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Spencer Swanger

Threads related to Colorado mountaineering accidents but please keep it civil and respectful. Friends and relatives of fallen climbers will be reading these posts.
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Please be respectful when posting - family and friends of fallen climbers might be reading this forum.
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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby susanjoypaul » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:54 pm

Thank you all who provided so many great photos and memories of their times with Spence. We collected all the pictures and wonderful comments, from this thread and all the emails you sent, along with many beautiful sentiments from others, and put them in a book for Karen. We were keeping it a secret, but tonight we gave it to her, and I know she appreciated it.

There were over a hundred photos of places we shared with Spence, from all over the world, and enough memories to fill a multitude of lifetimes. That outpouring was a reflection of how he lived his life on this earth, and it all came back to him, in his passing. So, thank you. Every word, every picture, means something, represents a moment in time that was special for you, and I'm sure, for Spencer, as well.

We'll have a second book at the memorial, for folks to sign, and add photos to, if they like. And more details about that soon. Thank you.

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby 14erFred » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:33 pm

May you rest in peace, Spencer. And may your alpine legacy continue to inspire generations of climbers worldwide. Heartfelt condolences to all who knew and loved this amazing man.
"Live as on a mountain." -- Marcus Aurelius

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby jdegling » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:08 pm

Sounds like I am diminished by never getting the chance to meet or hike with this gentlemen. Rest in Peace.
"Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?"

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby donnagail » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:17 pm

Susan, Just today for the first time have I had the opportunity to sit down after returning from Italy Monday night and starting back to work on Tuesday to read some of the posts. When I read your story about the group yelling at Spence, which had to do with his legs, the tears began to fall. On one of the climbs, I was following right behind Spence on a Via Ferrata and yelled at him to 'stop'. When he turned around and looked at me, I said, "I just want to get a picture of those great looking legs!" and of course, he modestly posed briefly for me to take his picture. Guess we all thought the same thing about those legs. Here is a picture of those good looking legs taken July 15th.
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Picture of Spence's good looking legs. Shot taken July 15, 2010.
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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby donnagail » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:35 pm

Photos from the 2010 Dolomite trip. Thank you to Karen for all the time and effort she and Spence put in to this trip. Words can not express the sadness we share. We will always remember...Spencer Glenn Swanger, a man loved by so many.
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2010 Dolomite team: L to R: Wife Karen, Karen B., Spence, Nona G., Margo L., Donna B., Donna Gail S.
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2010 Dolomite
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2010 Dolomite
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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby donnagail » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:44 pm

Few more photos - 2010 Dolomite Trip
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July 20, 2010 11:19am
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Treasure hunting...another one of Spence's hobbies.
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Joe with the Italy's Search & Rescue
copyDSCN2852.jpg (150.89 KiB) Viewed 2709 times

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby flintster » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:36 pm

Climbed Culebra Peak today (8/11)

Ran into friends of Mr Swanger at the top. They shared a few great stories with us, had a toast, and then scattered his ashes on the summit. It was quite a tribute. Thanks for sharing, wish we had crossed paths before today.

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby donnagail » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:57 pm

Karen emailed me today and told me you were doing this. That's great! I know it was a hard first step for you and Karen. This is the way Spence would have wanted it.
His spirit was with you on the mountain just as it was with us as we hiked in Italy after the accident. You can feel his presence. Thank you for sharing.

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby susanjoypaul » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:16 am

I agree, Donna. Spencer had planned on Culebra this week, to help his friend finish his 14ers. He loved those peaks - the 14ers - he climbed them over and over again. And Spence was always happy to join a friend on their "finisher," no matter how many times he'd been up the peak. He had planned on joining my buddy Doug and I next year, on Doug's final Centennial. I remember him saying he'd come along, "as long as it's not Dallas!" Spence had done the second ascent of Dallas, and was the first to solo it. From what I recall, he encountered some rock fall and was nearly scalped coming off that particular peak!

Anyway, I agree that Spence would have wanted to have kept his promise, and accompanied his friend on Culebra. What a beautiful gesture, to carry his ashes and scatter them to the high mountain winds.

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby susanjoypaul » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:47 pm

Here's the obituary for Spencer Glenn Swanger. I'll have more on the memorial in a few days. I know that the family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the rescue squad that helped out Spencer's climbing team in the Dolomites.

If you would like to make a donation, Spencer's wife Karen has set up an account locally where you can submit a check for this fund. Make the check out to Karen Morris, and write on the memo section that it is a donation for Spencer Swanger, Account S-10. Donations should be sent to Harrison District 2 Federal Credit Union, 1060 Harrison Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80905. All contributions will go directly to support Sesto Alpine Rescue.

    Spencer Glenn Swanger

    Born May 15, 1940 in Reading PA, to Elsie and Phillip Swanger.
    Died instantly, as the result of a fall, July 20, 2010, in the Dolomites of northern Italy.

    Spence grew up in the Reading, Pennsylvania area, and attended Kutztown State College, 1958-1960. His life’s adventures began during his marriage to Susan Zehner, 1962-1993. From 1962-1965 he was in the 318th US Army Security Agency Battalion, stationed in Germany. He moved to Colorado Springs and began working for the Postal Service in 1965, retiring in 1992.

    Spence joined the Colorado Mountain Club in 1966 and was a Trip Leader for 40 years. Spence was the first person to summit “The Centennials," the 100 highest peaks in Colorado. As an inveterate worldwide traveler, he hiked and climbed in more than 30 countries across five continents, from the Himalayas to the Serengeti. He enriched the mountaineering community by inspiring others, instilling his passion for adventure.

    Pursuing another passion, Spence joined the Pikes Peak Camera Club in 1967. He was an award-winning and professional photographer for 25 years. His photographs were showcased in prominent publications including National Geographic, Backpacker, National Wildlife, as well as textbooks and outdoor guides.

    After a 13-year relationship, Spence and Karen Morris married on Valentine’s Day, 2006. He is survived by daughters Christina Frazer and Heidi Woods, and grandchildren Isabel and Matthew Woods.

    Spence was truly a multi-dimensional Renaissance man, with a wide array of interests and passions. He had an extensive knowledge and large musical collections of J.S .Bach and classic jazz performers, especially Louis Armstrong. His depth of knowledge of international military history and the settlement history of the American Southwest inspired many of his trips. He was a baseball devotee and an avid long-distance bicyclist.

    Most of all, Spence remained an intrepid explorer, thriving on the exhilaration and delights of climbing in high places. Spence’s iconic standing was due to his position as an active link between the history and the future of Colorado mountaineering. His mentors were people like Carl Blaurock, Paul Petzoldt, and Bill Bueler. Thank you, Spence, for sharing your bottomless wealth of experience with so many of us, and seeing us through climbs many of us dreamed about, but never really thought we could do.
Last edited by susanjoypaul on Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby Uffda » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:08 pm

I also happened to be on Culebra yesterday and had the privilege to witness the scattering of Mr. Swanger's ashes. Here's the scene I captured:

culebra.jpg
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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby 14erFred » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:40 pm

A powerful moment indeed. Thanks for sharing.
"Live as on a mountain." -- Marcus Aurelius

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