North Sister

June 2-3, 1979

Some of you are probably wondering if this trip report will attempt to defame and lambaste the character of my climbing colleague Bert “The Wimp” Ewing. The answer is no! Bert was not a member of this climb and I have no intention of pursuing a vindictive diatribe that I would easily win. The Early Morning Couloir climb of the North Sister was my tribute to Bert. I felt he deserved something greater than the accolade, “Bert Ewing, the Biggest of The Little Guys.” Yes, this climb was in praise of his repeated attempts to climb Mt. Jefferson and his little known heart-break at the crux of the Early Morning route.

Six climbers departed from Villard Glacier, candles in hand, all singing, “Praise His Name and Face.” Upon reaching Glisan we encountered movable handholds and enough exposure to heighten our blood pressure. Half of the party consented to traverse Glisan and ascend the Villard Glacier route, while the other half was belayed up the harder 150 foot section of the Couloir route. From the top of Glisan we climbed the Pinnacle of North, removed garlands of flowers from our packs and placed them on a bronze statue of Bert that we had carried with us. (I’m sad to report that the statue was vandalized by the Mazamas as retribution for Bert’s repugnant comments regarding their splendid organization.) With spectacular views of the surrounding peaks we returned to camp. We shared the silent knowledge that we had done more than climb a difficult route . . . we had honored a unique climber. Members of the pilgrimage were Bob “The Fillabuster” Smythe, Larry “The Large” Tucker, Dan “The Man” McLoughlin, Dave “The Daredevil” Lewinsohn, Joachim “The Pride of the Alps” Prufer and Sam Miller, leader.

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