Jim Donini Appreciation thread


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Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 26, 2014 - 09:27pm PT

Big bump for Jim!

Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Jan 26, 2014 - 09:48pm PT
Donini is good, but Ron Anderson can take him any day!!!


Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Apr 13, 2014 - 08:46am PT
I've just returned to my home in N.H. after climbing with JD for a week in Yosemite. As usual, I had trouble keeping up with him; even thou he is 3 years older than me. Jim tells me he has never broken a bone, whereas I've broken many, ( Jim's technique is far superior to mine).
Just wanted to add here that there is a nice article on Jim and three other "older" climbers--all friends of Jim, in the latest issue of Ascent magazine.
It's a great read!

I was lucky to do the Salathe Wall with Jim, back in 1971, and he is still out there crushing it.

Apr 13, 2014 - 04:14pm PT
I couldn't agree more with you Steve! Jim is a wonderful guy on & off the rock. It means a lot that he loves my dog so much;)
Hugs to you Jim and thanks for all the climbs, dinners, laughs, adventures..I hope there are many more to come!

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Apr 13, 2014 - 05:04pm PT

Yes, and Jim cooks a fine meal. In fact he eats healthier than any climber I know. Jim bought a few juicy salmon steaks for "big bird", who arrived in Fresno, as I was leaving.

Perhaps their diet will assist them in doing the NIAD.

Apr 13, 2014 - 10:57pm PT
Hi Steve!

Let me guess...that besides the salmon steaks he also had fresh asparagus, new potatoes and a Chilean Malbec?!

Yes, Thom/Big Bird/Mission(as he's known as here), will be in good hands dietarily so for the duration of his trip.

I'm thrilled that these two are getting a chance to connect for some high adventure. It looks like the weather will be perfect for quite some time!

I hope you and your Mrs are doing well!

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Apr 13, 2014 - 11:22pm PT
Jim Donini is the real deal. Period. I hope to be one-tenth as productive, and to have one-hundredth of the style, as he has demonstrated throughout his climbing career.

Apr 13, 2014 - 11:35pm PT
If all climbers were like Donini... I would hang out at climbing areas 24/7, begging climbers to influence my child.

Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Apr 14, 2014 - 10:53pm PT
Few major climbers and first ascent peak baggers, if any, are as gracious as Jim and his wife Angela. Many of the hard core, famous ones, hang with an elite cadre.

You can imagine my surprise when Jim and Angela encouraged me along with a friend who had never ice climbed, to accompany them to the ice park in Ouray, CO. With Angela, Jim and friend Ralph Tingly supplying the gear and the guide experience my friend and I both sended. It was so much fun and totally an awesome experience.

Jim shares his love of climbing with the common folk. In my book that makes him incredibly special. Don't know to many others that do.

Cheers to the Donini's along with Tuff, Boqui, and Lela. :)


Trad climber
Bay Area
Apr 14, 2014 - 10:56pm PT
With Donini and Tingey on ice.
Doesn't get better than that.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Apr 14, 2014 - 11:02pm PT
Don't forget Angela, she's a great climber and so much more. Cheers to the great folks in Ouray! :) Oh yeah, and Rodrigo Fica, a new friend from Chile.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
May 14, 2014 - 01:40pm PT
Worth adding this to the thread, I hope:

Digging through old binders the other day, I found the original topo for The Old Smuggler's Route on the north face of Aguja Poincenot in Patagonia. One of the best climbs Jim and i did together. I posted it up with a few of our better pics:

The Old Smuggler's Route topo & pics

Hard to believe that was almost 18 years ago.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
May 14, 2014 - 01:59pm PT
So, let's just say both me and Jim are at the Black Canyon this weekend. And let's just say someone says, "Hey, you guys should arm wrestle or something!" And let's just say, I drink a beer for every year of age difference prior to the event to sort of even things out, since I understand that Jim doesn't drink (at least much) and I'm 13 years younger. And, let's just say, I won. My question is, would you appreciate Jim as much as you did? Would my standing go up (or down)?

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 14, 2014 - 03:47pm PT
So there's a nasty rumor out there that i don't drink......not till after 6:00 pm and then wine nearly every night with dinner.
At 150 lbs. soaking wet, arm wrestling isn't my go to activity.

Yeah Greg....that was a great route!

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 14, 2014 - 03:56pm PT
It's not often that a high level of wisdom is also still highly operational.

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
May 14, 2014 - 05:15pm PT
In 1976, I met Jim Donini while climbing the Nutcracker in Yosemite. As I led up the second pitch "gully" I laid eyes upon a stunningly beautiful blond topless woman, Juanita Hunter. With little provocation she became quite talkative and let me know she was climbing with Jim Donini, just returned from Patagonia and the first ascent of Torre Egger. Fortunately, I understood the import of this achievement and was duly impressed. Juanita was not feeling well. In fact, she found a way to go off alone one the ledges and throw up.

From this beginning, I ended up spending most of the next two weeks sharing a non-Camp 4 campsite with Jim and Juanita and an incredible string of other luminaries, including Warren Harding and T.M. Herbert.

Warren was amidst his protracted adventure to place a climb upon another panel of Yosemite rock: the Porcelain Wall adjacent and below Half Dome. He invited me to join up and I did for a while, but that's another story.

I climbed again with Jim at Granite Mountain and the Mace in Sedona. At Granite Mountain, Juanita explained her illness on Nutcracker. "It was morning sickness, but I didn't know it at the time," she related as she tended to her daughter at the base of a climb.

Thirty four years passed before I next crossed paths with Mr. Donini one fine day in Indian Creek below Supercrack.

Jim almost immediately remarked, "Haven't I meet you before?"

"Yes, we have," I answered, "but if you really remember me you've got as good a memory as the best politician on Earth. It's been 34 years!"

We've gone on two llama pack trips to the Wind Rivers since. My admiration for the man knows no bounds.


Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
May 14, 2014 - 06:28pm PT

I'm going to add another comment here, since we've both have known Jim for a long time. I've climbed with hundreds of partners, over the years, but after recently spending a week in Yosemite, with the senior citizen, I took in quite a display, of fine leading skills, since Jim did all the leading.
As you know, Jim likes to lead, and I was totally out of shape, and happy to just climb.

What really struck me as different, compared to almost anyone, I've ever climbed with is his ability to place pro. without hardly a pause. It seems like he is constantly moving up, and placing pro; almost as an afterthought.
I spend quite a bit, with climbers, who spend as much time pacing pro. and fiddling with their gear; as they do moving up the rock.
Jim's leading style really stands out among the crowd!

( He cooks a great meal too--better than Spam)


Ice climber
Brujo de la Playa
May 26, 2014 - 01:49pm PT
^It has been said, that where Jim goes, others should follow.

Listen up, Jim speaks here on technology and climbing!


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 26, 2014 - 02:31pm PT
Credit: Jaybro
Angela and Jim, Indian Creek Nov '13

Social climber
May 26, 2014 - 04:06pm PT
At 150 lbs. soaking wet, arm wrestling isn't my go to activity.

Great line Jim.

ALl the best to you !
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