Just got back from climbing Willard Waterfall with Phil and my father-in-law. It was my father-in-law's first time ice climbing and he did very well. The waterfall has melted out quite a bit over the last couple weeks and there are now some small sections of mixed climbing to make things slightly more interesting. The temps were pretty warm which made for plastic ice and warm bodies. Quite an enjoyable morning, until. . .
When I got home, I ate some breakfast and got on the computer to read some of the climbing blogs I frequent. I first went to Cold Thistle (www.coldthistle.blogspot.com), one of my favorite blogs. I read the title of the post: "Bjorn-Eivind Artun and Stein-Evar Gravdal RIP," and my heart sunk. I have often read about these two climbers and some of the incredible routes they have done. They truly were some of the greatest alpine and ice climbers of our day. I pray for the friends and family of these two climbers that they may feel comfort during this difficult time. They will be missed.
For more information about these two climbers and the routes they have climbed, Dane at Cold Thistle has posted some good links.
Also, a cool, short video and pictures of these two climbers in Norway climbing some massive ice routes:
It is sometimes difficult to accept the fact that mountain sports, especially at such a high level of ability and commitment as these climbers, are dangerous. Each time one heads into the mountains, that person willfully increases the risk to themselves. I have heard many stories recently of skiers and climbers killed in avalanches, falls off of ice, etc. Even a good friend of mine just got back after a somewhat close call on the Grand Teton. It is sobering. And when others ask me why I or anybody else would be crazy enough to ice climb or backcountry ski, sometimes I struggle to find an adequate answer.
But the fact is, many of the very richest and most rewarding experiences I have ever had have been in the mountains. Life, to me, wouldn't be worth living without experiencing moments like that every now and then. So I am grateful to people like Bjorn-Eivind and Stein-Evar (and many others) who have lived their lives in a way that has inspired me to seek out such rewarding experiences for myself. It is unfortunate that their lives have ended, but I am convinced they have even greater experiences awaiting them.