It’s time again. But, then, it’s always time to keep that mountain moving. Unfortunately, a second annual tribute climb on Mt. Rainier couldn’t be arranged this year; however, the mountaineering community in Ashford, Washington gathered on September 18, 2010 to plant a tree in Fede’s honor.
I would like to use Gabriel Barral’s words to explain the events of the day as I wasn’t present: “There were 17 guides that helped in the tree planting, which is “un monton” because it is the end of the season in Ashford; therefore, every guide in Ashford attended. Almost everyone helped dig the whole for the tree and then we placed the small douglas fir in its new home. Every guide placed a rock around the tree to protect it from potential accidental damage from someone who may not see it. I brought my rock from a place behind the Ranch [the name of the house where all of the guides live; the tree was planted nearby]. I had never walked in that direction before. When I finally found the rock it took me almost a half hour to carry it back. It was raining, so I really had to push myself to keep going. But, it also gave me time to think about Fede. When the tree was finally planted I became very emotional and began to cry, it was unexpected but the emotions appeared and I suppose they needed to be let out. I only said a few words; there were some guides that began this year in RMI [the name of the company that they all work for] and so I simply said that what I remembered of Fede was his smile. The rocks that we placed around the tree weren’t sufficient to form a circle; however, the rock formation had the shape of a smile, a smile around the tree, to protect it. It is very symbolic, but it honestly looks like Fede’s smile. Something else also happened. A small little snake came out of the dirt where we planted the tree and it was sitting there a few minutes, almost watching what we were doing. It was beautiful to see.
On this day I could still feel all of the love and admiration that all of the guides still feel for Fede.”
A fire ring was also made (by Jake, a co-worker and friend) and that night the guides had a big celebration of food, a bonfire, and memories of Fede.”
I think that this gesture by friends and co-workers of Fede, and even individuals who did not know him, but share his same passion and profession, is symbolic of the Aconcagua climbing community to also continue the process of growth. So, I am throwing out the seed, lets begin working again, together towards a working emergency protocol and a better, more efficient rescue system in Aconcagua. When they planted the tree everyone that was there, everyone in the community, put a rock around the tree. Therefore, each of us, in this community, need to put in our effort to make sure that growth continues. Therefore, please, I ask that a meeting occur and discussions and/or revisions of an emergency protocol begin.
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