Yes Joe is one of the real ones, the authentic article
and had that great blessing of being a central figure
in the golden age. His piece in that second Ascent
remains one of the best pieces of writing anywhere.
Naturally we have waited for the book and know it will
be another masterpiece.
Joe is a classy guy. I first met him about the time he made the first descent of Fitschen's Folly at Tahquitz, and his survival of that dive was a real boon to the climbing community, and to everyone he ever influenced. Never saw quite enough of him, but plenty enough to respect greatly.
Great to hear you're closing in on that book, Joe! Can't wait.
I used to golf frequently here in Redding with a guy that was the basketball coach at Lassen C.C. at the same time Joe was teaching there.
He told me a story about a time they had a faculty party at this house
that had a large 2 story tall rock fireplace. After a few rounds of adult beverages coach looks up and sees Joe doin bouldering laps on the fireplace to the amazement and cheers of the party goers.
"One more little piece of news. I have finished and published my book, Going Up. Pat Oliver (Ament) wondered at one point if I was going for perfection. He should know that perfection is the enemy of the good. The book's good, could be better given another ten years to work on it. Anyway, for now it is only available through my website: joefitschen.com. I would appreciate it if all of you would spread the word. Better yet, buy the book and read it. "
Joe was at the Oakdale Festival this October, by the way. I hadnít seen him since 1970 when he and then wife Linea came up to join Royal and Liz for a group trip to the Sea of Cortez and I remained babysitting the house and I think RRís new kitty, Bojangles, or maybe Bojangles came a few months later. Itís all a blur of course. Itís true too, he had the most amazing blue eyes; eyes reminiscent of Kim Schmitzís. Both these guys were really arrestingly beautiful, if you ask just about anyone. And both are still with us!
The Alpine Journal has asked I review Joeís book so I am reading it and putting together some notes for that. Joe certainly was a really unique member of the Golden Age and very much admired by all. And his role in that era seems perfectly integral to it even if he might not have experienced it that way at the time. Really gentle book and quiet writing, incredibly detailed, anecdotal to its core. Hard to imagine Joe living in New York City for so many years since, isnít it. Not sure if that phase will be explained or not as I havenít finished the volume.