WILDERNESS RESUME



     The first place I rock climbed was at Miner's Park, Philmont Scout Ranch in 1992. It was an experience that I couldn't forget I returned to Philmont as Staff in 1996 and shared a tent with a climber by the name of John Demuth. He wasn't the greatest or most knowledgable climber, and he almost killed himself trying to repel off of John's Wall, but he had the gear and knew more than I did. That was all it took. I bought a harness and some carabiners at a gear shop in Taos. We climbed a couple times on our days off from Philmont. John's Wall, north of Taos, New Mexico, was the only place we knew to go. I did get to go back to Miner's Park though, and also climbed the easy routes at Cimarroncito.
     That fall I started college at the University of Oklahoma, GO SOONERS!! I joined a fraternity and met a couple guys who shared my exitement for climbing. I was still very new to the sport, so I thought I was extremely lucky to discover that OU had an outdoor club, Timberline Explorers. I went on a few trips with them to the Witchita Mountains, but they always had a lot of people and I didn't get to do that much climbing.
     The next summer, 1997, I returned to Philmont again to work as a Ranger. I shared a tent with a guy a knew from the previous summer, Ryan Popple and he was a more experienced climber than John had been. I made it to John's Wall a few moretimes during the summer and climbed with Ryan and other Philmont staff members. As a Ranger, I could get into the backcountry camps more. I visited Cimarroncito and Miner's Park and made use of their walls and staff bouldering rooms.
     Back at OU that fall, Drew Williams returned from USMC training and Collen Godfrey returned from Louisiana. These two, along with Garrett Green became my climbing buddies. Drew and Collen had climbed in Yosimite during '96. They taught me how to place trad gear and lead a route while on top-rope. They also introduced me to the world of crack climbing. Drew was and remains today an avid crack lover and opposes face climbing and bouldering like it was the plague.
     Drew was the most daring of the four of us. He never seemed to worry about taking a fall on lead, and would push to get to the top of where ever we happened to be. He and I developed a bit of competion between us. If he couldn't get up a climb, then I'd give it a shot. Sometimes I succeeded where he had got stuck. And sometimes neither of us managed to get the right sequence. Garrett was/is the responsible risk manager. He kept us out of trouble and stopped us from taking too big of a risk.