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pope

Was It Alpenglow, or Big Lou's Brilliance?

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Big Lou sighting: Dwayner and I stopped by the Whittaker Bunkhaus early Friday morning in order to bask in the ambiance, and to procure a bitchin' Whittaker Bunkhaus travel mug, which will be the prize for the second series of Eiger Sanction quiz questions. As an early Geburtstag's gift, Dwayner purchased for me a copy of Lou's autobiography. Dwayner inquired whether Lou had been seen around the Bunkhaus recently, and a self-confident, tan-faced, bleached-hair, RMI-guide/Big-Lou-groupee type announced that Lou was lurking around the Summit Haus. With an incredulous expression, Dwayner turned to the cute babe working the Bunkhaus espresso machine, and she uttered most reverently, "It is true. He whom you seek walketh among us."

A commotion on the other side of the Bunkhaus parking lot compelled us to saunter in that direction. Assembled in front of the Summit Haus, a group of athletic men posed for a photographer, and in the middle of the huddle, towering above maybe fifteen mountain guides, with a silly grin and an alpine twinkle in his eye, stood Big Lou. Lou commanded his disciples each to raise one boot, while the photographer called out the cadence, "One, two, three, KOFLACH!" (or Raichle, or some boot manufacturer), and with the snap of the shutter, the group dissolved.

A bashful and awe-struck Pope approached his Louness and trembled, "Uh-duh-buhduh--Lou? Got time for an autograph?" Big Lou not only created time to sign my copy of Memoirs, he inquired about my climbing plans for the day and wished us success. Pope felt the magic, felt the inspiration that countless mountaineers have experienced upon meeting this NW legend, and he dedicated Friday's Tatoosh conquests to mighty Lou.

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Dwayner's version:

Yes, pope speaks the truth. It started out as a simple mission to retrieve some Whittaker's Bunkhouse Coffee Mugs and turned into a super-Lou-charged day of high-powered alpinism built on the intense magnetic afterglow of an upfront, close encounter with BIG 'OLE LOU himself! I was trying to act as nonchalant as possible as I guided pope into the Bunkhouse coffeeshop located in beautiful downtown Ashford. Even as I pointed out the veritable museum of old climbing gear and Lou memorabilia, there was an intangible sense of electricity in the air. pope bought 3 mugs for $4 each, including one for his buddy Dwayner, and incredulous to the fact that he didn't own his own copy of Lou's book, we verbally wrestled until I carried a copy to the counter and insisted on purchasing it so pope would quit borrowing my now much-used hardbound copy. The pretty girl behind the counter said we could fill our mugs with anything we wanted. Both pope and I would have requested a mug-full of her lovely smile but had to settle for something more tangible. I said, "How's about making pope, here, one of them $5 coffee drinks and then we'll more than break even on the mugs. By the way, are there free refills whenever we be driving by?"

Acting like a big-shot, I inquired if Lou had been around lately. Pope, nudged me as if to reprimand me for being so forward. The young beauty giggled out of politeness and gave us some free pop and coffee. A young, self-confident RMI feller walked in, saw Lou's book and said, "Hey, that's a great book. You'll learn alot about climbing in there. Big Lou is outside. You should see if he'll give you an autograph." The young lady concurred, "It is true. He whom you seek walketh among us and was but here narry one quarter of an hour from the present." pope looked at me, his hands visibly shaking as I said, "Come, young pilgrim, we shall find the one whom they call Lou." I could tell that pope's mind was on fire. Everything was happening too fast: the coffee mugs, the free soda and coffee, the soft-spoken blonde beauty, Lou's book and the affirmation of its quality from the RMI feller...and now, the reality that "The Big Guy" was nearby. Lou was not hard to find as we saw immediately upon opening the door to leave the snack bar. Head and shoulders above a group posing for photographs, he stood out with his well-tanned face and gregarious smile. "Get up there!", I commanded pope as I gave him a firm shove in the proper direction. As the group broke up and Lou began walking away, I gave pope one last push. He turned around, said "wish me luck, Dwayner" and he took off running in the direction of The Mighty One of Rainier. I chatted with an old RMI pal for a few minutes and when pope returned, he had a noticeable bounce in his step as he fumbled for words. He opened the front cover of the Lou book and showed me a lavish inscription and signature, far more than he ever expected. pope smiled from ear to ear the rest of the day and spoke of little else during the course of our all-day difficult mountain adventure. "He even asked what we were going to do today! And I told him", effused pope. "He could tell we were climbers even in our "civilian clothes"." Trying to be cool myself, I suggested that Lou was tipped off by the sporty striped shirt that pope was wearing. Anyway, that's my official version of the story just in case this turns into another CascadeClimbers.com controversy in which the credibility of Friday's Lou sighting might be questioned.

- Dwayner, who was there.

P.S. I've got more details about this whole incident if anyone's interested. Trust me, the above is just a summary and barely captures all of the subtleties of ambience, dialogue (both verbal and internal) and the sheer emotion of this experience. Congratulations again, pope!

[This message has been edited by Dwayner (edited 08-12-2001).]

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By the way, some of you might think that we (pope and myself) are ridiculing Lou with our story above! Wrong! Both pope and myself have enjoyed the wit and wisdom of Lou for a long time. The Big Guy has a great sense of humor, a powerful personality, is a genuine physical role model for someone in his 70's and has done a lot with his life. In the past, pope has often made smart-alecky comments about Lou's colorful personality, so it was hilarious to see him turn into a quivering awe-struck school boy when he saw Lou for the first time in person. He apologized for his previous behavior several times later that day saying, "Lou is cool!!! I'm not going to make any more Big Lou jokes...Lou rocks!" And I could tell that he genuinely meant it and was touched that Lou had so gracefully signed his book and had a nice chat. Yes, we ARE big smart-asses, but we also can give and appreciate a kind word from time to time. So in short, although for humor's sake, we presented the above episode in dramatic prose (because we are big smart-asses) we want to give a big thanks to Big Lou, who's livin' a life that many of us will probably only dream of.

sincerely, Dwayner

P.S. Lou! If you be reading this (and I hope you got better things to do than play with the Internet...Steven's Peak was kind of tough. And as you probably could have warned us, drinkin' a sixer of snow-stashed beers on a super-hot day mid-climb is a BAD!!!! idea!

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Lou rocks! I went to see him speak a couple of years ago and then had him sign my book. I asked him to sign it "Don, Next time, you buy the beer." He just laughed and signed it as requested.

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Nice. Somewhat interesting story follows:

While attending the University of Idaho, I was in the bookstore one spring day with a friend who was purchasing something. In my boredom I decided to peruse a random $1 book sale table. While digging around, I came across a copy of "Memoirs of a Mountain Guide." I thought, "what a score" and dug a dollar out of my pocket. Anyway, after I got home and eventually started reading the book, I noticed inside the book there was a signature reading "Lou Whittaker." Anyway, I found out that Lou had given a slideshow/presentation at the UI sometime after authoring the book. Apparently he signed a number of books while there. Somehow, one of those copies found its way to the $1 bin at the university bookstore.

I've never met the guy, yet have an autographed copy of one of his books.

Cheers,

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I got the privledge to spend 2 days with Big Lou a couple of years ago. I attended the 2 day RMI tryouts(Iknow, Iknow...) And he was there for it. He was a riot. While Peter was all about business- in full nazi recruitment mode- Big Lou was all about shooting the breeze with the boys. I remember one thing specifically- Peter was right in the middle of a grand speach when Lou turned toward the tatoosh range and blurted out- "you know, I knew someone who died on every one of those peaks..." Peter just kind of glared and continued on. Peter-"OK, were going to do some role playing, say you're at muir, preparing to head for the summit, and you find one of the clients in the bathroom smoking pot, what do you say....?"

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A few years back I was headed to Camp Muir to practice some crevasse rescue and other glacier minded stuff with some climbing buddies. SeanHalling had once again, per his normal Ranger regimen, left me to huff and puff away by myself. We were in the clouds most of the way past Pebble Creek and I had settled to follow the boot track up in favor of attempting a compass land nav. I had ascended to somewhere near Anvil Rock elevation, and was stopping to catch my breath.

I had decided to resume the slog upwards to the hut, again I huffed and puffed my way up, mostly focusing about 6 to 8 feet in front of me. For some odd reason, I stopped. Looked up. The clouds parted. In an etheral enigma, Big Lou appeared.

