I have it on pretty good authority that the family has been notified. If any of Rob's family happens upon this post and finds otherwise, please accept my sincere apologies. Please reference this thread if you don't know.
Rob was an exceptional friend. I hiked Sherman with him and Dillon Sarnelli last December and did the Maroon Bells Traverse with him, Dan McCool, and Greg Fischer last June. Anyone who knew Rob knew him to be a young man full of life. I exchanged PM's with him nearly every day of the week.
This is all I know for now. I'm sure Rob's companions will add details as they can. I'm asking all of you to keep Dan McCool (dmccool), Dillon Sarnelli (dillonsarnelli), and especially Tyler Prince (MountainMedic, who's recovering from a broken ankle) and Greg Fischer (gregory_fischer) in your thoughts. They will need the support of the 14ers community in the months to come.
Yesterday (Saturday) right before 4:00, I got a call from a friend of mine who is with Mountain Rescue Aspen. They were responding to a call made by someone who originally reported an accident last year on Snowmass Mountain in which a young man died. I know all of the people involved in that. The accident occurred near Hagerman Peak, a Centennial Peak which shares a ridge with Snowmass Mountain. I immediately tried to start contacting as many people as I can, but wasn't able to get in touch with anyone.
Around 8:30, I got another call. My contact told me, "Rob didn't make it." My heart dropped. He didn't know a last name, but said he'd try and find out and get back to me. I started calling everyone again. I was finally able to get Greg on the phone. I spoke fast and furiously and then asked where he was. As it turned out, he was in Aspen. He said that it was our friend Rob who had died and he was with the group involved in the accident. Our other friend, Tyler, broke his leg and was heading for surgery.
I spoke with another friend in our social circle, James, later on. He told me that he had met the group on Snowmass' summit and that they had planned to traverse to Hagerman. On their way down, they started seeing helicopters circling the area. When they got back to the trailhead, they ran into some members of a SAR team from Gunnison County. They didn't have details, but James said he needed to find out. He responded to a private message I had sent to our group earlier in the day and asked me to give him a call. I had to break the news to him about Rob.
It feels like I have a sucking chest wound; I'm still finding a bit difficult to breathe. Rob was only 24. He was planning to finish his list of 14ers on Mt. Sneffels in less than a month. I'm at a loss of words. This is the only thing that is bringing me a measure of comfort:Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
-- Mary Elizabeth Frye
I love you, Rob. Thank you for everything that you have contributed to my life. Be at peace, my friend. Your journey is over.