STOLEN DAY IN HEAVEN

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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 14, 2009 - 12:24am PT
I made a list of all the climbers I have known who have died regardless of circumstances. It seemed appropriate today.

There are 26 of them at least that I know of. I have to suppose there actually are a few more.

Only one of them died free climbing while only two others expired leading aid or mixed ice and rock. All the others died on easier ground such as third-classing, rappelling, flying, patrolling, driving, and even common disease, murder and suicide; I mean doing regular stuff.

So since it has been 46 years now, one would think that there would be oodles of people I have known who had died leading whilst putting the sharp end up high. But no, it’s all about ordinary situations. Driving, airplanes, helicopters, murder, patrolling and hiking. The stuff outside of climbing. Hard to believe isn’t it.

So it turns out that at least in my experience climbing is actually a safe refuge from the more deathly world we periodically escape. I am serious. The world of motors, sickness, and banal peril. My numbers show that the plain ole’ world is pretty nasty compared to the sweet little reduced realm we are hanging out in while roped up.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of these facts, usually when we lose another old friend or acquaintance. Remind myself that the real monster in the room is just plain living and that climbing is actually like a stolen day in heaven.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jun 14, 2009 - 12:29am PT
Quite Nicely put Peter Haan.....and true. Perhaps that's why the Rock attracks the realists and survivors.
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Sebastopol, CA
Jun 14, 2009 - 12:37am PT
I agree with you wholeheartedly Peter, and had similar sentiments recently.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jun 14, 2009 - 12:50am PT
Pictures of the real and life....do people ever watch, ponder or listen to the heart speak. Beautiful Jerry.
Fletcher

Trad climber
the end of the world as we know it, & I feel fine.
Jun 14, 2009 - 01:31am PT
Well put, Peter. Having seen some family members go through extended illnesses, I also find it a marvel how resilient the human body and spirit can be. Sometimes it seems like a miracle that we make it out the door each day. But we do.

And that is a wonderful piece on roadside "descansos" Jerry.... thanks for sharing that. There's a link on my Facebook page to that now.

One tradition I follow states (paraphrasing here): "We all have expiration dates, we just don't know when."

The corollary to that is that once we come to terms with and embrace the absolute reality of our deaths, only then can we begin to live fully. I think climbing can help us feel hyperaware of death and how close it can be. And knowing that, sometimes we begin to live with more clarity and vibrance. Some get this by having near death experiences. Maybe climbing is kind of an artificial near death experience, in a way. But it can get the job done in that respect.

Eric
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jun 14, 2009 - 01:45am PT
Yah, Eric....Nice ! What a great Life event we had Wed. Celebrating my wundervar freundin....did i spell that right ? Yo wonderful friends. Peace, lynne
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 14, 2009 - 02:15am PT
Awesome.
Thank you Peter.
Fletcher

Trad climber
the end of the world as we know it, & I feel fine.
Jun 14, 2009 - 02:38am PT
Close, my translate utility gives back "wunderbare Freunde" which looks right to me with my very limited German.

And they are wunderbare Freunde indeed.

Really appreciating this special crowd even more so than usual today.

Eric
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jun 14, 2009 - 02:50am PT
Yes so Much, Eric.

What a gift of people we have on this incredible site. One falls and we are all less. But one is born and we are recreated. Life.....you just must love and embrace it even tho we cannot always plumb the depths of it or the end of it.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 14, 2009 - 09:53am PT
Couldn't agree more!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jun 14, 2009 - 10:12am PT
Well said, Peter (and Jerry).

I'm goin' climbing today, life is being a real bitch lately.

God bless everybody here! You guys (and gals) are awesome.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Jun 14, 2009 - 02:08pm PT
Awakening yesterday morning and reading about the tragic loss and the wake of grief it leaves sent me to the mountains with a head full of burden.

As the thunder heads were building up over the crest I slipped on down the trail pass blooming lupin, fire cracker penstiums and huccura. There's nothing like the well tended mountain garden of the master.

Darkening skys sent me up the stone in a focused hurry topping out along the ridge among the western juniper as the rain began to fall. On down the descent slabs to retrieve my pack I helped a worried mother get her two adorable kids to the ground.

The lichen seemed greener, the children so beautiful, the clouds so dramatic as the wind emptyed my head. Peter Haan thank you for such true and simple words a "stolen day in heaven", I am so fortunate and previlaged. Live well, love much and let go, the moment is what we have.

Berg Heil

Charlie D.
drljefe

climber
Old Pueblo, AZ
Jun 16, 2009 - 06:25pm PT
bump
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 16, 2009 - 08:04pm PT
Quite poignant, once again, Mr. Haan.

I've thought about making a list, and I might just for this thread.
But even in thinking about it,
I realize that pure rockclimbing, even of the adventure sort, is not what takes us out.

In this regard we are for the most part so contained and so focused and so taking care of one another that very little happens in the long run.

"We Have Heaven"
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Jun 16, 2009 - 08:12pm PT
I couldn't have put it better Peter.
the museum

Trad climber
Rapid City
Jun 16, 2009 - 08:28pm PT
Our son said, after climbing Fall Wall, "It's safer sitting here than doing anything back home." You're right, he's right.

Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jun 16, 2009 - 08:28pm PT
Always appreciate your thoughts and words dear mr. tarbuster. lynne
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 16, 2009 - 10:34pm PT
Thanks again Peter, Jerry, Fletcher, Charlie, Mr. Museum, Lynne, et al.
'Thought this thread could use a few more photos..........


Riccardo Cassin, Emilio Comici, Dell ‘Oro Boga,
From "Riccardo Cassin, 50 Years Of Alpinism":



couchmaster

climber
Jun 17, 2009 - 12:05am PT
Nice tome Peter. So true.


Tar, you see this interview?
Climbing Magazine Interviews Riccardo Cassin–99 Year Old Climbing Legend

June 19, 2008

"He is now 99 years old, in a wheelchair, but a legend in the world of climbing. At 85 years old, Cassin climbed the Luna Nascente, a climb rated at 5.10b in Val di Mello, Italy. He also mentions that just four years ago he was still doing 30 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups every morning. That would be at 95 years old. Pretty amazing."
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jun 17, 2009 - 12:12am PT
couchmaster, thanks for the info. Gotta research this man. Sounds like he has some special life drive going for him. He's no tv bonk.
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