected the few remaining bones. John had climbed this rock face many times and the question from everyone has been, where is the climbing equipment, but there was none. The Las Vegas Metro Police Department have determined that he was climbing solo, meaning he was not using ropes and he was climbing alone. It was first thought by S&R that this was not possible as the route was too difficult without gear, but they did some research on John Rosholt’s climbing history and Det. Juarez had sent them a copy of the article “Vanished – Without A Trace” by Pete Takeda from Rock and Ice 2005. Search and Rescue learned about John’s 5.13c climbs in Oak Creek of Red Rock and Crack Climbs in Moab, thus they determined that due to his very expert ability level, he was indeed climbing without a rope or equipment, saying “a 5.10 climb for most climbers would be compared to a 5.6 level for John”. They said Pete’s article was extremely valuable and helpful to them in solving this mystery of the remains on the rock ledge so high up on the mountain. (Thank you Pete!) Most feel he had been exploring for new routes in the vicinity of Texas Hold ‘Em. There are so many remaining questions though: what day did he make this climb?, did he have a pack?, was he wearing a jacket?, did he have binoculars?, did he have a notepad?, and most importantly… we have all wondered about his shoes – what type of shoes: street shoes, scrambling shoes or rock climbing shoes? Whichever shoes he had been wearing would be a huge clue, but the shoes were long gone, probably due to vultures, crows, small animals, high winds and down-pouring rains. There were no shoes found, but Phil said he would like to go searching for them below the 600’ cliff. On the rock ledge there was a long bone and a piece of arm wrapped in tattered jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt, part of a spine and mandible with 3 teeth that provided the dental confirmation. The authorities have ruled out foul play as the climb was too difficult and no one would have carried him there and or tossed him off the cliff that was over 600 feet down. They presumed that it was “an accident due to no fault of his own and probably a rock used as a handhold or foothold could have broken away”. We were also just told by an experienced climber, that the top portion of Prince of Darkness was much less stable with more loose rocks. Search and Rescue felt John was an avid climber and he knew the routes well but had an accident on this very remote part of the rock face, explaining why he had not been found. John was on a ledge above the normal route of this climb; John had taken the “High Road”.

We had all feared the seamy side of Las Vegas and the “Wrong Road” and all of these thoughts had come to mind: was he shot in the desert by guys on ATV’s?, were Casino thugs or mobsters after him?, did he win big and was robbed?, was he beat up and dumped down a mine shift?, did he have his hands broken because they felt he was counting cards a the poker table (he did have a photographic memory and one thinks of Paul Newman in movie, the Hustler)?, was it foul play at the Blue Diamond Truck Stop where the climbers who live in their cars would pay for a shower and there were the constant Big Rigs passing through?, did someone steal his 4Runner?, was he dirt bag climbing and living in the caves off Blue Diamond Road, eating tuna out of a can (as he often did anyway, just like his dad)?, was he murdered and thrown in a dumpster?, did he go into a fugue state, have a mental breakdown or amnesia?, did he hop a flight to Thailand with a fake passport?, or since he just had his Dockers laundered at Sparkle Cleaners, did he win a big Omaha or Texas Hold ‘Em game at the Mirage or Bellagio and move to a Polynesian Island (although I know he would have left me some kind of childhood clue, something only I would understand)?, or did he go into the big Poker game and lose everything?, could it have been Witness Protection” , Phil still likes to hold to that thought! Anne Trujillo, a friend and Denver News4 anchor probably had the best explanation in 2005, “Only God Knows”.

There are still so many mysteries regarding his disappearance, especially regarding the car. Did he carpool with someone, meeting them at the south end of Blue Diamond Road?, did he get a ride to the next intersection, where many climbers leave a car and drive over to Black Velvet together?, did the car run?, was someone else using the car? We will probably never know… However, this does bring to mind another story I recalled; when John was 14, in 1970, he decided he wanted to do some real climbing, packed a backpack and headed west. Days later, my parents received a call from the Canadian Border Guard that John was caught trying to sneak into Canada, as he wanted to go climbing in the Bugaboos and do some “real rock climbing”; he had hitched hiked across the country and hopped rides from anyone who was heading in the direction of Squamish. My thoughts are that there must be someone who knows something out there, but the most logical answer to the car question is that he hopped a ride to Black Velvet.

