Paul Petzoldt, New Year’s Day, 1974, Grand Teton


I was writing a profile of him for FORTUNE magazine. We first met in a bar in Dubois, Wyoming — “Where God spends his vacation!” according to a billboard on the road. A little girl came in, took one look at Petzoldt and said “Are you the government? You look like the government.” He first climbed the Grand Teton in 1924 when he was 16, and thereafter he made a winter ascent that aimed to summit on New Year’s Day almost every year. We hiked four days on X-country skis, over 6 feet of snow, and then slept in snow caves on the col for two nights, but we did not summit in 1974. I think he is 66 in this photo.

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