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Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Aug 17, 2013 - 01:54pm PT
Todd, your heartfelt tribute brought a tear to my eye, and I never had the pleasure of meeting the guy.

You all seem like a great tribe. People should be so lucky as to have friends like you folks.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 17, 2013 - 01:57pm PT
I will remember with much fondness those few times we had been together climbing with the Wyde Crew down at JT.

More importantly, I look forward to getting together with all of Blitzo's friends, an amazing group of caring people, who I am honored to know.

“It's better to have something to remember than anything to regret.”
― Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book

I've no regrets… and thanks to you all, Billy too, I have many memories.

Can't wait for a JT Seminar on Bluotonium this autumn.
10b4me

Ice climber
Wishes-He-Was-In-Arizona
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
sorry that he is gone, but at least he is not suffering.
that is a very nice obituary, Todd.
ATS

climber
Mountain Project
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:23pm PT
Met him for the first time at Gordo-Fest last year. Glad I did. Life is short....and he lived it every day! Thanks Susan and company for being by his side.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
Whew...what a process you guys...great tributes.

I don't think I've been to Joshua Tree in the last few years without seeing Bill or getting a friendly bit of advice on where to get a fine malt beverage. Was always great to run into him. We traded a few emails over the years...heavy sigh...

RIP. Quite the journey.

Bill photo share, as usual...
Bill photo share, as usual...
Credit: Brian in SLC

Bill and crew
Bill and crew
Credit: Brian in SLC

Bill gettin' 'er done...
Bill gettin' 'er done...
Credit: Brian in SLC

Russ, over at your place for turkey a few years back...Bill says, "Russ is my best friend" with a tear in his eye. Its strange the things that stick with someone but I remember that moment with clarity.

We should all be so fortunate as Bill...helluva run...
Finessa

Social climber
Yosemite
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
The letter I wrote to Blitzo last week to say goodbye. This wasn't an easy letter to write and although it is quite personal and heart-wrenching, I thought I should share it on here as an ode to my dear friend, especially since so many people on this forum love Blitzo so much.

Dear Unckie,

Lately I've been thinking a lot about this extended family that I was fortunate enough to be born into via Yosemite and the climbing community. Now that I am older and have seen the world I realize just how special this community truly is; how many resilient, brilliant and completely exceptional characters I have been exposed to. You are the archetype of this world for me and so many others Billy. Watching the way this community has rallied to support you, I can only hope that I am loved and revered as much as you are later in my life. I have so much gratitude for all of our times together...from you coming into my life as a baby, to being your roommate for a summer, to climbing in Tuolumne, riding roller coasters in Vegas, road tripping to Colorado and all the laughter in between. Having you as my best friend as a young adult taught me to be genuine despite other people's fears, to live the life I want despite what is "expected", to notice the subtle beauty in the everyday, and most of all, to have a sense of humor. Thank you for teaching me so much early on in my life. You have left a lasting imprint on my heart and my mind dear friend. I will love you always, Chelsea AKA Biter
Aerili

climber
SLC, Utah
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
Sitting here on a rest day in the French Alps, one of the most beautiful places ever....does it make me feel better to have sad news in a surreal place? I have no idea...there isn't a barometer for things like that.

I've been re-reading many of the emails Blitzo and I exchanged in the last year and a half...so many emails, so many things which make me smile. Blitzo was a great writer, actually; he would often email me stories of his day and they were whimsical, amusing, sometimes disjointed, sometimes insightful, often sounding stream of consciousness. They are little gems in a cyber mine, existing somehow yet without any physical reality-- only an emotional reality which I will never erase.

Not long after we met, he wrote me an email and he said: "I've been really good lately, only getting smashed once a week. I was such a mess when I met you. For some reason meeting you has made me think a lot about how I'm just destroying myself. You have inspired me to change for the better!"

I felt this couldn't possibly be true...I wrote back and said "Did I really inspire you to change for the better? Maybe you were just ready all along."

Then he wrote: "Yes, you did inspire me to start getting my sh#t together. Thanks! I normally don't hang with good influences. You never said a word, but you definitely were the catalyst."

I had forgotten all about these words he wrote to me til I re-read things now....how meaningful and precious they become. I still think he gave me far too much credit for his own choices, and I also think he had lots of other, more important, good influences in his life.

He also wrote not long after we met: "I did the math and came to the conclusion that we are of the same Chinese sign of the snake. That explains a lot, I guess, if you're into hocus pocus. I'm actually not, but I find this stuff interesting."

Then this February, he sent me a one line message one day: "It's the Year of the Snake!"

And I replied: "Dude, I KNOW!!!!!!! It's gonna be OUR YEAR!!!!!!!"

Yes, Blitzo, it's our year.....how did this happen in our year??? All your written words to me sound so alive and vibrant. It feels like I could just write or text you and you would get right back to me like always.

Today is a rest day for me. I'm going to go to a bar on the river here in Cham and I'll have a drink for you, my friend. You told me once I "made you free" ... I never made you free .... I just got to fly along side for a while. But you got the wing upgrade now, bud. I'll miss you so much.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
Rip Blitzo! Thank you to all those that were by his side when he passed. The support he received was simply amazing and inspiring.

