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The Book Is Out!

Rich with “14er Disasters” at Costco!

My friend of many decades sent me a pic of himself with a copy of Colorado 14er Disasters he found on sale at a Costco in Littleton, Colorado!

This is cool. My new publisher, the Colorado Mountain Club, is getting my book out there where it has not been before, I think this will give it a far wider audience. The book is already somewhat of a classic in Colorado, and this should make it more so.

These stories need to be told to the mountaineering community!

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2016: Year of Adventure!

South Georgia Island, Antarctica

This is the last day of what turned out to be my most adventure filled year yet, and that’s saying something. The abridged version:

Started out in early January by flying to Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina to begin a two-month Antarctic and New Zealand  journey. Crossed the Drake Passage, visited Antarctica island and continent, interacted with more penguins and seals than is imaginable. Visited Shackleton’s Elephant Island camp and then crossed to the incomparable South Georgia island where we again interacted with penguins, seals, did some hiking and visited Shackleton’s grave. Hopped over to the Falklands, a confounding set of British isles, and then to Santiago.

From there I experienced the most violently turbulent flight I’d ever taken to finally arrive in Auckland, New Zealand. Drove from the northern tip of the north island to the southern tip of the south island. Did many treks along the way including volcanos, the Tongariro traverse, and the Milford track. Watched the Broncos win the Super Bowl in a sports bar in Rotorua. I came away from my southern hemisphere adventure with a new appreciation of the enormous efforts being done to preserve what are many vanishing species in this part of the world.

Waterfalls on Milford Trek, New Zealand

When I returned, we decided to give up the corporate life and begin a sailing adventure life. Gave away most of our possessions, sold our vehicles, sold our house and journeyed across the great midwest to the east coast. Visited many parks along the way, toured many sites from West Point, NY to Gettysburg and Antietam.

In Annapolis we came to Good Karma, our sailboat. Bought in August, began our southbound journey from the northern Chesapeake at the end of October, avoiding hurricanes Matthew and Hermine.

Sailed all the way down to Norfolk, VA, and took the Intracoastal Waterway through Virginia to North Carolina. We then made big jumps offshore, passing South Carolina, Georgia and half of Florida to end up at Vero Beach.

Other events: Released the second edition of Colorado 14er Disasters and was awarded my tenth patent for cyber security.

Pretty good year. Party supplies to celebrate pictured below! Tomorrow I start 2017 with a 5K race!

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Jim Detterline


Goodbye Jim Detterline

I read in the last few days that Jim Detterline was recently found deceased. I haven’t heard the details yet, but it is possible he was in a fatal solo climbing accident. He was apparently doing the something he loved and at which he was an unquestioned expert.

One thing not mentioned in news articles I’ve read so far, such as this one, is that not only was he a ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park who had climbed Longs Peak over 400 times, he participated in numerous rescues on this notoriously difficult and treacherous mountain, as well as other rescues in the park. He won the Department of Interior Medal of Valor for one of these rescues.

He was an invaluable resource to me in most of my writing about mountain rescue, contributing to Colorado 14er Disasters, Playing for Real, and an article I wrote for Alpinist magazine, number 5. He wasn’t always happy with what I wrote, mainly because I was too direct for his tastes, but he consistently helped my research despite that disagreement.

He recently retired from the National Park Service and had an all too short retirement. Happy climbing in the afterlife, Jim.

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They’re Here!


Just Received My Copies!

The second edition of Colorado 14er Disasters has arrived! It contains stories in addition to the original, and many new photos. Should be in bookstores soon. For people in Denver, the Colorado Mountain Club bookstore in Golden has copies now. Of course you can always order it on Amazon as well.

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New Edition of Colorado 14er Disasters

Has this hit the bookshelves in Colorado yet?

My publisher said it would probably be on bookshelves around mid-September. Curious as to whether anyone has seen this new edition yet.

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The Fate of Harrison Fast

Speed Flying
Speed Flying Can Be Dangerous

I was very peripherally involved in the search for Harrison Fast last spring. He was a young extreme sports enthusiast from Boulder who practiced the new sport of speed flying. This is when you get moving down a mountain slope on skis at a high rate of speed and then deploy a steerable parachute that lifts you up in the air to fly down the mountain. It looks to me to be extremely fun. And dangerous. Harrison disappeared near Jungfrau in Switzerland while speed flying with a group of companions.

