Still climbing after all those years. Some Inspirational Stories?

  • In 2010, I got back into email & phone contact with my "OLD" friend, Jim Donini, who was 66 at the time. I had done a number of moderate rock climbs with him in the late 1970's & early 80's when he was living in Leavenworth WA. I was running an outdoor shop in Moscow, Idaho & he was my sales rep. for Wilderness Experience, which was an up & coming brand at the time.

    I took this photo of him in 1980.
    Donini 1980-smaller.jpg

    So------ in the interim, we worked together as outdoor gear sales reps in the mid-90's, then when the internet got rolling, I lost track of him. I had continued rock climbing at a 5.7 level, & Donini had more big Alpine first ascents in Patagonia & Alaska, was elected President of the American Alpine Club & gracefully retired into worldwide climbing at what he considered a "moderate level."

    Donini met up with me & later Heidi at City of Rocks in August 2010 & somewhat whipped me back into 5.10 shape. Despite my 20 or so days of rock climbing that summer at the tender age of 61, I lacked the drive to whip myself back into climbing condition.

    Donini & me pumping some water at COR 2010.

    City of Rocks 003 (2).JPG

    We repeated the COR trip every summer through 2018, with our camping group gradually expanding to a high of about 35 folks in 2015.


    After that, as camp manager, I was overwhelmed & I took the party off open-enrollment on Supertopo. The groups became smaller & behavior became better, while several climbers like Leavenworth, who is somewhat older than Donini, kept attending & knocking out those moderate leads.

    And now I'm 70. We will likely do it again next June.

    What prompted this post is: Donini spent parts or all of the last three summers back in the Latok area of the Karakorum Range, where in 1978, he, George & Jeff Lowe, & Michael Kennedy mostly climbed Latok I, then nearly died when Jeff Lowe became seriously ill just below the summit. Despite many tries by world-class climbers, the climb has remained un-repeated, until this summer, when some Russian climbers likely summited, but died soon-after.

    Donini is now on the road with a slide show of his 5 decades of extreme climbing in Patagonia & The Karakorum, per this interview.

  • All that Latok/Patagonia/5.hard shit aside, Jim summed up the entire trad climbing experience in 10 words: "If you can climb at Index, you can climb anywhere."

  • Glad you guys are still getting at it. Can't say the same for myself.

    You have to have some great stories. Post 'em up please.

  • are there any dates in the east???

  • @NickG! I think the Vancouver show may be a first & most of the rest are waiting for interested outdoor shops or clubs that enjoy promoting slide shows. Email me, if you don't have Donini's email.

  • pretty shure I have it.

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