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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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Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby scottrappold » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:58 pm

(From the reporter)
Thanks to those who called and e-mailed to share your thoughts and stories on Spencer. He sounds like a fascinating person.
Here's the story:
By R. SCOTT RAPPOLD

THE GAZETTE

For Spencer Swanger, the mountains could be “lonely, frightening places sometime” – but he went anyway, to the loneliest, most frightening places in Colorado, in pursuit of adventure.

He was the first person to scale the state’s 100 highest peaks, completing that task in the late 1970s, and he spent the ensuing decades as a humble legend in mountaineering circles, leading generation after generation to the some of the highest spots in Colorado and around the world.

Swanger, a retired postal carrier from Colorado Springs, died Tuesday in a fall in the Dolomites, a rugged mountain chain in Italy, where he and his wife were celebrating her retirement. He was 70.
The loss of this elder statesman of the high country, who boasted there was never an injury on a trip he led, caused shock and sadness throughout the mountaineering community.

“He just felt at home in the mountains,” said his daughter, Christina Frazer. “So whether he was climbing or backpacking or technical rock climbing or just hiking, that’s where he wanted to be all the time. That was his spiritual place.”

Read the whole story at http://www.outtherecolorado.com/latest-blogs/local-climbing-legend-dies-in-fall.html.

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Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby robmbarrett » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:02 pm

DSC00247.jpg
Another photo from Italy - Dolomites - 2008
DSC00247.jpg (201.24 KiB) Viewed 2392 times

Posts: 5
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Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby robmbarrett » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:06 pm

In this video -- Spencer snaps a photo and then exclaims "Excellent".....
Dolomites - 2008.

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/66v5TesCjOSUwscX9Wr_Afje4dvCJpkuHMF0ZWKVIso?feat=directlink



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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby tmathews » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:12 pm

scottrappold wrote:(From the reporter)
Thanks to those who called and e-mailed to share your thoughts and stories on Spencer. He sounds like a fascinating person.
Here's the story:
By R. SCOTT RAPPOLD

THE GAZETTE

For Spencer Swanger, the mountains could be “lonely, frightening places sometime” – but he went anyway, to the loneliest, most frightening places in Colorado, in pursuit of adventure.

Read the whole story at http://www.outtherecolorado.com/latest-blogs/local-climbing-legend-dies-in-fall.html.


Nice article, Scott.

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Posts: 358
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Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby SpringsHiker » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:13 pm

tmathews wrote:
Nice article, Scott.


+1
"I am not a fizzy yellow beer drinking ninny!"

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby GuatemalaGirl » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:57 pm

Beautiful story, Susan. He was my dear adventurous friend. I will be forever thankful that I had this time with him.

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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:56 pm

Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby tmathews » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:33 pm

KRDO (Channel 13 in Colorado Springs) ran a short mention of Spencer this evening. I recorded it with my small camera and thought I would share it with the community.


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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby d_baker » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:54 pm

sigh....what's there to say about Spence that hasn't been said already?
Though I never had the chance to hike or climb a peak with him, I would run into him occasionaly on the incline. The latest was just a few weeks ago. I was coming down, and he was going up. I turned around and went a ways with him so we could talk without slowing him down on his workout.
I'm thankful now that I took the time to visit with him a bit on that day.
Spence, I'll miss you.
And thanks for everything you did, and for who you were. You won't be forgotten.

And to the rest of his Dolomite team (his wife Karen, Donna B., Nona, Donna G., & Karen B), who are still over there, my heart and thoughts go out to you all.

-Darin

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby kaiman » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:52 pm

I first remember reading about Spencer Swanger and his pursuit of the top 100 peaks in Colorado years ago in William Bueler's Roof of the Rockies: A History of Colorado Mountaineering. What struck me about him then and continues to stay with me to this day, is that in many ways he seemed like a Jeff Clark figure (anyone who has seen Stacey Peralta's big wave surfing epic Riding Giants should get the reference), a guy who just went out there and did it because he could. Not for fame, glory, or anything else other then self-fulfillment.

In my opinion mountaineering needs more people like this.

