Pete Absolon killed in Wind River accident


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Christine Rogers

Trad climber
Laramie, WY
Aug 13, 2007 - 08:07pm PT
Molly, Avery, and friends/family of Pete,

Words are so inadequate... We knew Pete as a man who loved the mountains, loved NOLS, and--most of all--loved being with his family. I remember coming around the corner to Killer Cave a few years ago and seeing Pete working a route, asking for slack from his belayer, Molly. While the difficulty of the route alone is impressive, I was most impressed with you, Molly. You had your hands full with Avery (she had to potty, and you were trying to pull down her pants with one hand while belaying with the other) and with Pete ("slack! take! slack!"), but you stayed calm and effective. When I offered to help out, I felt like I ended up awkwardly getting in the way. I know Pete will watch over you and Avery as you watched over them. Our thoughts are with you.

Chrissy and Brad
Karl Sutton

Trad climber
Lander, Wyoming
Aug 13, 2007 - 08:25pm PT
Molly and Avery, I am so sorry for your loss.

I had the opportunity to first meet Pete during my NOLS PIC course in 2004. He came up to Sinks Canyon to work with me and a couple other students on cliff rescue skills. Pete was an amazing teacher. He simplified often complex systems to make them easily transfered into practice.

I remember at Molly's birthday party this past year when Avery collided with other kids and had a massive bloody nose. She was yelling make the bleeding stop. Peter, when he was told what happened, said in his fatherly and lovingly way "Bummer."

Peter was a wonderful, compassionate human being who will be sorely missed. Darci and I send our love to you Molly and Avery in this difficult time.

Karl Sutton
Maggie Shelton

Austin, Texas
Aug 13, 2007 - 08:31pm PT
Molly and family, I just received a call with this sad news about Peter, and I found this website. I am so sorry and so sad for all that knew Pete. Though we have been many years out of touch, I often think of all of the Absolon family and the joy they brought to my life. My heart goes out to you, Avery, and the rest of the Absolon family. May the many good memories and good friends be there to confort you. Maggie Schmid Shelton

Trad climber
Aug 13, 2007 - 08:44pm PT
Molly & Avery & Your Families,

Pete will be missed by many. His laugh & love of exploring the outdoors is what I will remember the most.

Pete was a man of integrity, compassion, and high standards in everything he did.

You all are in my thoughts & prayers, Lisa Jaeger
shelli johnson

Social climber
lander, wyoming
Aug 13, 2007 - 09:14pm PT
Molly, our deepest condolences, love and prayers to you and Avery... and to Pete's family and friends.
I didn't know Pete very well but he sure was well-respected in Lander and the surrounding region.
Not too many years ago, shortly after our first son was born ... and I knew Molly and Pete were expecting...I was in Safeway and met Pete for the first time. It was right after Avery's birth. I wasn't 100% sure it was Pete Absolon that I was approaching in the cereal aisle but I took a chance and introduced myself to him anyway in hopes of learning how Molly and baby were doing. He was elated and beaming as he updated this stranger on Avery and Molly. He was so proud and full of love for his and Molly's new baby girl. That was the only time I ever talked to Pete but it made an impression because of his obvious love for both of his girls.
Molly, please call on us for anything during this most difficult time. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Our love, Shelli and Jerry Johnson & boys
Nancy Daugherty

Washington, DC
Aug 13, 2007 - 09:19pm PT
My heart is so heavy. I was driving from Charleston, WVa back to DC today and came through Seneca Rocks and past the road up to Spruce Knob. I thought of Molly and Pete, as I often do when I'm in that neck of the woods. Today was such a beautiful day and it reminded me of their wedding on the mountain. I couldn't stop thinking about how wonderful that day was and particularly how wonderful it was to meet so many of Molly & Pete's friends & family who made such a long trip to be there.

It was such a shock to get my sister Sallie's telephone call when I got home. This tragic news still hasn't sunk in yet.

My family joins me in sending you love and prayers,



Social climber
Missoula, MT
Aug 13, 2007 - 09:23pm PT
To my beloved friend Molly and beautiful Avery,

Coming up with words is so difficult.....all of your friends are here for you, whenever you need us. The reality of this will take time to sink in, so please don't hesitate to lean on us, your friends, and your family for anything, anything at all. We are here for you.

My favorite memory of Pete is when I was hiking up the trail to Sinks with baby Ruby in a backpack on my back. I stopped to rest, and heard a very unnerving rattling sound. About 6 inches away from my right foot was a rattlesnake. I saw Pete up at the crag, and called his name. "Hey, Leeser!" he called with that fabulous smile on his face, "what's the matter?" I told him our precarious situation, and he came running down the trail with his long stick clip apparatus, scooped up the snake, and flung it down the hillside! My hero!

His kindness, his joy of life, his caring and consideration for everyone around him, and his deep, deep love for Molly and Avery were so inspirational. Truly the salt of the earth, someone we loved and will continue to love and celebrate through all of our wonderful memories. He lives forever in our hearts and minds.

All my love to you, Molly and Avery~

Lisa Lenard

Trad climber
devil's lake, wi
Aug 13, 2007 - 09:29pm PT
Very sad. Looks like he was loved by many.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of Pete.

May peace be with you.

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
Aug 13, 2007 - 09:42pm PT
My sincere condolences to the family and friends.

Your loss weighs heavy on my heart.

Social climber
Lander, Wy
Aug 13, 2007 - 09:52pm PT
Iím still trying to get a grip on all of this.
When I think of Pete and all that he did in his life, I think the most about Molly and Avery. I was always struck by how hard Pete climbed and yet how much time he devoted to his family. I remember walking down the trail from the crag on many occasions and chatting about life and family, and Pete asking when or if my wife and I would have kids. I never knew the answer, but loved hearing Pete talk about how being a dad was the greatest adventure he had undertaken. How it made his life so rich and full of excitement. How he was stronger and better because of it. His passion and joy at being a father made me question my own seemingly selfish and scared reasons to hold off on this adventure. I think about a long drive to Teton Valley, Idaho where I casually asked Pete how he and Molly met and I listened for three hours as he relived the story as though it had happened just yesterday. Pete had such pride and joy in being a husband and dad. I had the great fortune to work and play with Pete and to even be his belay slave at the end of long days in Sinks Canyon as he fired, one last time up Killer to set up the king swing for Avery. His excitement coming from the joy he knew she would soon be sharing through squeals of excitement and giggles as she twisted through space.
I remember Pete being so excited for me when I linked the first quarter of his ridiculously long and hard problem in his garage gym, and how he took the time, over and over to show me how to light the furnace during the winter months. I love warming up for an evening of climbing in the garage by bouncing on the trampoline with Avery, and spotting her on her beautifully decorated climb. We even named a hold ďAveryís HoldĒ because when she was younger, Pete would hold her up to it and she would swing around on it in the cave.
Pete was so full of excitement for life that I consistently checked my own reality when talking to him. He helped me to put things in perspective. To realize that it isnít what one does in life, but whom you do it with, and how we enjoy that time with each other. I will miss Pete greatly, but will always appreciate and hold dear the time we spent together and the impact he had on my life.
Molly and Avery, you have my deepest sympathy in your loss. I hope that I can be here for you in any way you need. The Love you shared with Pete touched us all, and will continue to carry on in our lives.

Ryan Hutchins-Cabibi

Aug 13, 2007 - 09:52pm PT
Molly, my heart goes out to you on this sad day.

I remember when I met you on my instructors' course in 2000; I thought, "this woman is amazing- strong and talented climber, accomplished writer, hard-core mountaineer, wonderful teacher- her husband must be a bad-ass!" ... The first time I met Pete was at your house after that course, and he was monkeying around on your climbing wall in the shed in the backyard. He exuded positive energy. He was my program supervisor on my first CL with Nols, and he was so calm and positive, so effortlessly great at what he did, the perfect mentor. I know there are countless instructors who feel the same way.

The comments and stories posted prove how well-loved Pete is. I am so sad for your loss and my heart and thoughts are with you and Avery. I'm glad that you're surrounded by people who love you.
Jenna Malone

Aug 13, 2007 - 10:04pm PT
Marco just called me....Unbelievable ! it just seems like yesterday when I was climbing on Masherbrum with Pete..

I've got this great picture of Pete in our living room just grinning surronded with all the kids in a pakastani village listening to his can see by the sparkle in his eye at how devoted he was to bringing joy into peoples lives...

That photo has always been an inspiration for me to be a better person...

I deeply send my condolences, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

your friends

Dave, Renee and noah irwin

Aug 13, 2007 - 10:12pm PT
I am so very sorry for Pete's loss. I feel so very sad for Pete's entire family, especially Molly and Avery, his friends, especially Steve, and all those individuals who Pete influenced.

I look up to Pete as a climber, skier, mountain man, family man, working man, a good, honest, kind, genuine man.... what a wonderful person!

I'll miss you Pete. Thanks for giving me that one last high five just a few days ago... I'll remember that forever.

Long may your spirit soar!


