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County HighPointers - EOG Magazine 2 Q 03 Dave Covill
2nd QUARTER 2003
EOG PEOPLE
B-1
Continued from previous page
finger on Anchorage, run northwest toward Russia and
the Bering Sea until you can't go any further, look for
Nome, then go up a bit further. Kotz, as Dick calls it, is
3,600 Eskimos and a few whites who are mostly
teachers. Yes, the state of Alaska pays the teachers
very, very well to live there. Dick has spent most of his
adult life in Alaska, bumming around from mountain to
peak, adventure to quest, until he finally settled down a
decade ago in his mid-40's and got married. He has
many actual first ascents of big peaks to his credit in
Alaska, and once walked from Ellesmere Island in
Canada to the North Pole. (I know, I know; I asked
him "why?" too.) Dick's wife and daughter have kept
him on a tighter leash
lately, and he was itching
to visit Mt. Bona. He, like
myself, is interested in
getting to the highpoints
of the 57 National Parks.
Dick hasn't been climbing
as much lately as the rest
of us, and he had a severe
respiratory ailment for the
last two months, not a
good combination for the
mountain. He was hoping
to push himself a bit and
show himself that he was
still in charge. Dick is a
nice guy, one you could
share dinner with for nine
straight nights, and still
find interesting things to talk about on the 10th night.
Gerry Roach is the leader of our little expedition.
Gerry is 59, but acts like he's a decade or two younger.
He became the second person, after Dick Bass, to do
the Seven Summits (the highest points of every
continent...the Holy Grail for mountaineers, perhaps
along with the 8,000-meter peaks in Asia). He is the
only person to have done the highest 10 peaks in North
America. Remember when I said Bona was the 11th
highest? Beginning to get the picture now? With a
successful Bona summit, Gerry would only lack a
couple more to round out the top 20. Impressive, no? If
I successfully climb Bona, I will have, um, er, uh, one
of the top 20.
While Gerry didn't exactly need me to get him up
Bona, he needed SOMEBODY to round out his team,
and I can do the somebody thing as well as the next
guy. Gerry lives up the road from me in Boulder, Colo.
He has written many guidebooks, including the famous
guide to Colorado's 14,000 foot peaks. Virtually
everyone in the climbing community has heard of him.
He quit his job as a software engineer to go on this trip,
a stunt he has pulled about a dozen times in his life. He
works to live, not the other way around, know what I
mean? His wife and my wife are buddies, and actually
finished doing the highpoints of the 64 counties in
Colorado together.
Larry Chapman is five and a half feet tall in his
climbing boots, but all muscle. What a strong hiker he
is. He has pulled a massive sled to high camp along
with a full backpack,
a big video camera,
several other cameras,
and a little stuffed
Snoopy that one of his
kids gave him prior to
leaving Ft. Collins, Colo.
That child has Downs
Syndrome, and thought
he might need Snoopy
along to watch over him.
Turns out the same child
has given him a different
stuffed toy on each
expedition he has gone
on. Cool. Larry works for
Hewlett-Packard, and has
access to lots of digital
stuff. He has been to big
peaks in Alaska, but not Denali. He has been to big
peaks in South America, but not Aconcagua. He has
trekked above Everest Base Camp, but has no desire to
do sexy old Everest. Clearly, Larry is not compelled by
lists and peak bagging. Gerry dragged him into this,
and Larry only said yes when he heard that Mt. Bona
was likely to not have more than a dozen people on it
all year, much less not have anyone else on it while we
were there. If Kipling or Service were alive today, they
might write about people like Larry, who want a little
solitude along with the splendor; the whole "road less
traveled" and "I alone chose" thing.
Larry provided the humor throughout the trip. Jobe
Continued on next page
Meet the crew
EOG's Dave Covill (left), along with Jobe Wymore, Dick
Ellsworth, Gerry Roach and Larry Chapman, take time for
a group photo before their climb begins.

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