Jim Bartle

I’ve very much enjoyed reading the other bios, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
After drifting a bit after finishing college (teaching tennis on the Peninsula for Stanford coach Dick Gould, backpacking all over the Sierras), I took a trip to Peru in 1977 with the transparent excuse of improving my Spanish, but really to hike in the spectacular Cordillera Blanca mountains. One thing led to another, and I ended up writing the first trail guide to the range (plus the even more beautiful Huayhuash range just to the south). Ever since I’ve been publishing books on Peru, not just on the mountains in central Peru but also the Machu Picchu/Vilcabamba region and a little on the Amazon rainforest. In the meantime I got deeply involved in the often combative politics of conservation of natural areas in the country. (And in recent years, fighting for public access to the mountains for hikers and climbers.)
Overall living down here has been interesting and challenging. I’ve certainly met and worked with many fascinating people, been to many beautiful  places, and I think I’ve made some contributions. Still I miss many things about the US, including a lot most people simply take for granted.
My wife Guisella (a biologist, the daughter and granddaughter of German and Italian immigrants who colonized the central jungle region in the early 1900s) and I were married in 1992, and we have a daughter Kimberley (16) and twin boys David and Christian (10 and, uh, 10). In general I was able to deal with living in such a different culture for a long time (It became a LOT easier when Internet access became common; you can never appreciate the value of the Internet until you’ve lived in a Third World country), but now I find it much more difficult as the children grow up. School and child-rearing is so different here that I sometimes feel lost. I sometimes think it’s time to move back to the US if I can find the right job (not so easy), and get a better education for the kids.
Some of you who knew my parents may not know that they died in a hotel fire in Zurich in October 1968. Two people who supported me at the time, for which I am forever indebted, were Gretchen Newburgh, who was living in the dorm next to mine, and Andy Wolfe, who came down from Berkeley when he heard the news.
I can’t find any good recent photos of the family at the moment, so I’ll just send in a couple of Peru mountain photos taken a few years ago. The first is of Alpamayo, whose face is climbed by probably 500 people a year. (My friends climbed it with no problem; turned out to be too terrifying for me.) The second is of my favorite peak, Huantsan, which rises more than 7,000 ft. above the valley floor.

Note:    Please get in touch with Jim at jbartle@terra.com.pe.

(the third image is titled "JIRISHANCA" - webmaster)