This certainly is a very intriguing mystery, but at lease we have a conclusion. I DO think this would be an interesting book or movie. He could not have written a better Hollywood ending. There has been discussion regarding stories written about John after hearing the news of his death and perhaps a follow-up article to “Vanished – Without a Trace” by Pete Takeda that appeared in Rock and Ice magazine 2005 (also attached). I must say that I am quite impressed with the climbing community and the sense of concern for one another, I guess that is what happens when you trust your life to your climbing partner, you develop very close and special relationships. There have been many “John campfires stories” and fascinating tales being posted to a few climbing site forums. Special thanks to Russ Walling for keeping the supertopo forum going and keeping John’s presence on your Fishproducts web page during his disappearance. Thanks also to Curt Shannon for establishing the – John Rosholt “This is Important” forum site, as this site was shared by hundreds of climbers around the world since March 2005 after he disappeared. I also thank Brian Jonas of Pagan Mountaineering in Moab, who began the grapevine calls to the climbers that John was missing. He knew John well and had climbed with him on the East Coast. He gave me a few Las Vegas phone numbers of Flying Brian McCrae and some Calico climbers who I called about an hour later…but the word was already out and I would guess that within a few hours over 100 climbers knew John was missing!

My search began after Marea DeNice Moseley, John’s next door neighbor, called me to say there was 6 weeks of mail in John’s mailbox, she had found my name via return addresses from Christmas Thank You notes the girls and I had written to John. I pondered how a search should begin and recalled his email address was “mondo…” and one time I had asked him why Mondo: He replied, “Mondo’s café in Moab! Every climber in the world know Mondo’s café!”, so I called Mondo’s café and they had me call Pagan Mountaineering next door. And that is where the search for John began. Talk about one tight knit community who care so much for one another – there are doctors and lawyers to the grungiest of grungy climbers. John’s best friends worked in a variety of careers: “my friend Mike” the real estate investor and owner of a rock gym driving a Mercedes AMG, a forensic computer specialist, semi-conductor specialist, computer experts, day traders, poker players, geophysicists, authors, resoling rock climbing shoes, engineers, fabricators of climbing equipment, lots of climbing shop owners, warehouse workers and 1000’s of other professions down to the dreadlock climbers still living in their 1970’s van. All of these friends consider their climbing partners, whomever they might be, as part of the climbing community and family anywhere throughout the world. So many are saying this could certainly be an interesting CSI-Las Vegas, Bones or Tru TV. One climber back in 2005 wrote on the forum site that “if John were a doe-eyed blond, he surely would have been on Greta VanSustern” on Fox News. What makes this Search so much more widespread was the use of the internet climbing sites where friends, friends of friends and climbers who had only heard of John, were sending in comments and ideas regarding the disappearance. Maybe it is time to reconsider talking to 48 Hours Mystery as they were interested in the possibility of a feature in late 2005 but I was not ready as the story had no ending, but perhaps now since the body has been found, yet there is still plenty of mystery.

I was ready to email this message out and push send, then decided… “but wait there is more”……… I was thinking that John’s life showed signs of his love for the outdoors early on, in about 6th grade Johnny moved outside for the summer spending his nights in a little USGS tent in the backyard and only came back inside when it got too cold in the fall. Similar situation 20 years later when he told me to send his mail to: General Delivery, Squamish, BC until it got cold and then he’d head south to Heuco, and have me send it there. John was quite a hit with his Kindergarten teacher as he could recite the Presidents of the United States in order and backwards but that this was probably the highlight of his academic experiences; he was a bit bored in school and later sometimes ditched to go climb. He was good at baseball and Dad was the coach, he collected baseball cards with Dirk Harman and John memorized every statistic on every player and always asked me to buy him bubble gum baseball cards. Dental Forensics showed the exact striations on the 3 molars as well as the his fillings via dental records, those were probably because he loved sugar when growing up but then got fanatical about his Zone or whichever diet and I recall when he decided his fat level was a little low, so added 3 cashew nuts a day to his meal plan. He was a bit wild and crazy during the 1970’s and 80’s, then had a transformation to a total health fanatic with totally healthy life style to the extreme during the past two decades. Our home in Lakewood, Colorado was very Middle America: mom was a housewife, dad was a nuclear chemical geo-physicist at the USGS Federal Center and the children were Jane, Jill and John. In 7th grade John would climb the telephone pole in the front yard of our house for hours everyday, especially showing off when my friends would come to visit, a few tried but none succeeded the climb to the top like he could. In the cold weather he’d be in the backyard, doing kick turns with his new skis making ski prints all over the backyard for hours; then there was his freshman year at Western State College in Gunnison when he broke the tips off 2 or maybe it was 3 sets of skis, jumping off the rocks at Crested Butte’s Paradise Bowl or Ruby Chief or at the Plunge at Telluride. Speaking of Telluride, he loved the Telluride Jazz festival and always met friends there, he also did some Telluride ice climbing but decided that ice climbers don’t tend to live very long as many of his ice climbing friends had died, so not much ice climbing anymore. I think it was the next year at college, when he came down with Rocky Mountain Tick Fever while climbing in Taylor Canyon and hospitalized in Gunnison for a week. He certainly had some legendary climbs in the Black Canyon during his college years in the late 1970’s. A climb he was quite proud of was the Black Canyon’s Painted Wall and his 5.12 Journey through Mirkwood in 1977. He would be telling our girls how he slept in his cocoon sleeping bag anchored to the rock in Yosemite or the Black Canyon and spent the night hanging on the side of the rock mountain- that certainly left a big impression on 3 young girls who weren’t even sure about sleeping bags in our fenced backyard. Whenever he would have ropes deemed unsafe, he would pass them on to Phil for him to use at the stained glass studio or to install projects from the scaffolding; we put these old ropes to good use and still do use them. John was a Cub Scout at South Lakewood Elementary School and his favorite project was learning how to tie all the knots, dad had dozens of foot-long pieces of rope around that Johnny would practice tying; who would have guessed what that skill would have lead to? John also had the opportunity in middle school, probably around 1968, to take an after school “Mountaineering” class from Lakewood teacher, Richard Pownall who was fresh off his 1963 American Mt. Everest Climb; this was an introduction to mountaineering, climbing and orienteering with an emphasis on safety, safety, safety. If John were to come to visit me while I was a student at CU, it wasn’t really to see me but to climb the university class buildings throughout the Boulder campus that were made of Lyons Sandstone. When Christmas presents would arrive during the past decade, our girls would always look forward to some kind of practical Christmas gift from John, usually different kinds of Mag-lights for them each year and a headlamp for Phil or climbing T-shirts that I suspect he might have won in Bouldering Competitions or from REI. We will miss going out to Dino’s or for Thai when he would come to visit, but never will forget his “healthy” protein/nut/trail mix concoction he ate while climbing and on the road. I bet a lot of his friends will recall going out to eat with him too, John always paid his own way but would probably never offer to pay for your dinner! Another story I recall regarding his thriftiness was when he went to Thailand/Nepal via Courier Plane as he acquired a place on the plane when they had a light cargo load, it was very cheap but he said he probably would not do that again! He was very self-sufficient and independent and kept his cards close to the vest. Most of his friends knew him so well, but did they really know him??? So much for the stories, they could go on forever, I had to get a piece of Red Vine licorice since red licorice helps me think better so I could remember some of these stories. As soon as I print this I will remember more!

He was most happy living in his truck, he had boxes and boxes of cassettes he would listen to while sitting in the middle the Maze in Canyonlands near Moab or the middle of nowhere, he really loved one we gave him by David Lanz titled “Desert Vision”; he could drive anywhere and preferred to camp on the free BLM land. He was especially proud of his new 1989 4Runner and he called me on New Years to tell me he bought a new toy. He had a big board that Phil gave him that he placed on the wheel-wells and a sponge mat for his bed; he had storage space below for a box of clothes, a box for food and 10 boxes of climbing gear, then of course there was his folding chair attached to the inside ceiling. Peder was right, he was much happier when he only owned one set of keys and his home was on wheels. He lived a life following his passion and you would never know where he would be, how long he would stay and when he might pop in for a visit. I do know that he was quite excited to be 50 though, as he was looking forward to the new age group so he could win all the climbing prizes.

John probably lived the life most people dream of and he lived out his dream. I do think of the decal on his 4Runner, “Climb Now, Work Later”, however, most of us need to work now and climb later!!. I was wondering though, when does rock climbing go from a passion to an obsession??? Amanda gave me a book last month just before John was found: LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE: notes from an unusual life …. That could have been the title of John’s biography. I should read the book first but I bet John’s story is even more unusual and interesting.

