"For a time he belonged to this world, now he belongs to the mountains"

     A couple of days ago W called me and was telling me that one of his best friends just died, that he'd checked facebook and all of a sudden his friends name had been tagged and a news article was attached talking about a ski accident. I knew who this person was, and my heart raced a bit as I said "wait what, what do you mean he's dead". The feeling of  surrealism when these things happens is so incredible strong, one day someones there and the next day they're not. I too found out on facebook that one of my friends died and it's actually the worst way to discover things like this, if there even is a good way? There isn't like a button to push on your phone that immediately sends out a message to all your friends that someone died, especially when your friends are spread all over the country, maybe even outside the country too. 

     I only met him once, at a wedding, the first time I met a big crowd of W's old friends, all of them sharing stories of past adventures in this world, we laughed and had fun, but that's a pretty good memory I would say. I've talked with W about this, how someone that I don't really know can affect me so strongly, the fact that it hits me right in the heart. He and W are (were) pretty alike, they are both dark haired bearded outdoor men that shares a passion for the backcountry, and when W and I have talked about our wedding ceremony for our family and friends that we will have (since we got married at the courthouse) his name is always one of the first that he has mentioned. So, even though I didn't know him per see he was always included in our conversation, in W's life. He is one of the people W has adventured with, they've learned and taught each other things as they grew up to the men they are today, and as always once we are grown up we spread and go to different parts of world. I think this is also one of the reasons I feel it so strongly, because it could have been W, and W feels the same, that it could have been his dad, or anyone else who ventures out in the backcountry every now and then. These are people who have done this their whole life, who partially live for this, this is where their passion lies. Everyone are a bit puzzled by the details and as always we shouldn't always trust the stories that the media hang on to.

     It has also made me think about how vulnerable we are as human beings, how we can only handle so much, how we don't have an outer shell that will protect us from accidents. When you are in the backcountry, you are far away from help sometimes, and unfortunately there wasn't enough time for him, and the trek wasn't easy enough for help to arrive faster.  I can't even imagine how hard this must be for everyone involved and left behind, I've only scraped a tiny bit on the surface of his life and still have gotten so emotional, and the only thing we can do is to say we are sorry for their loss, but sometimes that is enough too. There is so much sadness in the whole story. I read a story from one of the people from his job and he wrote something beautiful

"He was a true mountain mystic. For a time he belonged to this world. Now he belongs to the mountains" - Michael Hatch
W to the right and his friend to the left, photo courtesy Nicole. S

W to the right and his friend to the left, photo courtesy Nicole. S

Posted on March 11, 2016 and filed under The great wide open.