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Pioneering Climbing Guide Jim Goodwin Dead at 101

Jim Goodwin on his first summit
A 9-year-old Jim Goodwin on top of his first summit, Hopkins Mountain.

Adriondacks climbing pioneer and guide Jim Goodwin passed away on April 7 at the age of 101.

Goodwin was 11 when he began guiding hikers up the peaks of the Adriondacks, charging as little as 50 cents a day. He went on to establish rock and ice routes throughout the east, including the first winter ascent of Mt. Colden's Trap Dike in 1935, and served as an instructor and medic for the Army's 10th Mountain Division during World War II. 

Goodwin's name is especially associated with Mt. Marcy, the highest peak in New York State. He began guiding the mountain in 1922, making almost 200 trips to the summit over the decades. In his autobiography, And Gladly Guide, Goodwin called Mt. Marcy "my speciality and even a Holy symbol." 

Friends and family of Goodwin said that even after his first ascents on rock, Goodwin's favorite activity was leading hikers through the mountains. Brett Lawrence, a hunting and fishing guide in New York's Keene Valley, told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that Goodwin was a guide "in more ways than one."

"He didn't guide people just up the mountains," Lawrence said. "He guided them in the ways of life. He guided them spiritually." 

--Adam Roy

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