Gone, but you’ll always be here.
I’ve tried to start this blog post a couple times now, I keep deleting the first paragraph. Ultimately, I’m left speechless at losing a friend to the mountains.
A week and a half ago my friend Chad was killed while descending Fitz Roy, in southern Patagonia.
I won’t do the justice Chad deserves by trying to describe what an inspiration, friend, and mentor he was, so I’ll just show some pictures and share a few funny stories.
Chad was my big brother of the mountains. And, I’m really going to miss him…
One of Chad’s own photos of him and Dan from the tippy top of Mt. Russell, Sierra Nevada.
Probably laughing at some horrendously dirty “your mom” joke on the top of Mt. Fairview. There was a wedding happening on the summit at the very same time. They probably didn’t appreciate our crass sense of humour. But we sure were having a good bunch of laughs.
Descending from Mt. Fairview I saw this stream of water suddenly appear from the granite. I called Dan over and asked him what was going on. Was water miraculously bubbling forth from the rock? Dan assured me that was NOT what was happening, but rather, I was witnessing for the first time the evidence that apparently Chad can pee while walking? I mean we were all having a conversation on the way down. Wow!
After climbing Mt. Fairview we all made a “love” stop and took some time to call our respective lovers. Here’s Chad on the phone with Mandy.
We had to make a run for the cover of a boulder after encountering a little summer storm on an acclimatization hike in the High Sierra. That is a very smiley face in there Chad!
For someone who’s so darn fit, Chad sure knows how to laze about…
OK, time for a nap.
Like Colin, Chad travels everywhere with a fishing scale. He made me take a photo of the weight of his rope for future reference.
Chad and Dan photo-bomb me from the summit of Mt. Russell. Hehehehe…
Some smiley dudes we encountered on the summit.
Chad showing off his rad ankle burn after our intense car-to-car mission on Mt. Russell.
What a photo.
Dan and Chad getting stoked as they prepare for what will become a 21 hr. ascent of the Regular Route on Half Dome.
Chad. So stoked!
Another smiley face just popped up out of nowhere?
Chad, what a great, great smile.
Hehehe, not stoked.
Stoked. The team on Tenaya Peak.
I’ll finish off with my favourite photo. Chad showing us where to go. When I joined him, Dan, and Steph on this trip, I was a little bit nervous about how I would measure up. He’d just been attempting the speed record on Mt. Everest, how on earth was I going to keep up to this person? But, in the most lovely way, Chad would just trot along at a speed no faster than the rest of us. He wasn’t racing at all, he was just having a good ol’ adventure in the mountains with some buddies. That was it. I learnt a lot from him on that trip, the secret of the CamelBak filled with fruit juice and protein powder, and a few really gross “your mom” jokes come to mind. But mostly I learned that Chad was the kindest soul.
I’m going to include a poem below that someone else already posted on Chad’s Facebook page. But, I think the words included within need to be shared again…
Death is nothing at all. It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral