Just over a year ago, my friend and fellow climbing guide Jack Roberts died after a fall on an ice climbing ascent of Bridalveil Falls near Telluride in southwestern Colorado. It was a freak accident. One of those events that just happens. And I know that Jack is missed by his many friends and his wife Pam.
Here is a two-part blog post--The Fall: Part 1 and The Fall: Part 2 Jack's Last Lesson--that was published last Friday on Cold Thistle: A Cold Look into the World of Alpine Climbing. The first article was written by Jonathon Miller who was climbing with Jack that January day in 2012, belaying him before he fell and doing his best to get him down the big icefall after the accident.
The first article begins: "It isn't often that you get to become friends with your heroes. It's even rarer to be there when they fall." Difficult words from Jonathon to start what is a thoughtful and introspective piece of writing that factually details the accident and its aftermath. The articles give a lot of previously unknown information and provide a timeline that is important for those who knew Jack to honor his memory and many achievements.
The second part, written by Cold Thistle blogger Dane, discusses a climb he did with Jack in the Canadian Rockies where he took a big leader fall on an ice pitch with only a few ice screws for protection. Dane uses the opportunity to let Jack teach us a few last lessons about climbing safety.
Photograph above: Jack Roberts at the Bozeman Ice Festival in Montana a couple weeks before his accident. Photograph © Claudia Lopez