John Bachar Memorial, July 27, 2009


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 20 of total 200 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 28, 2009 - 01:26pm PT
A great man such as John Bachar deserved exactly the send off (memorial) he got yesterday, Monday, July 27, 2009, at Mammoth Lakes, California. Friends drove prodigious distances and flew in from various western states to be present. As many commented, such a collection of American climbers in unlikely to ever reconvene.

On this difficult day, I was witness to a few miracles. I had struggled with accepting that my childhood friend and climbing partner, John Bachar, was really and truly gone. When I first arrived at the memorial, I suddenly felt like I was drowning. If it wasnít for the immediate intervention of Jody Langford and Karl Baba, I would have been in for a very long afternoon. Thanks, boys.

Next, the climbing community can count itself blessed to have Rick Accomazzo. Ricky Emced the event (that ran for better than three hours) and was the emotional glue that held together a situation which in less sure hands could have gone south in a hurry. Rickyís personal memories, poignant commentary and steadying presence behind the microphone set a tone of openness, strength, and, in a word, love, that transformed a potentially dire situation into a rare kind of celebration. I always counted myself grateful to have Ricky as my hometown climber partner. Yesterday, I was proud of him as a human being.

I was especially impressed with the presence of Johnís immediate family Ė his father (I cannot imagine having to burry a child), brother, sister, son Tyrus, Tyrusí mother, and Johnís girlfriend. I now understand where John got his courage. I very much appreciate John seniors (John ll) words to me.

I speak for everyone when I say we were all honored to have Royal Robbins drive all the way there from Modesto and speak to us about John. Early on, Royal was like a God to us, the climber we all aspired to be. Having Royal on hand was like having a high priest there to sanctify an event few of us could really fathom. Rather than cower us with pronouncements, Royal kept things personal, human and real, and we were all much the better for it. Thank you, Royal.

Throughout the event I saw the outpouring of grief and good will cut through whatever differences might have arisen between people. At various times I found myself recounting the most fantastic memories with people with whom I, sadly, had grown estranged for reasons ranging from entanglements and petty misunderstandings to nothing at all. In the process I got reconnected with the people around whom I was formed. I touched into myself in a vital, half-forgotten way and recalled where I came from. These things will serve me for the rest of my life.

For all of those who were not there, I trust your presence was felt and your thoughts and feelings made real to John because that's the way we all roll.

I hope that those who took pictures will take the time to share them with all of us.

And to my friend, John Bachar Ė Iíll be seeing you later. Till then:

John Long

PS: All the thanks goes to Ron Gomez for making this event a reality. Thank you, Ron.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 01:33pm PT
Thanks for posting on the Memorial John.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jul 28, 2009 - 01:42pm PT
Thanks, John.

Only the sudden hip surgery of my 93-year-old mother kept me from being with all of you yesterday. I grieve the lost opportunity to be with you and especially John's family.

Thanks for bringing us a glimpse of the day. I continue to struggle to express thoughts and feelings about John's loss.
seamus mcshane

Jul 28, 2009 - 01:43pm PT
Largo- poignant and touching all at once, no surprise there, as your words rarely fall short..
Thanks for the scoop. It sounds as if the memorial was very special indeed. A lasting tribute to my hero.
Today, I turned 40. You made my day, again.

"All climbs were easy for Bachar, and he had to make his own difficulties. He completely dominated the cliff with his grace and confidence. He never got rattled, never lost control, and you knew if he ever got killed climbing, it wouldn't be his fault; it would be a gross transgression of all taste and would prove that climbing was absurd and all wrong. You'd sell all your gear and curse God for the rest of your life- on aesthetic, not moral grounds." From " The Only Blasphemy"

Climbing is still right.
I'm not gonna sell my gear just yet.
I'm not quite cursing God again, but close.

John, thank you for all your inspired tales of heroes past.
RIP Tobin, Yabo, and JB.

I'm sorry for your loss. It hurts me too.

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 28, 2009 - 01:56pm PT
Thanks, John.

Funerals and memorials are always so bittersweet, but it sounds like the sweet part helped to compensate a bit for the sadness.

My condolences to all of John's friends and family.

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Jul 28, 2009 - 01:57pm PT
the life experience of seeing a friend off into never-never, or forever-forever, or whatever-whatever land sanctifies the origins of your true and well-understood smile.

for tears travelling across wind-worn cheeks amongst john's peaks exude hope in every direction.

which is where john bachar now resides.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:01pm PT
The Munge Abides - truly.
Bill Sherman

Mountain climber
Thousand Oaks, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:02pm PT
In one of those magical Sierra sunsets, I left the memorial and began my drive back to LA. After passing through a brief rain shower, I was blessed with one of the most vibrant rainbows I've seen in a long time. Anastasia commented that it was John showing his approval of the day and his presence looking down on all of us.

