Jon Waterman – Happy Birthday!

Post by blogger | June 13, 2006      

Last evening we had a fun time at author Jon Waterman’s 50th birthday party. Jon is a prolific writerand explorer, as well as being the person who instigated my Wild Snow ski mountaineering history book.

Jon Waterman during TV interview in 1991.

Jon Waterman during TV interview in 1991.

It happened like this: Back around 1994 Jon landed the job of publications director for the American Alpine Club. He had a vision for a series of books he called “historical guides,” which were basically overview guidebooks with a ton of history included. He approached me with the idea and I signed on for such a book about backcountry skiing. Writing the book was much harder than I expected. At the time the ski mountaineering community was much less united and communicative, as the internet was just getting started. More, it turned out that three years is simply not enough time to research a history book about a subject that precious little had been previously written about (in terms of history). Nonetheless we persevered, Jon encouraging me to stick with the project and keep my focus, me fighting burnout and trying to stay focused despite slight distractions such as marriage. In the end Wild Snow got published, albeit the first edition could have used another year of manuscript review and fact checking (all was improved in the soft cover second edition), while Jon and I remained friends.

Jon and I met each other at Colorado Outward Bound in the late 1970s, where we’d both landed jobs as instructors, and ended up working a couple of courses together. We immediately knew we were brothers-in-arms as to mountaineering, and had a blast running around Colorado getting fit for future adventures (we ended up doing quite a bit of climbing and backcountry skiing together for years after). That year we did a memorable autumn road trip up to the Tetons, where we did a winter condition’s ascent of the Enclosure Couloir on the Grand Teton. Rather than the climbing, this trip’s highlight was when the dashboard wiring of my 1957 Chevrolet Coupe street rod caught fire, and we put it out by ripping the wires out of the dash with our bare climber tough hands, while parked in front of the Silver Dollar Bar (this occurred after visiting the bar, hence the ability to rip shorted wires with bare hands). Why the Chevy still ran after that I’ll never know. Move over Toyota?

At the party last night I enjoyed chatting with Chip Woodland, an ER doc in Vail who was one of Jon’s main climbing partners back in their day. More, Chip was one of my NOLS students in the 1960s, and his first peak climb was with me on Pingora in the Wind Rivers. Laughing, I told Chip that was like the blind leading the blind. Luckily we all survived.

Stories about the birthday boy: In mountaineering circles Jon is known for his somewhat animalistic practicality. For example, Chip related that during one of their climbing trips they were working out of motels. It was back in the days of smelly polypro base-layer, and they’d come back from each day’s adventures stinking to high heaven in their one precious set of long underwear. Rather than take the time to undress and wash the offending garment, Jon would simply jump in the shower with his poly on, wash it while he washed himself, then strip and hang the clothing to dry. Like I said, practical.

We congratulate Jon on making the half century mark, and wish him many more days of his incredibly full life.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version