Trad climber
Falls Church, VA
Aug 13, 2007 - 10:44pm PT

I met him briefly, probably more than twenty years ago, at the Gendarme. He had just set everyone to whistling and muttering under their breath by soloing the Crack of Dawn. When people asked him about it, he just basically shrugged and smiled.

"Man, are you just stone crazy or what?"

Shrug. Smile.

I'm pleased to learn that he survived those days and grew up right.
Andrew Morley

Boulder climber
Boulder, Colorado
Aug 13, 2007 - 10:45pm PT
Molly and Avery,

I am so very sorry for your tragic loss. Please know that our love and prayers are with both of you, Pete and your families. It is inspiring to see the love, support and cherished memories of so many friends and family on these pages.

I will never forget the first time Becky and I met Pete, when the two of you took us climbing in Seneca Rocks. Pete (and you) were so patient, encouraging and enthusiastic as you taught us novices how to climb (even repelling in the lightning storm!).

I will also never forget the dream and sparkle in Pete's eyes (and your eyes) as we ate burgers and watched the sunset on your new property in Lander. Your love for one another, for Avery, and for your friends and family is infectious.

All our love and prayers.

Andrew and Becky

Social climber
seneca rocks, WV
Aug 13, 2007 - 10:46pm PT

Pete was one of the original "Gendarme guys" here at Seneca, and will always have a place in our hearts. There's not much to say about someone who was so special and was a part of our lives for so long. We are deeply saddened.

John & Helen
Marc 2

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 13, 2007 - 10:50pm PT
Molly -- I feel so terribly heartbroken for your loss. Pete was such a great guy and I have so many fond memories of you from our J-school days... I still think of you every time I wear the Masherbrum T-shirt I got from Pete -- you guys so brightened up every setting you were in. My thoughts go out to you and Avery.

Marc (UCB '90)

Social climber
Aug 13, 2007 - 10:58pm PT
Dear Molly, Avery, and Pete's family and friends

I am so terribly sorry for this horrible loss. Pete was such an inspiring person for me and so many others. I admire his honesty, compassion, earnestness, devotion to what he believed in, delight in the world, and unending joy in his life with Molly and Avery (aka Mol and Aves). Pete is a model of great character and I respect him immensely.

Liz is quite right to note that Pete will never be gone, as we who were fortunate enough to know him will carry his spirit with us.

I can't begin to fathom how terribly raw this is for you, Molly. My heart broke to hear you sob that you had lost your best friend and adventure buddy. I can't imagine how I can help ease your pain. I know I can't, but please lean on me, let me know how I can help now and in 6 months, cry with me, tell me stories about Pete, know that you and Avery are in my thoughts, and that I love you. Oh, and let me remind you how much delight Pete had in being your husband, and Avery's dad. He adored you both.

With love and healing thoughts to all,
Lynne Wolfe

Trad climber
Driggs, ID
Aug 13, 2007 - 11:03pm PT
Molly and all your/ our climbing community throughout the West and really the world...

Oh Molly I send you a big hug and all the strength I can muster.

So many amazing memories of Pete, of working with him in both your early days at NOLS, ahem getting the rental van somewhat lost out near Black Velvet trying to find a short cut back to the highway. Of us working the first ROC together in the Little Sandy drainage, cruising terrain and scouting for top ropes. My most valued memories are of us working so close together at the RMB as the first program supervisors, sharing an office, sharing opinions, ideas, conversations, and the conviction that no matter the situation, Pete had my back and I would do the same for him.

I will be over this weekend, a quick trip to show my love and support, but the real test of friendship and support will be in the long run. And I will try to be there for you then as well, those long nights in November when you need a friend to talk to about life, sorrow, joy. Call me and I will be there, and you might just get a wild banging on your door some evening when you least expect it.

Molly, your marriage was an example to me, of how 2 people can love one another and support one another, exult in one another's successes and allow one another to go and to do, and to return to the center welcomed with joy.

with all the love I can find...
Mr. C

Aug 13, 2007 - 11:05pm PT
Dear Molly and Avery,
I am so incredibly sorry about Pete. He was as caring and genuine a person as I've ever met, and I know that he was a wonderful husband and father. Pete always sought the best in life and his "things will work out well" attitude inspired the best in those of us fortunate enough to know him.

Even though I have not seen you guys in many years, other NOLS folks would update me on Lander happenings. I'd always hear about your family, or Pete's work at NOLS, or Pete's climbing. He was a constant--the same energetic Pete I'd always known. His presence will be greatly missed.

Our thoughts are with you,
Marco & Laura
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