Largo, you summed up the day perfectly. It's not something I will ever forget as well. It was a great medium for all of us climbers to come to grips with what has happened and how we have all been influenced by Bachar.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:02pm PT
Thanks for sharing that John.

My condolences as well to family and friends.
Dave Tapes

Trad climber
Silverado CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:12pm PT
The greatness of those assembled to honor John Bachar, was, and could only be surpassed by the man himself.

Thanks Largo.

wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:12pm PT
Thank you for your post and account of John's Memeorial Largo.

Having just returned home to Seattle from a two week road trip it was impossible for me to be there...though I will likely always wish that I had been.

John was a bright and powerful Spirit, and a better friend one would be hard pressed to find.

A favorite quote from Coltrane,

"I want to be a force for good. I know there are bad forces here that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the force which is truly good.'

Thanks for having been that very thing JB.


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:17pm PT
I didn't know if we we were even going to addres this here, but if Largo is in, so am I, photos downloading right now.

An incredible amount of heartfelt emotion.

Dave Yerian's plea for love and understanding will stay with me always. Not to minimize any of the other incredible, shares of others...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:20pm PT
Gary sent me this quote in an article he had received...
it is from Mimi Farina around 1970:

"You can't decide how you are going to die,
you can only decide how you will live."

it seems to sum up so much, at least for me.

Trad climber
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:25pm PT
nice post, john.

i've been to far too many of these in the last year or so. yesterday was rougher than i'd expected, probably because it brought back all the other memorials i've been going to. but it was wonderful to see folks i hadn't seen in years.

tyrus was remarkably composed and thoughtful. the straw porkpie was an especially nice touch.

thanks to ron and everyone else for doing so much heavy lifting at a difficult time.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:30pm PT
klk, when young Tyrus placed said porkpie on his granpa's fully sun exposed head was equally poignant as when he sponataneouslly grabbed a tissue to dab the tears in his mom's eyes.

Quite a kid, that Tyrus!

My twin brother's laundry room
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:33pm PT
Thanks John. I wish I had been there.

Big Wall climber
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:34pm PT
The whole day was interesting and blessed. The drive up was the best drive I've ever had to the ditch *or* Tuolumne, in all the years I've been driving back and forth. It's as if someone were pushing traffic and obstacles out of my way the entire trip. I left in time to get there an hour early, I got there 2 hours early. Without speeding, I was in the ditch, from Visalia (45-hour south of Fresno) in 2:15. Mammoth in under just 4 hours. It was freaky.

Anytime I got behind someone who was driving too slow, they pulled out at the first opportunity. Every single one of them. When does *that* happen, even with just one or two cars?! Even when I came up on a semi pulling doubles between the gate and the Valley, as soon as I rounded the bend and saw him, he dove into a tiny pullout to let me by.

As far as the memorial... An amazing day, an amazing group of people gathered, for an amazing man. As Largo said above, "such a collection of American climbers is unlikely to ever reconvene.". While sad to be there for the reason we were, I was happy to have been able to share a portion of Bachar's life with him and to be a part of something so amazing. It was also great to see so many friends and to meet so many awesome folks. Lots of people I've looked up to over there years. Many of them, even moreso now.

I am truly inspired by John's family and so thankful they allowed all of us to share the day with them. It was the second best gift they'd given us. Truly wonderful, strong people. Tyrus... Wow! That's the first word that comes to mind. The secong word....? As he said about his father, what a BadAss. Tyrus is the definition of control and such a cool, honest kid who seems to have an amazing amount of depth for his age.

The drive home brought some of the most beautiful sights in that section of the East Side, I'd ever seen. I took many photos. I can't think of any better way to say it than Bill - "it was John showing his approval of the day and his presence looking down on all of us. " It really felt that way. Now that I think about it, the whole day felt that way.

I did shoot some photos at the memorial (not many tho). Most of us were a little uncertain about cameras, etc...

"The greatness of those assembled to honor John Bachar, was, and could only be surpassed by the man himself."

Perfect, Dave!
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:35pm PT
It has been said that you can tell alot about a man by the company he keeps; that case, John was a king, for yesterday gathered in his honor and remembrance, a most excellent group of friends and loved ones; finer a group of friends could one ever ask for. John was well loved and with be truly missed.

Royal Robbins

Tyrus Bachar

John Bachar's Father (Also John Bachar Sr.)


Social climber
Ventura, California
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:37pm PT
Johnís memorial yesterday in Mammoth was beautiful. The gathering of friends and family was exceptionally powerful. The Jazz rendition of Amazing Grace by a solo saxophonist brought hopefully the last tears to my eyes leaving me to smile going forward with all the great memories I have.

Big Wall climber
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:40pm PT
Oh man, that (Amazing Grace) was really the breaking point, Graham...
Messages 1 - 20 of total 200 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta