My first hike in Idaho occurred in 1972 in the Snake River Range alongside Palisades Reservoir. I moved to Idaho in 1978 and have lived here ever since. As of December 2021, I have climbed 911 Idaho peaks, some more than once.
The Roads and Trails Once Followed is my quasi memoir which covers articles I’ve published in magazines or on this website about places and adventures I’ve had within and outside of Idaho.
I started collecting information for an Idaho climbing guidebook in 1978 when I moved to Salmon to work for the BLM. Finally, in 1990, the first edition (Exploring Idaho’s Mountains) was published.
The expanded second edition (Idaho: A Climbing Guide) was published in 2000. I started this website in 2000 but added information to it slowly as work and climbing always seemed to take up my time. Since retiring, I have dedicated more time to both climbing and to the website.
I have been fortunate to have climbed with dozens of great climbers over the years. While some of these climbers were one or two peak partners, a few have graced many of my climbs. I climbed well over 100 Idaho peaks (not to mention peaks in other states and countries) with Dana Hansen (the first woman to climb all of the Idaho 12ers) including our first ascents of the North Face of USGS Peak and Cabin Creek Peak.
Dana Hanson and I climbed together for 17 years. She was the first woman to climb all of the Idaho 12ers.
Basil Service and I climbed many peaks in central Idaho over a 20-year period. While it’s impossible to say for sure, I suspect Basil has skied more of the Sun Valley backcountry than anyone.
I was fortunate to meet and climb with Dan Robbins, the webmaster of RockyMountainSummits early on. Dan brought a lot of energy to Idaho’s climbing scene and constantly found new peaks to explore.
Brian Wright and I did a lot of technical climbing in late 1990s and early 2000s including climbing some new routes on Slab Butte and making the first ascent of Triple Peak in the Lost River Range.
I was fortunate to have climbed with the late John Platt (an exceptional climber and explorer of difficult terrain who had relentless energy) including our first ascent of JT Peak. John has led me across many remote peaks in the area north of McCall.
Gilbert Gallegos and I have explored many of the mountains within 3 hours of Boise, climbing many peaks not found in the book.
Last but not least, my wife Laurie Durocher has journeyed with me to many Idaho summits as well as Sierra Nevada peaks and Colorado 14ers. Not only that but she both encourages and supports my climbing obsession.
Climbing has not changed much since I started but equipment and clothing have changed immensely. Photos taken over the years (as shown on this website) demonstrate the evolution from blue jeans to hi-tech materials. Clearly, I am not a fashion maven.
Before I moved to Idaho, I had worked with the Park Service at Crater Lake National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and Rocky Mountain National Park. One thing that these locations had in common was the availability of guidebooks. I really liked the Sierra Club ToteBooks and, more specifically, the “Mountaineers Guide to the High Sierra” by Hervey Voge and Andrew Smatko. The book was packed with peaks to climb and not cluttered with details. It identified a peak, named a route and told you the rating difficulty. What more does an explorer need?
When I moved to Idaho, there were no climbing guidebooks. I remember driving between Salmon and Idaho Falls for the first time in 1978 and seeing Bell Mountain. I knew that I had to climb that enticing peak but I could not find any information about it. It was at that point that I decided to write a guidebook.