|The Cassin Ridge on Denali (center of photo)|
|Sir Charles Edward Snyder III, or Chip as his friends call him, is letting me|
know that we only have two pitches left to climb.
East Buttress El Capitan, Yosemite California
I first met Chip on a grand California Odyssey. One that is sure to go down in the history books of dirtbag royalty. I was sunning myself near the large boulder rocks of the Buttermilks in Bishop California, when this strapping young lad and his trusty dog approached me. In a gesture of good will Chip offered me a smoke and sat down next to me to ask me where I was from and how I had managed to make it all the way out here into these vast and rugged hills.
As we sat there enjoying a peaceful afternoon, smoking under the California sun, I told him about how I left the quite territory of Montana by way of a new contraption. The bicycle, I told him, was about to change the world and would be forever known as one of the greatest inventions of all time. I regaled him with the grand stories of adventure that I had had, peddling my little legs round and round in circles to propel my steel and rubber carriage. I had ridden through many a new land to reach the golden mountains of the Sierra Nevada. The Great Basin of the Nevada Territory, the strange and nuclear sites of backwards Idaho, and along the River of the Snake. And I told him that it was here in California, that my future was to unfold in a plan destined to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams.
Chip listened closely as his faithful companion Cooper sniffed about looking for rodents or maybe a hare that she could bring us back for diner. Those first days together in the golden mountains of California intertwined our lives together and we sealed our friendship by way of the rope.
My California Odyssey, in the end, brought me wealth and riches far beyond the mark of material possession. In what was to be a two or three month exploration. Where I was supposed to climb the highest and most famous cliffs of California. Turned into an eighteen month long voyage that brought me from the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, to the Mojave Desert of Joshua Tree, and back up the coast of the Pacific Ocean through the alien landscape of Orange County all the way to the Great City by the Bay.
By the time I made it back to the Montana Territory, the bicycle had made a small revolution in the quite hamlet of Missoula. There one could see families on day long outings, cruising the river side, picnicking in the meadows beneath the mountains, and stopping by the markets, overlooking the days fresh made goods that smell of fresh herbs, and ripe fruits and vegetables.
|Denali, The Great One, or The High One, as the Athabascan Indians|
kindly referred to her. At 20,320ft Denali is the highest peak in