Adventure: Aging Rockers

Forget about golf and shuffleboard. Buff seniors are climbing headwalls and hiking dicey mountain trails

Dick Bass, a Texan who salts his speech with darlin' and dadgum, was 51 years old and clueless about expedition climbing when he decided to summit Mount McKinley in 1981. Bass, the owner of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Utah, had no idea McKinley was among the hardest U.S. climbs. He made the decision to brave the elements after a particularly tough employee pronounced that he would never cut it on the mountain. Bass vowed to prove her wrong. "I didn't even know how to put a tent up," he says. But off he trudged, defiantly.

For 13 days, Bass,...

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