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Gabriel Peak
North Cascades, Washington

The 2021 high climbing season felt more relaxed as we continued more time in the mountains. The whole reason for finding solitude on the obscure peaks is not to bump into crowds. So we’ve managed to keep ourselves under the radar while doing what we enjoy.

2021 in a
Nutshell

Year 12 and Counting

Continuing my weekly hiking adventures

One Hike A Week Circa 2010

2021 came and went, but the pandemic, racial and social injustice continued to plague our humanity. Come what may, we must continue to stay “woke,” stay well-informed, stay up-to-date, be kind to one another, and meanwhile, count our blessings.

I touched on the importance of an inclusive outdoors in my recent talks and shared my experience of rejections from the “gatekeepers.” I’ve long made it my goal to encourage people of color and LGBTQ+ folks to experience the outdoors and go off the beaten path when possible.

1000
Trips to date
80
2021 trips
20
unpublished trips

Community Engagement

Last September, The Mountaineers had reached out to present at their Beta and Brews event this month. So I finally put together a video of my 4-year pursuit of Washington State Second Hundred highest peaks, which I’d completed in 2020.

I went through old dusty footage dating back to 2011 and strung together something I thought representative of the whole journey. I’ve shown the video as part of my interactive presentations in other recent talks.

The Crew

Partners in climbs

Sir Cody

Copper Benchmark
Washington Pass, North Cascades

Another Year Free of Illness

The luck of the draw. In all 12 years, the only vet bill Sir Cody has incurred is the extraction of a chipped tooth. Oddly, it was from one of the off-season, trivial scrambles. 

Alas, Sir Cody made it through another climbing season with me without a hitch. But I’ve started to watch him closely in the last few years while keeping our fingers (and paws) crossed.

42
washington Bulger Peaks
80
washington second hundred highest peaks

TOTAL TRIPS

60
John
50
Cody
50
Connor

My Shadow for Life

Mister Connor made his first big mountain debut this season and learned firsthand what it was like to carry his food on all the trips as Sir Cody did in his younger years.

But just like that, two years went by quickly as Mister Connor fumbled his way with us on the hills. Happy to have you with us and hope for many more trips to come, ya “goofy ball.”

Eat. Sleep. Goof. Repeat.

~ Connor

Mister Connor

Copper Benchmark
Washington Pass, North Cascades

2021 Goals

Climbing random peaks on the back burner.

Wenatchee Mountains "Back Court" Top 100

Lists, great but addictive

By the time I finished the Washington Top 200 Peaks list in 2020, I had unknowingly climbed three-quarters of Wenatchee Mountains “Back Court” Top 100 after some tallying. So the pups and I used the rest of the year to do 20 more, followed by the final four in 2021, ending with The Cradle.

The list overlaps several others in the area, including 12 Teanaway Peaks and 12 Washington Top 200 Peaks. So it’s not a surprise to see these high points popping up on different lists since most of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness peaks fall under a checklist of some kind.

Checking off the back burners

I was on the fence about starting a list in 2021 because it felt free without one. So I checked off a couple I started a decade ago, including Sloan Peak. Best of all, the traverse through Alpine Lakes High Route in early October was liberating.

Some peaks we climbed may or may not have been on a list, but I didn’t care! Anyhow, it was a low-key summer, and having an extra day on a backpacking trip was always more enjoyable for the pups.

Happy 14th Birthday!

Forever my mountain dog. Forever our guardian angel.

A brighter place beyond the rain

Buddy Coop
Mount Aix in 2009

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Alden

    Thank you for sharing, John! Your outdoor pursuits have intrigued me for a few years now (I haven’t been around but that long) and I was grateful to hear you speak at the Bulger Party. Despite many dark plights, you continue to be a beacon of hope.
    Alden

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