15-Dec-96 (List Finish)
By: Terry Richard
A bitter north wind and a mix-up along the trail couldn't prevent 68-year-old Jeanette Vincent of Prescott, Ariz., from topping out on Chemehuevi Peak and completing her 97th desert peak on Dec. 15, 1996. Vincent was presented with a plaque on the summit to commemorate the moment for what must have been one of the quickest completions by one of the oldest climbers to finish the list. Vincent and climbing partner Ted Brasket, also of Prescott, only learned of the official DPS list in January 1994 when they ordered the climbing guide. By then, they had wandered unknowingly up 17 of the listed peaks, but the driving and climbing information in the guide encouraged them to methodically continue to climb them all. Brasket, 65, completed the list May 15, 1996, when he and Vincent summitted Mexico's Picacho del Diablo. Vincent could have chosen a more interesting list finisher than Chemehuevi, but she wanted to share the moment with two friends from Oregon. Chemehuevi fit better into her friends' schedule than into her own. The Oregonians, my wife Randi and me, warmed up for the big day by joining Brasket and Vincent for a couple of climbs near Prescott. Eager to show off the local hills, the Prescott residents guided us on climbs of 7,627-foot Granite Mountain at the edge of town and 5,700-foot Kirkland Mountain about 20 miles away. Both were as difficult - and enjoyable - as many of the peaks on the official list. Dec. 15 dawned clear, but windy, in the Colorado desert across the river from Lake Havasu City, Ariz. The polar front that was beginning to move south from Canada was pushing some cold air in front of it. Ted led the way on the standard route acres the desert flats to Chemehuevi, pausmg to wait for his wife, Lon, who usually accompanies him until the climbing gets difficult. As quick as Ted could say "go on ahead, I'11 catch up,' the "desert rats' from Oregon led Vincent left when they should have gone right. Although the party got split up, members were reunited on the summit where they hunkered down out of the wind and posed for photos with Vincent and her plaque. Vincent, who only began climbing m her mid-50s, numbers all the Colorado 14ers among her 350 summits. She likes the desert peaks much more than Colorado because they don't have any snow, only one requires a backpack and because headlamp starts before dawn aren't necessary. To crown her success, Vincent climbed Whipple Mountain the next day. She didn't need the summit, but her Oregon friend did. After learning of the DPS list about the same time as Jeanette, I'm up to 55 summits. Most have come during airplane/rental car trips to Las Vegas or Phoenix - anything to escape the rain of Oregon. Being an Outdoor writer for The Oregonian, Portland's daily newspaper, I climb in the Northwest during summer and get paid to do it. I climb in the desert during winter because I love it.
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