Big Lou walked unencumbered by a pack and other than his ice axe, strolled along gleefully returning to Paradise. Big Lou seemingly hovered amongst the clouds and he effortlessly drifted towards me. He neared the place I had just moments before had came to a screaching halt. I stop there nearly our of breath as he walked up to me. He and I see eye to eye in the physical sense, but in stature I felt dwarfed. I felt almost as if I were tresspassing on "His" mountain. He jutted his hand out and asked how I was doing. I weakly replied, I'm fine just slogging along here. He then inquired into my plans, noticing my gear protruding forth from my pack like a gypsy. Practicing crevasse rescue and such Sir. That's great to hear Big Lou responds, giving a reassuring wink and nod. I stammer something along the lines of great to finally meet you and to meet him in all of places. I then had the fortitude to inquire as to his previous activities. Did you top out? No, just up for the day and to see the group back down to Paradise. I mumble something back, and Big Lou looks me dead square in the eye and says something to the effect of have a great time and be safe....

Nearly as he appeared Big Lou descended into the clouds as I stood awe struck with my encounter. I turned uphill, the exchange I just had, replaying through my mind, I once again resumed my plod upwards. Not more than 10 paces and if seemingly done by Big Lou himself, the clouds parted, and I realized that I was only about a quarter mile away from the hut...I felt as if I had been lifted upon his shoulders and carried the remaining distance to the finish...

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While sitting next to Big Lou and equally Big Jim (Yup, seen 'em at the same place and same time, hence they are not the same person)Watching a slide show of some of their early exploits presented by Wolf Bauer, Lou leans over to Jim and says "is that you or me in the picture, I forget".

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quote:

Originally posted by Doug:

While sitting next to Big Lou and equally Big Jim (Yup, seen 'em at the same place and same time, hence they are not the same person)Watching a slide show of some of their early exploits presented by Wolf Bauer, Lou leans over to Jim and says "is that you or me in the picture, I forget".

 

Forget about Lou and Jim, what about Dwayner and Pope? Anybody seen them at the same time (aside from Donna or "hemlock"?)

 

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wow, what great encounters with lou... i feel silly for missing such monumental events all these years. suddenly management meetings between the NPS and RMI take on more significance. i'm so, so lucky...

maybe lou will sign my uniform or ranger hat? now there's an item for e-bay...

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Listen to "Backcountry"...he knows! He's had the Big Lou experience! Ranger Mike: when there's trouble on The Mountain, who do you call? Big Lou, of course, on his supersonic snowboard, whooshing across the slopes of Rainier to lend a hand or save a life. And Dru? You're a punk. Get your butt down south here so you can buy some beer for both me AND pope. (Can't guarantee Donna will be there because she moved. And I know who Hemlock is, and he lives 3 hours away in eastern washington so I suppose he can't be me either!) Mr. Offwidth? There must have been some sort of serious mistake with the $1 book. Maybe it was really $100 but they hired a freshman for work-study in the bookstore and we all know the sort of mayhem that can ensue from that arrangement You got a bargain, my friend.

aloha, Dwayner

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I've seen Big Lou magically appear in the midst of a rescue evacuation of RMI guide Cate?Casson off of Pan Point a couple years ago during tryout weekend, helped carry the litter all the way back to Paradise- any of you RMI types out here know how she's doing?

A cpuple stories about Lou and Jim come to mind- they mention standing in for each other over the years, both here and abroad, and also the hilarious account of their competitive "hold your breath" training for some himalayan climb in the sixties. If anyone's ever heard it, it's a FUCKIN riot!

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Hemlock lives 2 blocks from me here in ellensburg. Pope is also in ellensburg. (definitely not the same guy) I saw Pope and Dwayner climbing outerspace together this spring. (they are not the same guy) As for Dwayner and Donna- your guess is as good as mine.

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How about a steel cage match to settle the question over which pair of brothers are the supreme brotherly mountaineering duo, between Lou & Jim, and Al & Aid Burgess?

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I was there for that accident. Were you doing the tryout as well Beck? That was a trip. right in the middle of the whole tryout she broke off a cornice and took a 30 footer. Did you end up working for them? I got the call, but had already made plans. To be honest, by the end of those 2 days I had changed my mind anyways.

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Nah, I was skiing on backcountry ski patrol above the accident site and scoped some kind of incident at Pan Point with my monocular, then descended to see what was up- It seems NONE of the RMI radios had live batteries (scary!)and they were trying to get in touch with Comm Center on their cell phones to initiate the rescue.

I called it in, then lent Pete W. my radio for the remainder of the incident.

