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Lost a friend

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Lost a friend

Postby oldranger » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:21 am

Last night I learned of the passing of a good friend, Duncan Hollar. His tenure in the Sierra was short, one season as the Roaring River Ranger and a couple of years as a permanent ranger in Yosemite before completing his NPS career in the east at New River Gorge National River.

Duncan preceeded my 7 season tenure at Roaring River. He loved horses and reveled being a "stock ranger." At the same time he understood and practiced minimum impact with stock. During my tenure at Roaring River I often reveiwed his log and noted how he frequently lamented that stock users were their "own worst enemy" and that he took pride and effort in trying to teach minimum impact stock use.

Those of you who were backpacking in the early 80's remember that 83 was a huge snow year. The Big Meadow Road to the Roaring River/Sugarloaf/Ranger Lakes Trailhead was not open for the 4th of July weekend. That year I was stationed out of Rowell Meadow and skied and postholed my way into the station. Duncan was flown into Roaring River. Not willing to pass up a chance to play for pay I called Duncan on the radio and suggest we climb Brewer during the weekend since we would be unlikely to have any backcountry travelers. He was game and a day after I hiked in to Roaring River we worked our way up the Moraine and eventually to frozen Big Brewer Lake. The next day was posthole hell until we reached the s summit ridge. As I recall we were not even the first summiters of the season!

Because of the heavy snow the trail crew was late arriving in the area and as a result Duncan and I did much of the logging of the trails in the area, toting his little homelite chainsaw around on our backs. I think that started a trend for the area as I continued to log trails early in the season and in big snow years the maintenance folks even gave me a big saw and sawbox that made it easy to carry the saw on the back of my mule.

Though his time in the Sierra was short Duncan left a lasting impression on me and reinforced my pride in being a ranger who was willing to do whatever was necessary to protect park resources and the safety of the visitors.


Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: Lost a friend

Postby balzaccom » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:52 am

Thanks Mike. That was a lovely post, and honored your friend.

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Lost a friend

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:33 pm

Hi Mike,

Nice post and tribute and one that hits home both for the tribute and the specifics. Last Friday I attended a 'geologist's memorial' for a former student who unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack. Hoisting some Marley at Sequoia Brewing Co. S. was certainly an appropriate way to remember him.

Your post-holing memory of Brewer reminds me of '79 when I was the first one up Brewer that year and it was posthole misery from East Lake to the dramatic (in those conditions) top of the E. Ridge (front pointing).

In any case he sound like a fine outdoorsman and advocate of the wilderness.


Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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