After his companions lost sight of Harrison and he failed to contact them, they knew something needed to be done. However, they found themselves in a quandary: Harrison and his companions were doing something that is illegal in the park. This may have caused them to avoid reporting it to the authorities right away, although it is highly unlikely this made any difference in Harrison’s fate. Authorities in Switzerland were reluctant to search in what was turning into marginal weather conditions for a helicopter, the only practical means of finding him.

His family and the Boulder company he worked for organized an extensive effort headquarted in Colorado to search for him, utilizing hobby unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to search. They were able to acquire the drones and the people to fly them, and got them to Switzerland. Their search effort was both innovative and resourceful, though in the end they had no more clues than when they started.

Soon they ran out of time and funds and accepted the inevitable. It was a very sad ending for someone who was so obviously loved by many.

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Colorado 14er Disasters – Second Edition (2016)

It’s been eight years since I originally wrote “Colorado 14er Disasters.” Last year I partnered with the CMC Press and Mountaineers Books to publish the second edition which should be available September 1 here! The second edition contains new stories and photos of accidents and mishaps on the 14ers, as well as updates to some of the original stories. Because the first edition stories were an excellent representation of archetypal mountaineering accidents, all of the original material is included in the second edition.

Read and stay safe!

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Colorado Publisher Disaster

Dr. Evil

“Publishing can be evil!”

And I was a “victim of the game,” at least until last Monday. That is when I finally got a settlement from the publisher of my book Colorado 14er Disasters: Victims of the Game, because they committed flagrant fraud (in my opinion). I won’t mention them by name in this posting but they are a Boulder publishing company and their Big, Earthy name is easy to find simply by googling my book title.

What happened? Well, by contract they were supposed to pay me royalties every 6 months, something that they never did in the 6 years they had control of my work. They did pay me once in a while, but never on schedule. That was maddening enough, but what follows is worse.

The paperback version of my book was first printed in 2009, before ebook delivery systems like Kindle became popular. But ebooks were quickly becoming very popular. My contract with the crooked publishing company anticipated ebook sales and granted me a much larger royalty for ebooks, 40% vs 12% for the paperback. This makes sense though, it costs the publisher virtually nothing to “publish” an ebook. There are no materials to manage and no distribution to worry about.

I noticed a Kindle version of my book being sold on Amazon in 2010. I visited my publisher, sat in a chair directly across the desk from her and asked about the Kindle version. She looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t know anything about it.” I thus assumed that Amazon just converted existing books to ebook form and sold them on their own initiative, and that they would pay the publisher as they sold.

This was a bad assumption on my part. Amazon told me they never do that nor have they ever automatically published books on Kindle. The publisher had to take direct action to create a Kindle book.

My few and far between royalty statements never indicated ebooks being sold at all over the next couple years. I asked the publisher how much they were making on Kindle books and she told me, “I haven’t seen any money from Amazon.

By 2012, I asked that my statement include ebook sales as they could no longer deny they were being sold. I have a statement from November, 2012 that shows two categories, paperback and ebook sales. Paperback sales were relatively good, ebook sales showed zero books sold. ZERO!

For the next two years I asked to be paid and was essentially told “the check’s in the mail,” even though it wasn’t. Finally, at the beginning of 2015 we decided we’d put the hammer down and end this nonsense.

For three months, Shelly leaned on them, even going as far as showing up at their office and demanding statements. She got a bit of money and a statement, but not the full amount.

The statement showed they had been selling ebooks for more than five years!

I then filed a lawsuit demanding my back royalties (in the thousands of dollars range), interest and fees, and demanded that our contract be nullified. In mediation they thought about this for about one minute and agreed.

This publisher is still in business but they no longer are allowed to sell my book. There are still new paperback copies out there in the pipeline, and I’m sure used copies will be sold for a while.

I did republish on Kindle under my name and so the book is available there indefinitely. It’s an improved version with color pictures rather than the black-and-white copies from the paperback format.

And because I own the title now, I’m thinking of publishing a new volume with follow-ups to the original stories and new material: Colorado 14er Disasters Redux!


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