These were our thoughts on the day following the news that John had being found. Amanda, our youngest daughter’s comment about Johnny was, “Bittersweet” “Now there is an ending to the Book”. Kitt, our middle daughter’s first thought was of Curt Kobain, “It is better to burn out than fade away”. Sally, our oldest daughter, said, “It is sad and hard to know that he is really gone but closure is so important. It is also so important to grieve.” Her little 2 1/2 year old son, John, would say “all done”. Our sister, Jill, said she knew he had “passed over” as he had communicated with her from the other side, one day telling her she needed a better filing system at her home in the Canary Islands. Jill had talked to many psychics around the world about John and she was quite impressed with and had many visits with one from England who said that “John’s life ended in his favorite place”. Paul said when asked what happened to him, John said “what goes around, comes around”. She said Dad and John are helping her out by “downloading information into her brain so she can get her head around quantum physics” as she is working on channeling, opening up vortexes and in the Fifth Dimension. Dad’s USGS nuclear geologists thought after he died, he’d be working on splitting the atom or something extraordinary (a few of Dad’s abstracts are also attached). Darin said, “This is a good closing, a good ending. This was His Climb, His Project and he was working on His Rock… bottom line. He was a gambler. He was Las Vegas”. Pete Takeda said, “This is great closure and a bittersweet end to the saga. I take comfort from knowing he passed in the rocks either climbing or scrambling. He must have been exploring when this happened”. Russ Walling said, “Wow! Well, peace at last for John and his family and friends”. Susan Peplow said, “We are saddened of the results but relieved that part of the mystery is gone. Jokingly we can stop saying “where is the gambler” which we do whip out on a regular basis. It’s amazing how often the thought comes of what happened to him. So many people still talk about it even all these years later”. Tyke said, “Jane, I am like you… My heart is at peace because of the blue sky and rocks. It’s great to know that all our horrible made-up scenarios about abduction and cruelty did not come true. Will we be so lucky, when we breathe our last breath, to be in the act of doing something for which we have as much devotion and passion as John did for rocks? For him, it seems fitting.” Eric Bard, John’s very good geology friend from Western State College in Gunnison said, “It closes what had been such a painfully mysterious incident, about a man who had such a profound effect on me, touching my life and forever changing it with his extreme passion for our natural world. This realm resonated in him unlike anyone else that I have ever met. His joy at all things geologic was infectious”. Phil Watkins still likes the idea of the Witness Protection Program better. Many of the climbers have also left their thoughts and messages to the family and friends on the attached, and sites. I am so appreciative and read them nearly every day.

“My thoughts that I just told the Las Vegas News3 channel were: “It is a good end to a sad story … or perhaps… It is a sad end to a good story”. I have shied away from the media but there was a lot of misinformation coming forth so I did speak with AZ3 News in Phoenix as they had feature the story when I first arrived at John’s house in May 2005 and they were quite nice, professional and concerned. They also interviewed a longtime friend of John’s, Jeff Raymond, who spoke so kindly of him; he was the friend who was telling me that when Johnny was in junior high, he would take a shower in the dark with his ropes and practice tying knots so when he was stranded on top of a mountain in the pouring rain, he could tie good knots. There are so many good stories out there!! I also responded to the request for an interview from Anita Roman of New3 Las Vegas and they did a very thorough feature and televised the daring helicopter recovery of his remains that were removed from the rock ledge. It is a very chilling news feature. Sgt. Vesp of the LVMPD Search and Rescue said in the television news interview (that is also attached), “There’s a family, there’s people wondering what happened. You always feel good when you can help somebody out or close a chapter in a book. There’s definitely some family members out there”. OH MY GOSH, I had just watched the news coverage of the recovery of my brother’s remains and I felt as though Sgt. Vesp was talking directly to me, I cannot tell you how much his words meant to ME. I had never given up the search for John and I am so appreciative for the rescue team who had risked their lives to gather and bring down his remains so that all of us can now have closure.

