Joe Patty Mountain Chef & Comic

Joe was born in Reno, Nevada, on November 2, 1962, the second of eight children. He moved to Visalia, California, in 1970. He graduated from Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia in 1980. Joe was the valedictorian of his high school class. He played in several sports, but he was most active in the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Joe’s brother, Chris, remembers him traveling many times for milk judging events, etc.

He and Chris both began their careers in health care as Surgical Technicians, having attended San Joaquin Valley College in Visalia. After that, Joe graduated from the College of the Sequoias RN program and later California State University, Fresno.

Joe was always the prankster. Things like adding dead or live snakes to his brother’s cars. He packed a lot of activity into his 43 years, hardly ever at rest. He truly loved the high Sierra, and loved cooking.

We lost Joe in 2005 but he will always be remembered.



Joe (3rd from right) and the damn bear containers. We have only used these on one trip. In the many many years on this event there has never been any problem other than Marmots. Joe Really hated hauling his container. The extra weight was bad, but he did like the way it protected the crackers we use for the appetizers! Left to right - Malcolm, Todd, Mike, Joe, Brad, Eric.


The Cat Food Caper
Every year we would start the evening with appetizers. Eric always LOVED everything. Joe did create some really tasty stuff. But sometimes the ingredients were kind of gross and slimy. Every now and then there would be something that most of the group could not stomach.... except guess who... Eric. He would always act like it was the best thing he had ever eaten.

So one year someone talked Joe into bringing along a can of cat food. The sole purpose, to get a picture of Eric eating it on a cracker with a dash of basil and maybe some Tabasco. Every day we were pushing Joe to make Fancy Feast on a Ritz. Finally, on the last day, he was going to do it. He had everything ready. Eric had been acting his typical self so there was much anticipation that he was going to take a bite of Tuna Pate that Morris would give up his Nine Lives to get.

There we were, it was time, the camera was ready, Eric was hungry. Did I mention that Eric was Joe's best friend? Well he was because Joe could not bear to do that to his friend. Once it became obvious that Joe was breaking down, we tried to get him away from the scene. This had to be done.

But to our dismay, Joe won out. Friendship was stronger than Tuna in this instance.

Making tacos. One of the most outstanding treats that I ever had. Joe was the master!
Left to right, Brian, Malcolm, Brad (standing) and Joe.


My first Trans-Sierra - One of many stories from this epic first (rookie) trip.

I will never forget my first Joe encounter. It was my first Trans-Sierra hike. I was quite intimidated by the whole thing, a really big group of guys. I only knew my hiking buddy, Mike Beers.

Mike had told me many stories from the trip he did with Eric the previous year to talk me into going with him and the group. He kept referring to this guy who was some kind of back country comic.

So, here I was, with about 10 guys I did not know, and Eric acting like the Commanding Officer, ordering everybody around kind of stuff, but this one guy just seemed to keep jabbing back at Eric (and he was really funny), but kind of behind his was Joe. I found him to be totally approachable and he was so nice. We were friends by that evening, my first great friend of many that has come from that group. He had the right attitude. And then I found out that he cooked too...and it was
Very Good! Way better than I had ever imagined you could get in the back country.

That trip had several choice moments. Joe was always just hanging in there. At one time we were in a HUGE storm. It dumped several inches of rain and then hail in about 2 hours. Tents were flooded, people were freezing cold and wet, and no way to make a fire. What saved the day? Dinner!!! We would crowd around Joe's tent and help. He would sit inside
and create to meal and the rest of us would do whatever he needed. Just like a chef, he would give us tasks. And, he would be doing stand-up comedy from the tent as he prepared the food.


Reflection Lake ... and the hike down.

We were just talking about this years trans-sierra trip. The route has been modified to include a stop at Reflection Lake I will never forget Joe when we first went to Reflection. The hike was scary. We were struggling to get across a very rough area. Joe kept saying prayers. Hail Marys. Then he suddenly got so happy. I later found that he monitored how much danger were were in by the amount of pictures that Eric was taking. He said he was so happy and said "We are going to LIVE". Huh? I responded. He said "I checked out Eric, he is taking pictures again, that means he is comfortable we are past the
tough part". He was just too funny. There is a picture of Joe with a bunch of bandanas tied onto his tent. That was at Reflection Lake after that tough day. He called them prayer flags.

What a guy!

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
~Kahlil Gibran


We wanted to drop into Reflection Lake but our first two options were not really feasible so we just found a route on our own. We were dropping from the Kern Plateau into the Kings Canyon National Park, crossing the Great Western Divide. The route we ended up choosing was a bit technical, but it appeared to be the only way we could get down. So down we went. See Joe on the far left as Brian climbs down? Malcolm and Brad are watching.

The route was really long. It took a couple hours as I remember. The top was the toughest! It was good to get through that section.

Right to left - Malcolm, Mike, and Joe

Joe and Brian at Reflection Lake


On Top of Rolling Rock Pass

Left to right - Brad, Todd, Mike, Joe