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 Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Pyramid Peak  -  14,018 feet
Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Snowmass Mountain  -  14,092 feet
Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
 Post Date:  07/17/2013 Modified: 08/12/2013
 Date Climbed:   07/13/2013
 Posted By:  lakecityrat
 State of Euphoria with Terry Mathews   

Wow. Where to start? As I attempt to explain the impact that Terry had on my life in a few short paragraphs, I am overcome by the impossibility of my task. Perhaps if I had Terry’s eloquence that always came through in his trip reports I would fare better.

I met Terry on Mt. Columbia back in 2009. It was his third attempt at this peak, and he was descending after finally making it to the top. We got to chatting while I waited for my companions to catch up. We exchanged contact info, but really, who ever follows up on those things? Terry, that’s who. We covered a lot of miles together over the next four years. I am not sure how many 14’ers we climber together, but it was at least a dozen. While I will not detail all of them, I feel compelled to share a few. Terry pushed me to places I never would have been without his help. We tackled many of the most challenging peaks together. The Snowmass “S-Ridge” was our first adventure.


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Terry and Nick tackling the S-Ridge

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Snowmass group summit shot

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Happy Terry on S-Ridge


Soon thereafter we hiked Mt. Massive in late Spring (remember me burning Loring’s brand new boots trying to dry them out)?

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Obligatory summit shot - Mt. Massive

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Terry on Mt. Massive


More adventures ensued, Mt. Sherman – my first time hiking in snowshoes and Mt. Yale, my first calendar winter ascent.

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Terry and I on top of Yale

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Terry in Winter mode


We tackled the Wilson Group together. Scaling the El Diente couloir (with Terry in the lead, of course). How could Moon make it 100’ from the summit and then stop to make his daily constitutional? Terry always got a kick out of our weirdness. On the descent, Terry lost control in the couloir and had to self-arrest. I thought he was going to smash himself on the rocks, but he had diligently logged hours practicing his technique and was able to safely stop.

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Terry leads the way up the El Diente couloir

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Terry and Nick on the summit of El Diente

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Terry near summit of Wilson Peak

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Brad and Terry goofing off near Rock of Ages Saddle

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Navajo Lake



Terry invited me to hike Pyramid with him, Jerry and Dzuy. This pushed my comfort level, but with Terry’s experienced hand guiding the way, I never blinked in achieving my first Class 4 summit.


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Terry scaling Pyramid Peak

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Pyramid Group summit shot


Next was Capitol. I had watched numerous You Tube videos on the knife edge, always with my palms sweating. Terry not only led the way with no hesitation, but he walked right across the thing on the way back. Later, he laughed his ass off as Brad and I jumped naked into Capitol Lake. Afterwards, we celebrated at Kim’s in Carbondale well into the night. I had never seen Terry have so much fun before.

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Terry photographs the beauty of the area

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Terry and Brad at start of knife edge

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Terry saunters across the knife edge

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Friends


We had difficulty coordinating things this trip, but I ran into Terry atop Maroon Peak, and he joined us for our traverse over to North Maroon. Once again, his experience and guidance gave me the confidence to overcome my fears. We saw mountain goats, a moose swimming in Maroon Lake and two separate mama bears and cubs on this hike. This day ranks as one of the most memorable of my life, and I am glad that Terry was a part of it.

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Celebrating ringing the Bells!



I had begged Terry for a year or so to guide me up Little Bear. My daughter was due to be born soon, and I wanted to tackle this scary peak before she arrived. My wife was reticient to green light this hike, but once whe knew Terry was going, she agreed. She knew if Terry went I was in good hands. Terry was a tad reluctant to make this trip, as he had already been up the Bear twice that year as part of honoring the memory of Kevin Hayne, but as always he was willing to take me under his wing and make sure I made it home safely. We ended up having a 16-hour day on the mountain while battling the smoke from the New Mexico fires and the strongest winds I have ever encountered. But, we did it. Together.

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Obligatory summit shot - Little Bear


I last saw Terry about a month ago when we climbed Mt. Lindsey. We rolled into the campground and there he was, sitting on the tailgate of his trusty silver Blazer, big smile on his face. Ever the faithful companion, he offered me his spare helmet as he knew there was a risk of rock fall near the top. Ever the accomplished climber, he ended up leading a class 4 route that avoided the loose rock in the red gully. Ever the unselfish friend, I had to drag him into these photos (“I have lots of pictures of me on 14’ers, I want pictures of my friends” was his comment).

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Mt. Lindsey - my last hike with Terry

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Terry taught me the "photograph your GPS" trick

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Friends celebrating a successful trip on Mt. Lindsey


When I think of Terry, an overwhelming wave of images flood my mind. There’s Terry focusing his huge SLR camera to get the perfect shot. He rarely wanted to be in a photograph; rather he sought to capture the accomplishments and excitement of his friends. There’s the image of Terry with his ridiculously heavy back-pack, because he wanted to make sure he had all of the tools should someone need his help.

