John is an ITA crew leader and board member. He retired to the McCall area after living much of his adult life in Boise. His professional career includes working in outdoor sports stores, teaching outdoor sports, and technical writing for a large bicycle manufacturer. His outdoor influences came from growing up in the Forest Service, earning his Eagle rank in the Boy Scouts, and mountain climbing starting in his teen years. In addition to being a climber, John is also a skier, cyclist, hiker, and backpacker, and he often includes his wife or daughters in his adventures. John is a strong believer in giving back for the opportunities he has enjoyed during his life. To that end he volunteers at local events, and is a member of both Valley County Search and Rescue and Idaho Trails Association.

What is an interesting fact about yourself?

I have been hiking, skiing, and climbing for more than 50 years.

How and why did you first get involved with ITA?

In 2015 I joined an ITA trip that my good friend Art Troutner was leading to Hum Lake, a local hike. I love being in the mountains and hiking. so clearing one of the trails I use seemed like a great idea: giving back.

Most memorable backcountry experience?

Story 1: After hiking up around the Finger of Fate in the Sawtooths with my younger daughter Jasmine (9 years old at the time), she wanted to play in the Hell Roaring Lake where we were camped, which we did for several hours that afternoon. Under her direction we collected all the white rocks. When I was loading the truck the next day, I couldn’t believe how heavy her pack was. Unbeknownst to me, she had carried out about 20 pounds of those rocks.

John and his daughter, Jasmine

Story 2: Art Troutner and I were driving home after the 2019 ITA Sheep Creek Project when we spotted a trail high above on the north side of the Salmon River. Curious, we returned a week later to walk the trail. When we got way up there, we found the footings of an old lookout. Afterward, back home I got on the internet and found that there was a book about the lookout on Kelly Mountain called “The Mallory Burn” and that Walt Disney had made a movie based on the book called “Fire on Kelly Mountain.”

Art standing on the footings of the old Kelly Mountain Lookout.

What is your favorite ITA trip you’ve been on and why?

My last trip, which was down Chamberlain Creek in the FrankChurch Wilderness, was amazing. Our team was a great group of people, we got a ton of work done, and we saw incredible country. Actually, I could say the same thing about every ITA trip!

What advice would you have for new trail users?

After you develop your skills, seek adventure. Take a trail you haven’t used. Even better if you don’t know anyone who has used it. Discover for yourself.

What’s your hope for the future of trails and/or ITA?

I hope more people take a few days to help keep Idaho’s trails open. There is so much beautiful country to go see in our state, but without trails it would be more than most could handle. We work on trails, but what ITA really does is provide a pathway to the outside experience, and for me being in the mountains is a spiritual thing. 

Thank you for all you do for ITA, John!