On Jack Olsen

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A classic George Ostrom column, from February, 1970...

With this column we begin the ninth year as the Hungry Horse News columnist from the Hog Heaven country.

The first column was published Feb. 2, 1962. I was a new-frontiersman in Senator Metcalf’s Washington D.C. office and we were there to help President Kennedy right the wrongs of our time. Someone once said, “What is past is prologue,”… so be it.

There hasn’t been time for me to thoroughly digest and evaluate Jack Olsen’s book, “Night of the Grizzlies,” but I have received an autographed copy.

By and large it is well written. I found the part dealing with me quite accurate but took exception to a passage where I did considerable cussing. Iris, however, says that I do get pretty ornery when I lose my temper and she thinks I probably said worse things than Olsen mentions in the book, so maybe I got off lucky.

There have been few times in my life when I was as angry as I was at Granite Park the day the rangers were shooting at the cubs. I got even madder when a high ranking official tried to tell me, two days later, that no one had ever considered shooting the cubs. Now I am getting mad all over again, so let’s change the subject.

Jack Olsen has written a book entitled “The Climb up to Hell.”

He wrote it in 1962 and it deals with a fateful attempt to climb the north face of the Eiger, highest limestone mountain in Europe and part of the Jungfrau Massif. It is one of the finest books I have read on mountain climbing.

There are several parallels to the Eiger and Mount Cleveland. There are some differences in the technical problems, but the basic reasons for climbing them are the same.

We had a small problem at the Ostrom’s tonight. Earlier today my brother and his wife gave Heidi a pony. That made things very exciting and Heidi’s little sister and little brother were involved in the excitement.

This evening I showed Heidi how to clean and condition the saddle with saddle soap, then while Heidi was calling all her friends on the phone, I sat down to read the paper. Suddenly, there was a loud crash…then silence…then some loud crying.

In the upstairs hallway, six year old Wendy was pinned beneath the old Strawberry Road hickory chair and Clark explained how it happened. “We saddled da stool but it wasn’t high anuff so we put it on a back of the chair and Wendy got bucked off.”

Wendy is not the kind that gives up easily, so right now I am trying to figure out whether her next black eye or bruised shin will come from trying to ride Old Piano Stool, Bucking Bannister or the Dangerous Davenport.

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