Todd: awesome words. I especially liked this:

He wasn't the "in-your-face" type of photograper either....no posing, no fanfare, no staging, no rehearsing;....most of the the time you never knew he was even taking pics.....he would whip out his camera, take the pic without saying anything, and then put it away and get back to his beer.

This exactly how i try and shoot. Capture the real moment rather then some staged pose.

Blitzo's spirt will always be with his friends. That much is certain!
ninjakait

Trad climber
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
I personally only met Blitzo a handful of times, the last being a climb with the "old guys" (Locker, Blitzo, Dwain, Cosmo and my Dad), almost too far back to recall; but what I remember about him most were the stories that my father shared. He had known Bill for some time and needless to say there was never a dull moment when they were together. I'm sure my Woody is waiting for him with a rope and harness. Climb on!

Thoughts and prayers to all of Bill's family and friends.



Tia
Chinchen

climber
Way out there....
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
RIP bro.
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
Did not know the man, but these pages attest to the spirit he obviously had and the impact he made on so many.

When our time comes, and it surly will, may we all be filled with the love that so obviously surrounded this friend and comrade.

Peace, love, and understanding
To all Blitzo's family.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:40pm PT


hossjulia

climber
Aug 17, 2013 - 02:50pm PT
I woke up around 3 am(MT)and could not go back to sleep. Blitzo and his friends have been on my mind so much these past few weeks. I'm glad I got to meet him and hang out a bit at Todd's, sorry we did not get to climb together.

RIP man, you were one of a kind.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Aug 17, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
hey there say, todd... just had to come back and see how folks are doing...

thank you very kindly for sharing so much on blitzo...
i only knew of him, here, by posts and shares, and i know more of the
'fill in the lines' now...

condolences to you, dear chelsea...
and the rest of blitzo's family, once again...

Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Aug 17, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
met Blitzo at Bridfest, knew instantly that he was the guy to party with, something about his spirit that was very unique, calm, peaceful, funny, knowing,
trying to stay off the beer til i get my sh#t together but today i am going to break that policy have an Alaskan IPA for reasons that need that not be explained,
i wish peace to all of his friends and don't be sad, but happy for the time you got to spend with him, when you lose someone, a little of them is instilled in you, so Blitzo will live on forever, Cheers Blitzo!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Aug 17, 2013 - 03:16pm PT
be know forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass; glory in the flower, we must grieve not, but rather, find strength from what remains behind
Wordsworth

Will gladly travel down to JT to honor him

Susan
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Aug 17, 2013 - 03:20pm PT
I was heading to a yoga festival in 2009 (shortly after Ms. Summit passed) and spent a few days at the old Fish Palace. Knowing Blitzo was hanging out and knowing of his love to try new beers I decided to pick up a few he might never have tried.

Credit: nature

Funny part of the story is after I posted this photo with the names of all of beer locker proclaimed that he was sure blitzo had tried all of them. Turns out there was probably a dozen he had never seen before. Mission accomplished for me - turning blitzo onto new beer.

Credit: nature

Before I headed out on that trip I asked Medium Sooze about making me a matt bag for me. I still use it to this day.

Credit: nature

Lifting a Imperial Java Stout from Santa Fe Brewing company (had this one, blitzo?)...

... rest in peace my friend. And go take a little walk over to the rainbow bridge.... Jake and ms. summit might like to say hello...
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Aug 17, 2013 - 03:24pm PT
Rest in Peace, Blitzo.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Aug 17, 2013 - 03:33pm PT
I did not know Blitzo but was aware of his great photography. I am aware of much more about him now, his community, and his friends.

This all somehow reminds me of a story told by a very famous 19th century man, whose name escapes me now-- a man of wide accomplishments and even international repute.
This famous man had a sister, older than himself , who passed away and whose funeral loomed.
The celebrated man really knew very little about his sister, there being a great difference in their ages. He thought of her as a very ordinary sort, with a few friends, and a small family. Her reputation being small and not noteworthy--unlike his own.

As the day of her funeral arrived ,our famous man made his way to the small community where his sister had lived and passed. To his astonishment he found the roads thronged with literally thousands of people. He had no idea as to why there would be such an enormous crowd come to this small ,obscure town. Rich, poor, old, young--of every station in life.

He began to inquire, and soon he discovered, to his further astonishment , these assembled multitudes were there to pay their respects to a fine lady all had cherished and deeply respected ,for their own individual reasons. Some had been nursed to health by this woman, others midwifed on a stormy night--still others simply comforted by a good story, companionship , and a cup of tea during a troubled passage.

This lady was none other than our famous man's sister. And as he stood reflecting on the sudden smallness of his own life he could not help but contemplate the lesson afforded by the love and admiration shown on the faces of all those people touched in thousands of unknown ways by his sister's remarkable and incredible life.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Aug 17, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
RIP Bill

We swam in the same social eddies but somehow a confluence of time and place never materialized.

To Russ, Sooze and all his caregivers, you bless your karma with acts of kindness and compassion.

I've lost 6 friends and acquaintances to cancer this past year and they were all in the same age cohort 60-65. I'm not sure what exactly that means except for the odds keep creeping in against us.

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