To the RMI staff that may read this, if someone with a park service badge comes up to you, you may want to cooperate more expediently, particularily in a rescue situation- it took me five minutes to draw some kind of an intelligent response from you- what were you doing, trying to pretend your coworker WASN'T crushed under a cornice block??? *idiot*

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I've seen some ski patrol guys that thought they were cops when in reality they were just volunteer ski patrol guys with no real authority. Perhaps lack of tact and poor communication skills influenced the situation. Of course I wasn't involved in the above rescue, but I've seen some Nordic Patrol guys start off a conversation on the wrong foot before. I've also read about some dumb behavior from RMI guys too i.e. having lunch under the Ingraham Ice Cliffs in the early 80's. I'm sure there is lots of blame to go around.

Volunteering is a great, but don't forget you should be paid to be a cop.

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quote:

Originally posted by Dwayner:

Mr. Offwidth? There must have been some sort of serious mistake with the $1 book. Maybe it was really $100 but they hired a freshman for work-study in the bookstore and we all know the sort of mayhem that can ensue from that arrangement You got a bargain, my friend.

aloha, Dwayner

 

Hell yeah. I definately know the bargain in that transaction. However, if you're not a climbing afficianado, and especially if you're not from the PNW, I can see how the book might have caught the $1 bin. My guess is some college student went to the lecture/presentation with a friend, thought it was really cool, got a sudden inspiration to buy the book, got it signed, maybe read it - maybe didn't, and tossed it at the end of the semester, especially after the newest interest set in. Or, an autographed copy may have accidentally got tossed in with generic copies. Chances are, whoever tossed it into that bin had no idea it was a book that was autographed by the author, regardless of who the author was.

Either way, pretty cool, especially for a buck!

Cheers,

 

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I don't know what your problem is Alpinek, are you just real cynical? you've been up on Ski Patrol , you've helped do a litter evacuation and helped out one of your brethren, I'd think you'd appreciate what we do down there instead of dissing it.

I'm talking about an RMI guide being an idiot for five minutes while his coworker was crushed under a cornice and he wouldn't admit there was any need of assistance when in reality she's paralyzed from the waist down now.

 

I'm walking around talking to Comm going

" it seems there's some kind of problem but I can't get any confirmation on that" and it wasn't until Pete Whittaker came up over the edge and started to actually communicate they did need a helicopter evacuation-they didn't have any live radios to start evacuation procedures!

As for me not having authority as a law enforcement up there, you're right, at the same time I'm up there to inform and assist and they were definetly in need of a great deal of assistance.

and as for flipping attitude you're right sometimes everyone does, just like you're flippin me BS on this thread, AlpineK.

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Beck - AlpineK - into the BATTLE CAGE now! Winner will be the one who can drink the most at pub club tonight. Loser pays winners bar bill.

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No offense taken Cavey, AlpineK 's fippin' me some shit and I shouldn't let his dimwit spray of me affect my disposition. I'm secure in what I do, maybe he has some insecurity issues. We were talking about Big Lou sightings and he gets off on dissin' me for being in the middle of a rescue evacuation with the man while serving as a ski patroller.

They NPS allows me the privledge of free weekend housing at Longmire for helping out at Mount Rainier and I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to help them out down there, rergardless of how AlpineK feels about it-he is a way more accomplished climber than me , maybe he wants to put me in a headlock and cry "uncle|" to make him feel better about himself.

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Oh - forgot Beck is driving tonight. better not drink vs. PineyK. some other contest for battle cage supremacy.

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Becky,

Sorry I didn't make it to Tacoma. I didn't finish work until 7:30 this eve.

Yes Nordic Patrol is a good thing in a bozo filled area like Paradise, and no I was not there durring the rescue you describe above. However, I have seen you interact with people at Paradise, and that led to my above comment.

As a volunteer you have to tell people not to sled outside the designated areas and that dogs aren't allowed outside of the parking lot. Fair enough, but how you do that is what I was driving at. Instead of politely telling people the rules you start yelling at them like a cop. I found it embarassing to be associated with you and thus I only came to Nordic Patrol twice.

My post above reflects my impression of your attitude on patrol.

Perhaps you are trying too hard to do a good job, or maybe you are expressing your own insecurities durring your interactions with people at Paradise. One other possibility is that you are a lacky to the man.

PS I also find it amusing that you have a Nordic Patrol patch on every piece of clothing you own.

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