Dear Friends and Readers,

The first draft of Madness: Chasing a Legendary Killer across the Last Frontier is finally finished after two years of effort.

It is still very much a rough draft, and there's a considerable amount of re-writing to be done, but at least it's a complete account of the 1932 manhunt and my winter retracing of Albert Johnson's route across the Richardson Mountains.

For those of you who have been so supportive and patient, I thank you with all my heart. After this, I'm done with nonfiction for a while - I can finally return to the adventures of the Burns Brothers and other fiction projects. That's something I've been looking forward to for a long, long time.

As the title implies, MADNESS was a painful endeavor. I found nonfiction to be very difficult to write. With the Burns Brothers, everything just spills out of my imagination, steered by the stories and experiences of friends and acquaintances. MADNESS, on the other hand, required tremendous exertion to research and put down on paper, both physical and emotional, not to mention the two trips to the Arctic in the dead of winter.

But the most difficult part was trying to find the time and energy to write. My job as a prosecutor and my wonderful, growing family take up almost every free moment. Added to that, there's my soul to feed, which requires time in the mountains.

So far this year, I'm ashamed to say, I've only managed to get into the big mountains on two occasions. Once for my annual birthday ski descent of Torres Peak's Dead Dog Couloir, and the second time for an attempt at a complete ski descent of Mt. Rainier. The Dead Dog was as spectacular as always, carving high-speed turns down the steep, 1,500-foot couloir under bluebird skis. Rainier was outrageously beautiful but far more brutal - I felt every one of my almost 40 years quite intensely. I'm used to climbing Colorado's 14ers, which only require four or five thousand feet of elevation gain. Rainier, on the other hand, demands more than nine thousand feet of vertical and a high camp (meaning in addition to axes and ropes and skis, you need to carry bivy sacks, sleeping bags, stoves, etc.).

My friend Vince and I managed to crampon all the way to the summit of Rainier while carrying our skis, yet were only able to ski half of the descent due to extreme avalanche and crevasse danger. Still, what an incredible mountain! We staggered off exhausted and happy, already planning another attempt to ski the whole thing.



As always, I hope you are getting outside and seeing what remains of the Earth's wilder places.

Thanks for all of your friendship and support,
- Clinton

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