Pete Absolon killed in Wind River accident


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Gym climber
Otto, NC
Aug 13, 2007 - 02:12pm PT

I'm so sorry for your loss.
Cornelia Brefka

Aug 13, 2007 - 02:18pm PT
I'm one of Molly's sisters- we are all so shocked and will miss Pete terribly. Thank you to all the Lander friends who have immediately stepped in to help Molly and Avery. This is such a horribly sad time, but it helps knowing that you all are there giving her the love and support she needs when we are still so far away. I look forward to thanking you in person soon.
It's also wonderful hearing in this forum how many lives Pete has touched.
Cornelia Armbrecht Brefka

Trad climber
Oakland Park Florida
Aug 13, 2007 - 02:33pm PT
My heart goes out to his family. John (brother) if you read this I'm very sorry.

Tim Shea
St Thomas 81'
Gabi Kilko-Jackson

Aug 13, 2007 - 02:54pm PT
I don't know how it can be. Pete was joy unfettered and will be truly missed by all. He was a happy man and loved by everyone who knew him. Molly, Avery, I'm so sorry. But please always know and remember how much he loved you and adored you both. I will miss Pete so very much, and in fact I was still grieving over the loss of him as my boss (when he went to the RM) - he really was the best boss ever. But, I'm thankful that I did have the opportunity to get to know Pete and his wonderful family. I'm a better person and my life is better for having known him.

Tim Fisher

Aug 13, 2007 - 02:54pm PT
I'm a friend of the Armbrechts, Ted's in particular. I met Pete a few times but mostly know him from Ted's stories about the adventures they had together. If you ever heard Ted talk about Pete, you would know that he was the big brother that Ted never had. What I gather from Ted's stories is that Pete was not only an excellent athlete and outdoorsman, but a genuinely great person in all respects. The real deal.
My heart goes out to Molly and Avery, the Armbrechts, and the Absolons.


Sport climber
Indianapolis, IN
Aug 13, 2007 - 03:37pm PT
My brother Brian called me last night when he received word of Pete's death and I'm still in shock. I worked at the RMB during the summer of 2001 and always loved crossing paths with Pete in the office. His mischievous grin and positive attitude never failed to brighten my day.

I will always remember the last mental picture I have of Pete when we crossed paths on the trail near the Killer Cave at the Sinks: big grin, eyes sparking, enjoying the gorgeous Wyoming summer afternoon. Even for those of us whose time with him was brief, his impact was no less significant.

Bless you Pete. My condolences to Molly, Avery, his family and many friends.

Billy Darr
adam d

Aug 13, 2007 - 04:30pm PT
I've been working for NOLS since 2000 and had many positive experiences with Pete through the RM. I just came off a backcountry rock course this week and now remember talking with Pete during my briefing a month ago. He always had time for questions about routes or to give advice on a course to me, and he was genuinely interested in what had happened in my life in the last year since I'd seen him.

My only experience in the field with Pete was on an instructor's mountaineering seminar in the Winds that he led in 2001. He had such a positive energy and excitement for teaching and the backcountry that was infectious. I remember a mellow AI3, 4 pitch route in Indian Basin that September that I went up with Pete and Hampton, my first multipitch ice route. Pete led pitch one, then he and I sat at the belay as Hampton led pitch 2. Pete grinned and asked if I wanted to lead the next pitch, but I said I thought I'd wait for the next route. Once we'd both followed and were at the top of the second pitch he asked me again grinning if I wanted the next lead. Of course this time I said yeah and it was fine and fun and I felt Pete was psyched for me to be doing something new. That positive introduction to ice precipitated me getting completely hooked and spending the next five winters on Adirondack ice. I remember tenting with Steve Herlihy that same trip as well and what a great time in the mountains it was. I definitely send my support and thought out to Molly, Avery and Steve.

Reading the NOLS email late last night about Pete, I found myself unable to sleep thinking about him and the risks in the backcountry. I appreciated his honesty, respect for others and the mountains, and though I spent little time with him in the scheme of things I know I'll miss him. I'm headed in to Moran tomorrow and I'll be thinking about Pete as I'm on the route.

