by jerry roberts, posted in art ~ film ~ pop cultureenvironment & scienceliterature ~ poetrymountain ~ desert ~ ocean ~ news & stories ~tall tales & stories of the san juans


Crédito total, rŌbert

Tim Lane relaxing in the Official INSTAAR Car (Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research) & also known as The Golden Calf, on Red Mountain Pass, winter 1980.  Not enough snow for skiing so we drove the passes recklessly in the Dodge Coronet 440 stolen from Richard & Betsy Armstrong during the drought winter of 1980-81. …. safety issue!! Bald tires.


“The photo of the INSTAAR Dodge is
truely priceless !!   Alpine Scientific Bohemianism
from the road. Japhy Ryder weeps !” 

Burnie Arndt 

How sneaky of you & Tim to have taken the project vehicle without permission..

Betsy Armstrong

Betsy, Mark Udall.

A few years later I didn’t give Jerry and Tim permission to take/borrow an Outward Bound van for a night in Leadville. Somehow the van ended up in a snow bank in the middle of a lodgepole forest near the OB base camp…I reluctantly had to place Jerry and Tim on the “No Hire list”(eg i fired them) for awhile. We have laughed about it a number of times since. And early on in my OB when I wasn’t The Man (in the OB management team), I committed my share of possible No Hire offenses. Oh, youth. Happy Holidays. And I love that Jerry Roberts

Mark Udall 

Great photo.  Throughout the west the driest winter on record was 76-77.  Chris George called  me and said “Don’t cancel the course on RMP.  There is collapsing everywhere.”  The second driest year was 80-81, thanks Jerry, part of me still lives in the San Juans.

Rod Newcomb

Jerry, that car should be gilded and put on display in Silverton’s town square.   Great photo!  

Peter Lev


The early ’70’s were the Age of Enlightenment for a certain crowd of seekers and pilgrims.

Stir in a shot of Chogyam Trungpa  Rinpoche’s  Tibetan  Pisco and stand back ……!

Abuelo Wells wrote of another Right of Passage; Frank Buckley’s Eskimo Ski Club 

Winter Park Ski train….”sex, crime, fun, psychic trauma, it was all there”!

There were many paths taken back then.  All lead to Mountains…

Who said “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” ?

The Golden Calf is forever patrolling the grades and curves of Red Mountain Pass in my mind.

Whoever wrote “Phantom 309” for Red Sovine and Tom Waits should have written a “Golden Calf” song as well….

Wally Berg

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