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Terry's trademarked ridiculously over-stuffed pack



There’s Terry rousing the camp at 3:30 AM, because he knew that we needed to get going to make a safe summit attempt. I think of sitting in my office the Monday after a hike, eagerly awaiting Terry’s trip report. I think of a friend who never hesitated to help others, but for some reason never could figure out how to ask for the help he needed. I know Terry was not religious, but I am, and I like to think of him like this. Looking down on us as we climb, ready to point out a toehold or extend a helping hand.

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Watching over his friends



I asked Terry on Mt. Lindsey how many 14’er summits he had. I forget the exact answer, but it was 150+. While that is an amazing feat in itself, the true demonstration of Terry’s life is found in reading the comments on this website and seeing how many lives he touched on his journey to the summit. I find solace in my belief that life is not about how long you live, but how you live. I was surprised in reviewing Terry’s trip reports that we have only known each other for 4 years. I had more good times with him than most people I have known my entire life.

I regret that I was not a better friend to Terry. I wish I would have made a stronger effort to help him tackle his personal problems. Perhaps it was because I always saw him in the mountains, where he was happy, that I never quite grasped the seriousness of his depression. In any case, I am sorry Terry that I did not try harder.

Terry took this picture of a Columbine on our trip to Capitol. I have always loved this one, and it gets me thinking. The Columbine is one of nature’s finest accomplishments, yet it does not care to grow in the comfortable climate of a city garden. It does not prefer to grow in a pot, where every need is attended to. Rather, it makes its home above tree line, thriving where the air is thin, the wind is strong and conditions are challenging. Yes, its growing season is short, but for the short time that it is here, there is no greater gift from God. This was Terry.


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One of many photographic gems Terry created



I have spent a lot of time over the past few days reading many of Terry’s blogs about the adventures we had together. I hope this treasure is preserved forever. I came across the following quote from Terry in one of his reports:

“Hikers are hikers; we are all one and the same. The color of our skin doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all have the mountains in our blood. The mountains are food for our souls.”

I miss my friend Terry already. His expertise. His patience. His compassion. His sly sense of humor. His smile. Thank you for showing me the way to reach the State of Euphoria. I am forever in your debt, my friend.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):


  • Comments or Questions
rajz06


Touching Tribute!     2013-07-17 13:52:49
The Columbine analogy brought tears to my eyes. Too beautiful for words - thank you!


dnye


Amazing.     2013-07-17 13:59:35
”The Columbine is one of nature’s finest accomplishments, yet it does not care to grow in the comfortable climate of a city garden. It does not prefer to grow in a pot, where every need is attended to. Rather, it makes its home above tree line, thriving where the air is thin, the wind is strong and conditions are challenging. Yes, its growing season is short, but for the short time that it is here, there is no greater gift from God. This was Terry.”


anasarca76


That is a wonderful tribute!     2013-07-17 14:07:00
I think you did a great job reflecting at least some of Terrys impact on your life. That is a wonderful write up and tribute to a fallen friend!


Picucci


Well said     2013-07-17 17:12:43
As I read this tribute and tears roll down my face, I cant help but notice how many picture I am in with Terry. The man also had a profound impacted on my life. He introduced me to side of my self that I wasn't sure existed. Along with Brian he pushed me up the ridge route on Snowmass, even when fear wanted to take over. He also taught me how to ascend my first couloir on El Diente. He Guided me up many peaks in 4 years I knew him and I will never stand on another summit without thinking of Terry.


kushrocks


Absolutely Beautfiul     2013-07-17 18:08:16
I think this quote below fits my thoughts exactly. Very touching tribute. You need to put a link to this on the ”Celebration of the life for Terry Matthews” even on facebook. This would mean a lot to all his friends who are not on 14ers.com. Well done my friend.

”I know Terry was not religious, but I am, and I like to think of him like this. Looking down on us as we climb, ready to point out a toehold or extend a helping hand.”


globreal


Priceless TR.     2013-09-09 18:06:45
Brian, this report is wonderful….so well done. I love this quote about the Columbine flower:

...its home above tree line, thriving where the air is thin, the wind is strong and conditions are challenging. Yes, its growing season is short, but for the short time that it is here, there is no greater gift from God. This was Terry.

I too wish I could have made a greater difference in helping Terry. For that I am sad. I wish you were still here Terry.

Thanks Brian for this write up.


claybonnyman


Agreed     2014-08-11 07:19:41
That columbine analogy is poetic, moving and true. Thank you.



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