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Across the world, his wandering life is on the rise

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News River Falls,Wisconsin 54022 http://www.riverfallsjournal.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/0704.N.RFJ_.Snyder1.jpg?itok=jvjOWyvL
River Falls Journal
715-425-5666 customer support
Across the world, his wandering life is on the rise
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Everest, check. Aconcagua, check. McKinley, check.

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Up next, way up: Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Elbrus (Russia); Vinson (Antarctica); and Carstensz Pyramid (New Guinea)

For mountaineer Roger Snyder, a 1982 River Falls High School graduate, it’s three up and down, and four to scale when it comes to the world’s seven tallest peaks.

Even then, there’s some minor climbs for a bit more practice.

“I still need to do Rainier (state of Washington) at least once, and I will try to visit the Alps (Mount Blanc), and spend more time down in South America,” he said. “I am also climbing Granite Peak (Montana) and Gannett Peak (Wyoming) this summer.

“I have yet to summit Mt. Rainier, as my one attempt was turned around by avalanche conditions.”

By his own admission the 48-year-old Snyder lives a nomadic life.

And since 2010, he’s sought out the ends of the world to elevate himself atop the loftiest summits.

“I just enjoy it and for the accomplishment,” he said. “It's majestic, peaceful, physically and mentally challenging, sometimes scary.

“I like facing the elements of Mother Nature, and I prefer cold-weather sports. Sitting on a hot beach is way down low on my list of pleasures.

“(On Everest) a lot of people were scared in the ‘Ice Fall’ -- a 2,000 foot drop of glacier with shifting ice boulders and great blocks of overhanging ice -- but I loved it. Believe it or not, some climbers actually gave up at base camp when they saw the Ice Fall, without even attempting it.”

Snyder was born in Louisiana. He moved to River Falls as kindergartner.

His parents, Gary and Eleanor Snyder, also had three older daughters who graduated from River Falls High School: Renee, 1975; Carrie, 1977; and Linda, 1979.

Carrie Cernohous still lives in River Falls with her husband Dean.

Snyder’s long had an affinity for the outdoors. Summer vacations were spent in rural, forested Montana, where his parents are from, and grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins still lived.

As he grew older and after four years of U.S. Army service, Snyder got into backpacking, especially taking wilderness expeditions out West.

Usually alone, he would hike, fish and camp out.

“Physically, it was good for me,” he said. “The exercise, being out in the clear air. I brought books to read wherever I was.

“I did the backpacking trips for the serenity, and for the time and place it gave me to think about my career path, and just for pondering.”

Not all of Snyder’s journeys were over flatland.

“I would sometimes climb a small, local peak during a backpack trip, such as Eagle Cap in Oregon,” he said. “Mountain climbing became the next progression. I had some plans back in 2004 to start with climbs of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I was finally able to climb them.”

During his early spring 2013 ascent of Mt. Everest in the Himalayas of Nepal, Snyder carried a hometown symbol -- a River Falls High School banner.

He wanted to have the hometown souvenir while scaling the world’s highest peak at over 29,000 feet. Everest climbers often bring such memorabilia.

Snyder had trouble getting his hands on the school banner until his boyhood buddy Bryant Ekstrom, now a River Falls police officer, contacted RFHS Principal Elaine Baumann.

She got a school banner to Ekstrom who promptly sent it by FedEx. The banner reached Snyder the day before he left San Francisco airport bound for Everest.

For the complete story on Roger Snyder, please see the July 4 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

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Phil Pfuehler
Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
(715) 426-1050
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