P is for Petzoldt

Having lived now in Wyoming and Montana for nearly 8 years, I've come to really appreciate and love the climbing history that surrounds me. I recently finished a wonderful book called "Teton Tales and Other Petzoldt Anecdotes", which is a brief memoir of sorts from Paul Petzoldt. It was a quick read, but only because the stories were so close to home, and so comfortably shared by the man who lived them.

Petzoldt started climbing pretty early and had a good common sense approach to safety and order which manifested itself in the climbing commands still in use by climbers today around the world ("On belay!"). He pretty much set the standards known today as minimum-impact camping, and taught those principles to thousands over the years through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the Wilderness Education Association (WEA). In the introduction to Petzoldt's book, his friend Kevin Cassidy summed up the simple lessons Paul shared: know where you are going, watch your step, look around the bend, and pay attention to what you have left behind—good advice back then, and probably even more so today.

Anyway - having now finished the book and done some additional reading up on the guy, it made my day when I came across this footage of Paul along with a wonderful overview of his work with NOLS. The video below was re-discovered at the NOLS headquarters and cleaned up and posted online. It's a bit rough, but the message comes through clear enough. 

See also: An article on Paul Petzoldt from Life Magazine in 1969.

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