Rest in peace Spencer. May others find the humility and inspiration to follow in your footsteps.
"I want to keep the mountains clean of racism, religion and politics. In the mountains this should play no role."

- Joe Stettner

"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

- Edward Whymper

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Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby robmbarrett » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:15 pm

Spencer -- 2009 Zion National Park in Utah
2009 July Zion From Bob's Camera 361.jpg
Spencer Rappelling - 2009 Zion National Park
2009 July Zion From Bob's Camera 361.jpg (207.31 KiB) Viewed 2727 times

2009 July Zion From Sandra's Camera 183.jpg
Spencer in the Narrows -- 2009 Zion National Park
2009 July Zion From Sandra's Camera 183.jpg (257.07 KiB) Viewed 2772 times

2009 July Zion From Bob's Camera 354.jpg
Spencer Rappelling 2009 Zion National Park
2009 July Zion From Bob's Camera 354.jpg (307.32 KiB) Viewed 2765 times

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby Kristy Burns » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:07 am

My heart is broken. I will miss my friend Spence. We shared many hikes, backpacking trips, treasure hunting trips in the Utah canyons, Y workouts, and inclining. We had great conversations and many laughs. What a sense of humor. I loved the way Spence lived life. His love for adventure, for the outdoors and for people. I loved Spence's spirit, his ability to take in the moment and experience it fully. He came by our house several weeks ago to meet our new puppy and to share recently found treasures. Spence, in his easy going way, looking so intensely at the arrowheads and petrified wood, slowly soaking in the beauty of each piece. He fully engaged in the process, commenting on the beauty and admiring the detailed work of our ancestors. I remember Spence on the mountains dressed in all of the best gear. We were gear heads and always talked about new purchases and possessions we wanted to take from each other. He joked that he had put a hit out on Netty because he coveted her red wind jacket. I remember Spence in the desert canyons looking for treasure. He would take his shirt off (he liked sun on his back) and like a kid became engrossed in the moment, unaware of time. I remember running into Spence at the Y and standing in the middle of the weight room discussing adventures past and future, never getting around to the work out. I remember eating pizza after a long hike. I remember the backpacking trip in the Wind River and how the next morning we all commented on the hellacious rumblings of the thunder and lightning storm during the night. Spence said "What storm? I didn't hear anything." We laughed. My soul hurts, what a tremendous loss. I love you Spence. Thanks for the adventure and thanks for being you. Kristy

Spence was no ordinary hiker. He embodied the spirit of the the true outdoorsman. He recounted the life stories of Aldo Leopold, John Muir, Edward Abbey, and other outdoor legends and he shared with them the value of a life well-lived in nature. He told great tales of pioneering mountain climbers and about early explorers of the Southwest. You could learn a lot between the trailhead and the summit or canyon floor. We once had a long conversation about what it would have been like to have been with the Wetherill brothers the first time they rode into Chaco Canyon and I got goose bumps as he talked about imagining himself lying down in a rain storm on top of the mummies to protect them from the rain like the Wetherills had done. Spence made you think about stuff like that. I'll miss Spence's intensity and Spence's levity. He was easy to be around and easy to like. I don't think I ever had a conversation with him where we didn't laugh out loud at least once. Goodbye Spence. I miss you already. Netty
Attachments
surrounded by beauty.jpg
enjoying the moment wind river 2007
surrounded by beauty.jpg (206.99 KiB) Viewed 2571 times
collaborators resize.jpg
Karen and Spence talk the trail
collaborators resize.jpg (89.73 KiB) Viewed 2552 times
snack break.JPG
surrounded by friends
snack break.JPG (111.82 KiB) Viewed 2551 times

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby Kristy Burns » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:31 am

Spence loved the canyons almost as well as he loved the mountains.
Attachments
spence and karen in buckskin canyon resize.JPG
Admiring the blue wall
spence and karen in buckskin canyon resize.JPG (80.2 KiB) Viewed 2419 times
spence in the worm hole at jailhouse ruin.jpg
Spence exploring Jailhouse ruin Grand Gulch
spence in the worm hole at jailhouse ruin.jpg (59.06 KiB) Viewed 2393 times

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