Just days after his 70th birthday, Jon Fredland took another step forward. The Nampa man climbed his 3,000th mountain peak, a feat that bears witness to countless days spent in the great outdoors.
Fredland and a group of friends and family climbed Trinity Mountain, a 9,451-foot mountain in the Boise National Forest. Fredland said he was looking for a peak high enough to escape the smoke from the wildfires that plagued Treasure Valley for much of the summer. But other than that, he said in a phone interview, he hasn’t given much thought to the selection of the Capital Mountain.
“I do so many peaks, it came to me so fast,” said Fredland. “Suddenly, the next trip, it’s going to be over there. “
Idaho Peakbagger claims long list of feats
Fredland’s love for the outdoors started early. He grew up in Southern California where he was a Boy Scout and also got involved with the Sierra Club. He could be in the Santa Monica Mountains in a matter of minutes or swimming in the Pacific Ocean in an equally short time.
“I had to decide if I was an ocean guy or a mountain guy – and the mountains won,” said Fredland. “Going up the mountain was something special. “
He continued his mountain explorations in Utah while attending Weber State University. There he instilled his love of hiking and mountaineering in his fellow students.
“The first thing I noticed about him when I met him in college (was that) he knew exactly where the trail was, he knew how steep the terrain was,” said Jeff Gray, who met Fredland in college and climbed Trinity Mountain with him. August 4.
With the know-how of Fredland, the friends would go on frequent expeditions in the Wasatch chain.
“We were in the mountains seven days a week, either in canyons or on top of peaks,” Gray said. “When it snowed, we went to the desert mountains. “
After college, Fredland worked as a manager for Kmart and moved across the West, spending time in Bend, Oregon; Casper, Wyoming and Tucson, Arizona, among others.
At each location, he made a point of exploring the nearby mountains. A self-proclaimed “peakbagger” (Fredland’s license plate even says PKBAGR), he methodically recorded each climb in a series of notebooks that now serve as a scrapbook of his accomplishments.
Their pages contain photographs, reflections, and descriptions of peaks like Picacho del Diablo, the highest point in Baja California; Castle Rock in Oregon (“It’s an Island in the Sky”) and the Sierra Nevada Range, which is Fredland’s favorite.
Fredland is Idaho’s “Jonny Register”
Of course, Fredland’s prolific climbs extend as far as Idaho, where he has lived since 1988. This is how he met another climber who accompanied him on his ascent of Trinity Mountain: Tom Lopez, author of “Idaho: A Climbing Guide” and founder of the website of the same name.
“I was climbing peaks in the Trinity Mountains and the first two I did I found cookie box records,” Lopez recalls in a phone interview. “(Jon has) left logs everywhere, always in boxes of cookies. I saw the name, so when I got home I looked on Facebook and found it.
The two have been climbing together ever since, Fredland leaving cookie box logs – logbooks that climbers must sign when they reach a summit – along the way. Gray jokingly calls Fredland “Jonny Register,” a play about Johnny Appleseed.
For Fredland, registers were a way to make his mark.
“Around here, if you find some of these records, there’s a good chance I’m the guy who put them there,” he said.
He was inspired by the famous mountaineer Norman Clyde, who set records and made his first climbs around the Sierra Nevada and other mountain ranges in the mid-1900s.
“You climb a hard mountain that takes four days to get to… and at the top here is a little pile of rocks and a little box of foil (with a register that says) Norman Clyde,” said Fredland. “When you see that, you just say ‘Yeah buddy, sign me up for that.’ So maybe someone will find mine in 2120 and wonder ‘Who is this guy?’ “
His friends believe that Fredland will be remembered for more than his records at the top.
“I doubt that many people make 3,000 climbs. That puts him in a fairly small group of people, ”Lopez said.
“I felt great for Jon (climbing Trinity Mountain),” he said. “I knew Jon had put his heart and soul into climbing mountain peaks. That’s quite an accomplishment – 3,000 peaks in one lifetime.
Fredland said the support of his friends made the summit of Trinity Mountain special, but a month later he’s already taken that step. Since its 3000th summit, it has climbed more than a dozen additional mountains.
“It’s really just another summit along the way,” he said.