Pete Goes Climbing

But Never Again

Story and photos by Ray Brooks

In August 1973, the first summer I owned an outdoor shop in Moscow, I took a retail client and inexperienced climber named Pete on an overnight climbing trip into the Selkirk Mountains. I knew there were a few grizzlies in the range, and mentioned this to Pete—after we got there.

As a 1970s hippie, I wasn’t packing a firearm and didn’t even have an ice axe along, since it was late summer and almost all the snow in the range had melted.

At age twenty-three, I had spent hundreds of nights in the outdoors, but only a few nights in grizzly country. At age twenty-one, Pete had spent very few nights in the outdoors, and it turned out he was apprehensive of grizzlies.

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Ray Brooks

About Ray Brooks

Ray Brooks is a native Idahoan. Beyond retirement age, he remains an active rock-climber, river runner, and hiker, who keenly appreciates Idaho history. His climbing career started in central Idaho in 1969. To support his outdoor habits, he worked on Forest Service helicopter fire crews, was a Middle Fork Salmon boatman, ran an outdoor shop in Moscow, and became a sales representative for outdoor gear.