I first met Tap when he co-led the first NOLS expedition up Mt. McKinley (Denali) in 1971 along with Ken Clanton. I found him to be a skilled and compassionate leader who was an incredible role model. The nearly 40 day expedition up the Muldrow Glacier route had all the challenges a leader would want and then some. Bad weather, air-drop snafus, and a fatal accident were enough to challenge any leader but Tap handled the issues as well and anyone could.
Tap and I crossed paths one more time before he received the Paul Petzoldt Award in 1988. He was an instructor during my NOLS Instructor course in 1974 and taught us how to pack horses for food re-rationing of NOLS courses. It was only one or two days that he spent with us but they were memorable although I don’t think I could do a diamond hitch today. :-)
I saw Tap once or twice since 1988 at WEA gatherings of one sort or another. He was always the picture of health and looked as if he was living a healthy life. Tap Tapley was a very special person. Not just because he, like Paul, was a wilderness education pioneer but because he was a hell of nice guy who helped me learn a lot about the outdoors and leadership.
Read more about Tap HERE.