Adam Dale

Teton Village, WY
Aug 13, 2007 - 05:33pm PT
Linda and Tony Brooks were terribly saddened to hear of Pete's tragedy. We loved our visits with him as he related stories of our son, Charley Brooks. He was a man of tremendous compassion and will be missed by many. You have our deepest sympathy, Linda

Aug 13, 2007 - 05:37pm PT

Dear Pete,

You are so loved by so many people and always will be. I will remember your easy going nature, and love of life and enjoying the outdoors. Your goofy grin and when you jut your chin out, like Avery and Molly also do. You all are such a team, like triplets. You were always so patient with me when we were out climbing or teleing, even though I was not in Olympic shape like you are or not as skilled. You never let on if I was holding you up, consummate patience and I so appreciate the adventures you took me on. In fact i remembered last night while i was not sleeping that you took my on my first climb on the Gendarme at Seneca Rocks, may that fallen sentinel be a symbolic memorial to you.

You were also always so forgiving with my intense, opinionated family (therefore epic decisions while 15 of us try to decide what to do next)...somehow a calm anchor while the rest of us were flying around and it made our family trips better having you there. I loved the years of visits to Lander and rambling around Sinks or Wild Iris, and eating some of your elk and drinking beers at home. I also remember with a smile your love of watching football..."gotta watch the game" and i can see your smile and raised eyebrows, your 'over-excited kid' look. And you calling Molly 'Scooby'.

I had a dream this morning after waking up too early and then lying there trying to get some more sleep before i had to start my day. I was in a room with Molly and some others, and Molly was sitting on a couch. There might have been a child sitting next to her, but then when i looked again I saw you sitting next to Molly and nodding and smiling to the conversation. I said to everyone "Do you see what I see? Pete is sitting here with us by Molly on the couch!" They didn't seem to understand and I reached out to see if I could touch you, and I grasped your knee. I exclaimed, "See him, I am touching his knee." And you just kept on smiling... and then I woke up.

I am so sorry you had to go so soon Pete. I still can't quite believe it. I will miss you very much. Thanks for everything. Molly and Avery will be well cared all have such good friends in Lander and across the country. And the family will also be there for them. I send my love to your family too.

I hope you are flying free and will look in on us sometime.

Sally (one of Molly's sisters)
Mary Absolon

Edina, Minnesota
Aug 13, 2007 - 05:48pm PT
Dearest Friends and Family:

I am Pete's eldest sister. We share with you your sorrow.

We love Pete so very, very much. The love he has for his soulmate, Molly, and gem of child Avery was/is something that we loved to witness when they were all together. The pain of these three not being together and the pain of knowing we will not have him at future family gatherings is beyond words at this time.

He lived life to the fullest. I am happy to share that he advised our son, Chris Herber to take the NOLS Semester in Alaska course. Chris is sea kayaking in Prince William Sound as I write this and will learn this terrible news within the next 24 hours. Please hold our son in your hearts during this difficult time.

Pete's passion for his work is a baton that Chris seems to have taken up. Chris wrote "I am sure that this trip is the beginning to a wonderful passion that I will pursue and continue for the rest of my life."

Pete was an inspiration to us all and so many. He accomplished so much in his life. He was our rock.

May the spirit of the Wind River be with each of you as you mourn our loss.

Love & Peace,

Mary Therese Absolon
Sister to Peter Henry Absolon

Trad climber
Aug 13, 2007 - 05:52pm PT
like many people, i cannot quite grasp this horrible news. it's hard to believe that this could happen to a family so full of joy and incredible spirit. though my interactions with pete here in lander and with nols have been always been brief, i was always impressed with the genuine kindness and happiness that pete relayed to everyone he met. after having spent much time with avery this summer, i can see these incredible things in her as well. she is truly an amazing light... but how could she not be with such amazing parents.

while i cannot possibly fathom the pain of this loss molly, know that we are sending you all of the peaceful and healing energy we can find. please know that we are here to help in any way that we can. any day, any time, just let us know.

may peace be with you and all of this community in the days and weeks to come...

blair, phil, and isa

Social climber
Washington, DC
Aug 13, 2007 - 05:54pm PT
Thanks to Phil Powers for keeping us informed. We're all concerned about the family, especially Molly's parents, Ted and Calvert Armbrecht. Ted has served on our board for many, many years.