The rock climbers have some good links going and I have attached those to you al well. I fear the Denver news will find me soon, I have been trying to keep a low profile until the police reports have been finalized and attempting to contact and respond to the kind climbers who have searched for John over the past almost 6 years. We are still waiting for the Police, Search & Rescue and Coroners final reports. I had asked the coroner if he could tell if there were any fractures on the few bones found indicating a bad fall, but there were too few remains. Phil is very disappointed that John did not return, as they had planned to go to Escalante in Utah in April 2005 to do some hiking and had planned the trip just weeks before John left for Las Vegas New Years trip on 12/28/04. When John’s healing up from an injury, he would sometimes ask Phil if he wanted to meet in Canyonlands to go “hiking”, often more accurately described as extreme hiking and scrambling. On one trip, they scrambled a difficult route up some rocks and Phil’s comfort zone was pushed but John said to get on his toes and do not use hands and sure enough, Phil had a much easier difficult climb; he said John scrambled up the rocks like a fly. They climbed up to some cliff dwellings, explored a while, then once at the top, Phil was very concerned about the descent. John said that was no problem as there was a path down the other side – guess John was infamous for sandbagging. Johnny would invite Phil, and sometimes friend, Bill Brahmstedt, to meet in Moab and camp on BLM and go exploring. John would be scouting out new routes and looking for new potential First Ascents, while Phil and Bill would be scouting as well, but they were seeking photographs rather than climbs. I am happy about the ending of the saga with none of the feared Las Vegas dark side. Jill kept telling me she was certain that Johnny had “passed over” and just again this November, asked me when I could believe that, I said I felt he is not alive, but I won’t be okay with it until you “show me the body” and I just saw that on the Las Vegas news coverage of the helicopter recovery by Sgt Vesp and team. I’m okay with it now. This is what I needed to see!!

This will be so good to have the search for John over, we never stopped searching for him, I looked into the eyes of every homeless person I saw, those with signs, persons walking down the streets, driving by the tent cities in Las Vegas and other cities. I have been handling his affairs for almost 6 years, saved his townhouse from foreclosure and dealt with all the bottom-feeders that go along with that… I certainly thought that John must be returning back home. My search was very intensive following up on every imaginable tip and credit card purchase. I took 5 trips to Las Vegas and 4 to Arizona, even had several visits with Rick Johnson, Denver Private Investigator. Jill did her search in the psychic realm. With the help of a very special LVMPD Det. Juarez and his thorough investigations and those by the Scottsdale Police Department (Thank you Natalie Summit), the search continued. We viewed the ATM photos and between his investigations and my huge variety of searches I think we left very few stones unturned. Amazing there are between 800 to 1000 missing persons in Las Vegas per month! I documented every credit card purchase for his three weeks in Las Vegas and called or visited every location. I did find that John had a Gem Optical purchase of some very expensive sunglasses with special polarized lenses for use in climbing so that would have better sun/shadow transitions, and he had requested a rush order as he said he needed them soon to go hiking. Another interesting expense was to Sparkle cleaners for $8. What in the world would he have had cleaned? I suspected his sleeping bag, but months later when I called them to request information, the Asian woman told me the bill was for a pair of slacks; John was not one to have laundered clothing so we suspect that he was really dressing up for a big high-stakes poker game and a last ATM photo shows him wearing his newly pressed Dockers. I even went to the Subway where he ate where the owner thought she recognized him and to the Blue Diamond Truck Stop where the climbers took showers. I checked out every purchase throughout Las Vegas and Summerlin. John’s rock climbing friends also continued searching and kept the forum information coming in as well. We all searched everywhere but none of us expected such an innocent and logical ending. Perhaps I should have given more attention to the Texas Hold Em 5.11b hand-written route papers he had left on his dresser, but that never occurred to me. I have a special Thank You to Attorney, Mark Theut, who set up the Conservatorship and we have worked together so hard on 5 years of his affairs, accounting and court appearances. It was a huge financial drain for us to pay his mortgage and expenses for 4 years, less some “rent from housesitters” who cost us a fortune in home repairs and had taken so many things from his home, but that is what a big sister does, and at the beginning, I never imagined that he would not be coming home. Phil and I did a home makeover, repairing and flipping the house in a week, necessary since it had been rented to some individuals who certainly did not care for it. We had new carpet and tile installed and we painted, repaired, cleaned and when we left the house looked as good as new. We packed up remained of John’s possessions that had not been stolen by housesitters and we were thrilled that the dozens of boxes I had packed up in May 2005 were still stored along the side of the garage. We packed them and his patio table and chairs, along with all Phil’s ladders and tools, into the Tundra and headed back to Colorado taking the scenic route through Monument Valley and Moab. Oh my, what happened to Moab? The climbers Mecca is now just like the tourist towns in Colorado with visitors roaming the street with ice cream cones. Once back in Littleton, we unloaded John ‘s boxes and possessions in our basement, leaving everything just as I packed it in 2005. John’s home was sold to a very nice man who will take good care of it (John would be quite happy with this new owner of his home as he was quite proud of his Scottsdale townhouse – but Peder’s supertopo thoughts were correct as the house took away his nomadic lifestyle and joy; Scottsdale was so nice but it was not really John. Peder was right, I’m sure he did like ONE key better!!! John had good equity in the home and certainly could have sold it and had a nice profit to buy a new 4Runner or truck to move into and travel around the country. Although so much had changed since John began climbing in 1969: Trad climbing has been replaced with bouldering or sport climbing in gyms, Moab has changed with the all the dirt bikes, ATV’s and non-athletic tourists arriving in tour buses everywhere, The economy and Day Trading changed after 9/11, The game of Poker has even changed and John was 48 with some arthritis in his fingers and toes. His climbing partners were now half his age and John had become an old-timer and the go-to-guy with Trad climbing questions. It appeared that he was still working on drawing up routes for new climbs on a piece of paper on his dresser with Texas Hold Em route, any of you know of a route he was working on for a climb called “Baja California”? He very much enjoyed mentoring young climbers like Josh and answering their questions on

Phil feels a sadness, somewhat like a marine layer is over him now when he thinks of John’s death, but I feel the opposite. I feel the burden has been lifted, the dark cloud is gone and I see the bright blue sky just like the one he chose for his photo on the rock climbing sites and that he posted for his personal profile. The blue-sky photo reminds me of the happier and better days. I feel good that he is in a location that he loved, doing what he loved, and probably had figured out the route improvement for Texas Hold ‘Em and the paper has blown away in the wind. However, it is a bit ironic that it was NOT the poker game of Texas Hold ‘Em that took him in the end, but the improvements to the climb of Texas Hold ‘Em with it’s 5.12c and the Prince of Darkness’s 5.10c solo climb. Some climbers thought perhaps he could even been climbing on an old route between the currently used routes, this might also make sense as John’s mind worked in patterns and possibly doing a solo climb he had done long ago. Perhaps he now is looking down with his kid-like smile laughing along with all these stories that are being posted about his climbing and honored by other stories. I think we should have a winner for the best story posted. Perhaps John will also be looking down at the climbers on the Black Velvet Wall as well; I envision the scene in Squamish, where some climbers sit on the ridge and watch the bottleneck of climbers progressing up the route on crowded weekend days, recalling the story when John was working a route just above another and a guide with his group wanted him to stop as they passed under, but John kept working, later naming it “Progress Can’t Wait”. Maybe there is an irony there and more to that phrase as well. Perhaps John’s presence will be felt by Black Velvet climbers, as they make their way to the top of these two climbs or maybe climbers will have a random thought that pops into their head that another handhold could be safer. (Remember the 1980’s TV show Magnum PI, when he would always have that little voice in his head that would be giving him a word of wisdom). On a sad note, with the Christmas season upon us, I was listening to Silent Night and of course, I always think of the Nativity scene and Jesus in the Manger, but this time I pondered how many silent nights was John alive on that ledge. On a better thought, there must have been many lovely sunsets over the past 6 years from that Black Velvet rock ledge too. This reminds me of the old cowboy westerns, the movie was over when the legendary hero would ride off into the sunset. John did finish with a Hollywood Ending.

I was just glancing through some of John’s classic climbing books and found a quite special small book: Advanced Rockcraft by Royal Robbins, 1973, finding a very relevant description: “SOLO: I am pulled in different directions writing this chapter, On the one hand I don’t wish to encourage solo climbing. The mountains are more dangerous when one is alone. Probably the greatest danger of solo climbing is its addictive influence. It’s a strong shot, and one hungers for more, tending to draw the line finer, and when that happens a possibility exists of the appearance of a morbid note, and then the joy vanishes. On the other hand, for those temperamentally suited to it, soloing has its rewards as well as its terrors.” Hmmm, makes you wonder!!

