By Donna Parker
Dave Pasley ’77 was just a kid when he first got the urge to “climb every mountain.” It was in the 1960s, while on vacation with his parents, that Dave stared wistfully at a Western mountain peak wishing he could be “up there.”
Fast forward 40 years – Dave recently became the 308th person known to have climbed to the uppermost point of all 48 contiguous states. It was his 52nd birthday when he set foot on the summit of Nevada’s Boundary Peak in July of last year with his 18-year-old son Clayton (nicknamed Tex). Tex has been with his Dad on 44 state summits, and wife Betsy Gerhardt Pasley ’77 has joined him on 12 highpoints.
“There is euphoria because you’re on top of the world, but there is just as much fun planning the journey to get there,” says this erstwhile “high-pointer” who has had his fair share of adventures.
“There was a time in Colorado when I took off to climb by myself and got lost. I slipped and fell crossing a big patch of snow and was sliding fast on my back downhill. I dug my heels in to get some traction and just managed to keep myself from going over the edge!”
Even these near mishaps haven’t scared him away from chasing his dream.
“Our next trip is the Grand Canyon. My goal is to go from the south to the north rim and back, traversing the canyon.”
But don’t think his head is always in the clouds. After graduating from Trinity, with a degree in journalism, Dave got a master’s degree in public administration and spent more than 20 years working in local government. Semi-retired now, he works as a part-time reporter for a newspaper in Boerne. His love for writing is something he shares with wife Betsy, also a journalism major, whom he met at Trinity.
“We joke that Betsy and I first slept together in Hal Barger’s political science class, sophomore year,” he says.
Shortly after their marriage in 1978, they moved to Dave’s hometown in Missouri, but San Antonio beckoned and they returned “home” in 1981, giving them a chance to reconnect with their Trinity roots.
“When Betsy and I were juniors we started jogging with a group mostly of professors that included guys like Hal Barger, department of political science; Jim Stoker, department of art; John Donohue, department of sociology and anthropology; Doug Brackenridge, department of religion; Ken Hummel, department of mathematics; Scott Baird, department of English; and Dave Oliver, department of sociology and anthropology. After the run we frequently enjoyed refreshments at the Bombay Bicycle Club and we started calling ourselves the Bombay Bicycle Club Joggers Association. If you’d have told me back then that Hal Barger and I would eat breakfast together every Saturday and be great friends 30 years later, I never would have believed you!”
Dave’s next climb is never very far from his mind. “I want to do Mt. McKinley and that takes about 21 days to summit. That’s a whole different peak!”
You can e-mail Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.