Our deepest condolences to family and friends of Pete.

Lyn Soudien
The Mountain Institute
Angela Patnode

Social climber
Bozeman, MT
Aug 13, 2007 - 06:04pm PT
Dear Molly and Avery,
My heart goes out to you and the loss you are experiencing. I know that you are surrounded with as much love as possible during this and I send a heartfelt hug through the universe for you both. Please know that Pete was one of two amazing mentors I had at NOLS during my time there and I had nothing but tremendous respect for him. He was a man of integrity, honesty, humor, passion for life, and obvious love for his family. He will continue to be a role model for me in my day to day living and will remind me to live life to its fullest with all the passion I can muster.
My prayers are with you
Lynn Morrison

portland, or
Aug 13, 2007 - 06:28pm PT
Dear molly and avery
I’m thinking about you today. The only relief I find is knowing you are surrounded by that phenomenal community of friends that you and Pete have created.

What stands out for me in regards to Pete was his ability to look at the bright side of every situation, how to move forward. He was clear, strong and didn’t waffle about the important things in life. If you needed a straight answer you could always ask Pete and he would give it to you. When I conjure up his face it is smiling, arms in the air “right on”, Victory!” , even if it is just minature golf.

You will see Pete in Avery as she grows, talks, acts, moves…..there he will be and the background, the places we can’t see, his arms will be surrounding you, Molly, his very best friend and lover.

I'm looking at the photo letter you sent out this spring....thank you for sending it.

i'm going to try to come this weekend...all my love to you and avery.
may you find peace as you work through this tragedy.

i love you,
lynn, ross and amos
Spencer Adkisson

Mountain climber
Reno, NV
Aug 13, 2007 - 06:51pm PT
Oh my God. How terrible. I didn't know Pete, but we sounds like a wonderful person. I was nearly hit by rockfall in a similar fashion at Lover's Leap, when somebody was letting their kid throw rocks off the top of the cliff above Corriguation Corner. Very heartfelt condolences to the friends and family.

....The things we wish we could take back.
Molly Absolon

Lander, Wyoming
Aug 13, 2007 - 07:18pm PT
Thank you all for writing. It means so much to me to see names of people I've long lost touch with, others we see all the time, and those whom we've never met. I'm so sad right now.

Pete loved life, loved adventure and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. I will miss him so much. He was my best friend.

Thank you all for sending your thoughts our way. We need you all now.


Social climber
Aug 13, 2007 - 07:31pm PT
hey there dear phil powers... thank you for sharing insight on this sad death... it does not make it better in the steps that lead to his death--but having a witness and knowing what happened, but it makes it better for the family, than never knowing...

dear molly, and to your sister, and young child, as i know see and know better, who you all are now... i will keep praying for all your husband's hope and dreams, to manifest in your life--even though he is gone--this way, at least part of him will live on as your future unfolds.... no one wants to leave "lose ends" behind in life, yet, as we have seen, sometimes there is no choice, in view of what suddenly very sorry for your loss, once again... god bless and much love to you all....

bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Aug 13, 2007 - 07:33pm PT
Very best to the family and friends of Pete.
brian b

Sarotoga Ca
Aug 13, 2007 - 07:50pm PT
Molly - so sorry to hear -we will all miss him.

Pete and I became friends after 6th grade --- lots of camping and fun growing up. We took our first rock climbing class together at Carderock and the last time I climbed w him w at Senica Rocks a year or so before you were married. He was a great friend and a major part of my growing up ---- Lois and I will miss him alot.


Mountain climber
Jackson Hole Wyo.
Aug 13, 2007 - 07:59pm PT
Deepest condolences from Jackson
Powers' report is disturbing.
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