We will soon be taking a quick road trip out to Las Vegas to meet with Coroner, Missing Persons Detective and Search and Rescue as well as visit the Black Velvet Canyon and perhaps see some local climbing friends. I still must contact a crematory or mortuary regarding John’s remains, perhaps I can get a discount, as there are just a few bones. Amanda has offered to watch our Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, O’Henry, and we can look forward to an In-N-Out Burger as we don’t have them in Colorado. We have spoken with Gary Neptune at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, CO and we will probably have a celebration/memorial in late April for John, probably in coordination with a fundraiser for Layton Kor sponsored by the Joanne and Jorge Urioste. I plan on having all of his climbing shoes as a special display and his climbing equipment with metal parts. (When I arrived at this home in 2005, Darin told me to make sure to gather all climbing equipment with metal parts!). There will be an abundance of slides and photographs of John climbing with lots of friends and perhaps we might learn the identity of some of those friends who might be in attendance. At Neptune Mountaineering, we will look forward to meeting some of John’s friends and friends of friends or anyone who followed his legendary climbing career. We will be adding some of John’s climbing equipment to their museum. We may also have a Rosholt Rendezvous somewhere, somehow, someway and sometime in Black Velvet Canyon this spring. John’s good geologist friend thought it would be appropriate for fellow climbers to bring a special rock.

As New Years approaches, I think that six years ago John was celebrating Christmas, was going to see his first Phoenix Suns game and was preparing for his New Years Trip to Las Vegas. We know he received the Christmas present we gave him because in one of the ATM photos, he was wearing his new Needles Outpost hat that he had opened just days before he left. We thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and concern regarding John. Although this is surely a very bittersweet ending, I rest assured that his life ended climbing and doing what he loved, in a favorite area that he also loved.

Merry Christmas

Jane Rosholt Watkins

John N. Rosholt, III

Black Velvet Climbing Routes:

Epinephrine was one of his solo climbs in Red Rock area

News Articles regarding John:'d-by-coroner-in-vegas;sb=Review_ClimbDate;format=short;mh=50

John N Rosholt, Jr (father with a few of his abstracts)

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Dec 28, 2010 - 07:24am PT
Thank You Jane for posting that.
I will be in touch soon about the Neptune show.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Dec 28, 2010 - 11:31am PT
Thank you Jane, that was an amazing trip down memory lane. He was a good friend for those 70's years in Gunnison.

How amazingly he chased his dreams in a way that most of us could only dream about.

Scott Mossman
sister jane

Littleton, CO
Dec 30, 2010 - 02:02pm PT


I called Richard Pownall (73), our Lakewood High School teacher/counselor who climbed Mt Everest in 1963.

He said that thinks he remembers me and John. I told him he probably he did not remember me as I did not get in any trouble in school, but he would remember John. Mr. Pownall was the Lakewood High School Boys Counselor. As we talked, I realized that their connection was not afterschool mountaineering class but during school counseling sessions as John had a tendency to skip school to go climbing. John often felt the need to take a personal outing to the mountains on school days, usually going to Eldorado Canyon to do some climbing. He would tell me that Mr. Pownall would talk to him about rock climbing and he very much enjoyed their talks. He told me that Mr. Pownall's discussions were based on one detail to remember: safety, safety, safety. John was very methodical and most always had a Plan B. Mr. Pownall was my PE teacher at Creighton Junior High School and I just recall we ran all the time, as he thought we should be in good shape and so he could stay in good shape for his next climb. Mr. Pownall is very interested in reading about John. He did recall visits with John in his office to discuss his personal outings from school rather than attending classes. (I did do a quick previous google search on Richard Pownall and saw that he did many climbs in the Tetons over 50 years ago.... very interesting). We had a nice chat from his home in Vail yesterday. Mr. Pownall had a huge impact on John.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 30, 2010 - 02:57pm PT
Thanks, Jane, for posting all your thoughts and news. My brother Peder, who knew John well, also appreciates it. It sounds like there are loose ends, but it must be good to have some closure to the sadness. Hopefully the memorial/fundraiser in April will go well - it's good of you to think of someone else's needs.

(Pownall climbed on Everest in 1963, but wan't one of the six who got to the top.)


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Dec 31, 2010 - 10:30am PT

Here's the link to an article in the Denver Post today
about John. . .
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Dec 31, 2010 - 02:37pm PT
Jane, thanks for sharing so much.

Article in today's Denver Post.

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