the Clamb, anus clenching adventure

Vincentoli Blanteev
Half Ass Expedition Guide

and G. Mount Da Gomerly



Vincentoli Blanteev and Markus Niermeyer have been hiking on some of the same New England mountains at the same time but never shared a campstove. Through a mutual friend, the highly respected Appalachian mountaineer, Tim Novak, they had heard of each other; Blanteev about the soft spoken Niermeyer and his six month Appalachian Trail expedition: Niermeyer of the maverick cyclist, Blanteev, who had extended his stay in college so he could continue his backpacking conquests, enjoy the frequent keg parties and dodge the real world. Finally, in December 1985 they met for the first time.

We met at a party in Tim Novak's old apartment in Framingham, situated on the banks of the Sudbury River, celebrating the purchase of several twelve packs. There were about six of us, 'lugers, hikers and friends invited to share the brew. Its a small world, that of the New England winter backpacker and many of us knew each other from previous expeditions.

I thought Markus had great potential as a winter peak bagger. I had a chance to hike and party with the most hardcore trail hounds and I felt Niermeyer could hike and party without passing out. I had respect for him like I had for the New Englander Novak, whom I met in fifth grade. Novak, who has summited a bunch of big mountains in New Hampshire with the use of his haebar rolling skills, is in my estimation the highest American hiker.

HAE team meeting
Early party with the future HAE Team. (photo © Vincetoli Blanteev)

From that modest party in 1985, plans were made for the first four man HAE winter expedition, chronicled in the classic story A DAWN OF A NEW AGE ARISES. Year after year the 4 man team continued to hike the great white north, cementing HAE together as the premminent hikers of the snow bound New England wood. But by the winter of 1997 circumstances beyond their control were about to put a two man HAE team, that of only Blanteev and Niermeyer, together for the first time. JB had flown into town on labor day weekend in 1997; and was to be found again at Novak's in his dusty basement swilling beer. Niermeyer was there also. They talked of the situation, and it did not look good. Jim Fife had already bagged out, his absence apparently attributable to work induced stress. Markus was struggling to find other hikers, like Novak, that would enter the northern woods in the winter. Tim was not sounding happy and for the first time in ages was looking like he would not be able to go hiking. Blanteev explained that he was trying to negotiate vacation time and party supplies for an upcoming expedition. They left, adbruptly, when the beer ran out, the issue unresolved. It wasn't until late November, after he figured out that he could hike, did it occur to Blanteev that Markus might want to go hiking as a team.



Hae Markus! It's JB!

JB! What's happening?

Ah you know the usual, hae you wanna go camping this year?

Yah sure I'm up for it, but ah...what about Tim is he going this year?

Naw, he can't go and Fife says he's out too... hae where should we go?

I don't know, how about Maine? will be...The Return To Maine!

All right man, I'm there!

Chapter 3, Finding the Dealer... CLICK

Copyright 2004 John Bellantoni and Tim Novak