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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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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby susanjoypaul » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:47 am

I didn't know that Spence had skied Elbert.

That book's available right here on this site: http://www.14ers.com/books_dawson.php

Image

Very cool photo. The inside cover reads: "Cover photo of Mount Sneffels (Routes 3.4.7, East Couloir, and 3.4.5, North Buttress) from Cirque Mountain, by Spence Swanger."

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, skidaddle. I was looking at all those photos in the slide presentation, of Spence doing all those 14er winter ascents, and thinking about how we all tend to assume that winter ascents, or skiing 14ers, is some kind of new phenomenon. Those photos reminded me that there were guys like you, and Al, and Lou, and Spence, who were doing this stuff decades before I even did my first 14er! And they did it without fleece, or Gore-tex, or a GPS, or the Internet. And I can't even imagine how heavy those boots and skis and packs must have been. Impressive. And humbling.

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby MountainHiker » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:55 am

Reading through all these posts showed in addition to being an accomplished mountaineer, Spence touched so many lives. Our history of climbing here in the west is still relatively short. It’s notable that with the passing of Spence one of the primary links to our history has gone. Thank you Susan for sharing this tribute.
Red, Rugged, and Rotten: The Elk Range - Borneman & Lampert

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby susanjoypaul » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:02 am

Avrim Cantor wrote:Susan, thank you so much for such meaningful words and photos. It's difficult for me to find the words to express how much Spence's friendship meant to me. I loved him like a brother. As they did for so many of us, Spence and Karen helped nurture my appreciation for the beauty of Nature. Spence taught me how to mountaineer, and through that, he helped me deal with stresses in my own life that created great challenges for me to overcome. Whether his hiking friends were struggling with work issues, relationship issues, health issues, etc., the experience of mountaineering, canyoneering, or just hiking with Spence seemed to help many of us put those issues in perspective, and be better able to deal with them. It doesn't seem real to me that he is gone. I expect my phone to ring, and Spence to say, "let's go do something". I am honored to have known him, to have shared some wonderful experiences with him, and to be part of all of you who did the same. My sympathy goes out to Karen, and other family and friends. I look forward to offering whatever support Karen needs during this most difficult time.

Avrim Cantor, or "Av," as we all knew him, passed away on Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

I met Av through Spence, and did a few 14ers with him. On the first one, Mount Sherman, he shared with me that his cancer - the second bout - was in remission at the time, and he was feeling good. He talked to me about the chemo, and the pain, and what it all had done to him. I asked him, "After all you've been through, are still going through, how can you do this - climb these mountains?" Av responded, "After all I've been through, how can I not?" An amazing man, kind and gentle, and strong.

We summitted in a white out. Doug (DHatfield) took this picture. From left to right, Patrick, Nate, Daniel, me, and Avrim, giving the thumbs up. That was Av, all thumbs up! Always thumbs up. He was the most positive man I knew. Spence, Karen and Jeanette summitted minutes later. What a day. Avrim went on to do many more peaks, and his stories were always some of the best. He never took a single moment for granted, enjoyed every sunrise and sunset - every challenge, every success, every defeat - to him it was all just a grand reminder that he was alive.

Peace to the family and friends of Avrim Cantor. And rest in peace, friend. I write this through tears. I will miss you.

Patrick, Nate, Daniel, me and Av - Summit Mount Sherman, May 1st, 2005
Image

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby tmathews » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:30 am

susanjoypaul wrote:Avrim Cantor, or "Av," as we all knew him, passed away on Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

I met Av through Spence, and did a few 14ers with him. On the first one, Mount Sherman, he shared with me that his cancer - the second bout - was in remission at the time, and he was feeling good. He talked to me about the chemo, and the pain, and what it all had done to him. I asked him, "After all you've been through, are still going through, how can you do this - climb these mountains?" Av responded, "After all I've been through, how can I not?" An amazing man, kind and gentle, and strong.


Aw, damn. RIP. :(

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby Kristy Burns » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:57 am

I met Av through Spence and Karen. Another bright light in the world, with the spirit for adventure. "thumbs up" to Av for a life well lived. Kristy

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby ClimbStewart » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:08 am

Rest in peace Avrim. I'm sorry you took ill and were unable to come to Spence's memorial service last week but I'm sure you two are trading stories now...Stewart

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby d_baker » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:50 pm

Since Spence’s death, I often think about him while I’m in the mountains. On October 31, it was no different, other than I had a piece of him with me; that is, I was wearing a piece (or two) of his gear!

Image
Myself with my new “pumpkin” jacket (fitting don’t you think, since it was Halloween?), and a “new” pair of soft shell pants.
Gladbach is also dressed for the Halloween occasion.
:wink:

I’m sure Spence would have approved of the hike up Humboldt we did. But I think he would be disappointed that I hiked it with four other dudes.
He would have been with his “harem” of beautiful women! (Spence, I still have a long way to go, and a lot to learn about how to hike with a harem! I don’t think you left behind a “how to” book, or notes on that.)

Recently, his wife Karen had asked me if I would like to have some of Spence’s gear.
At first, I felt a little awkward about “shopping” through his outdoor clothing; however, Karen insisted that his friends should be the ones to inherit some of his things, knowing we would enjoy them as much as he did.
And once I saw the extent of his gear (oh my gawd!), well, I could not resist a few new pieces of quality outdoor gear!
So now, when I’m traveling through the wilderness, or when I’m on the high summits in Colorado, I will wear his clothes with honor and will continue to think of him.
I look forward to many adventures wearing his gear!
And I know there will be many of us walking around in the mountains wearing something of Spence’s!

Spence, each time I put on the orange jacket I will think of you. Each time at the ice belay, when I put on my new hooded down, I will thank you for keeping me warm.
And each time I put on one of my new bandanas, I will take you with me up the incline!

Thank you Karen for sharing some of his things with me, and thank you Spence for trying to make me look good in the Mountains!

-Darin-

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby susanjoypaul » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:57 am

I agree, Darin - how wonderful of Karen to share some of Spence's things with his pals.

His fluffy blue Mountain Hardwear fleece kept me toasty warm at camp in the Flat Tops Wilderness a few weeks ago; his Polartec tops and bottoms have been up several 13ers this fall; and I'm looking forward to trying out an Arc'teryx soft-shell and a beautiful GoLite down jacket on more climbs and camping trips this winter.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to wash any of these things, though - they still smell like Spence!

d_baker wrote:Spence, each time I put on the orange jacket I will think of you. Each time at the ice belay, when I put on my new hooded down, I will thank you for keeping me warm.
And each time I put on one of my new bandanas, I will take you with me up the incline!

I can't imagine a better tribute to our dear friend.

I still wear the green wristband that Patrick's mom gave me, on every hike. It reads: "Patrick - May 5, 1987 - Dec 22, 2005 - Climb As High As You Can Dream." Words to climb - and live - by. Carrying a little bit of Patrick, and a little bit of Spence, on each outing, does my soul good. If nothing else, these items serve to remind me how I felt when I was around those guys. Safe, happy, peaceful... alive. And so lucky to have these special men in my life, if even for a short time.

They also remind me to be kinder - and more patient - with people, like Patrick and Spencer always were. And to tell the people in my life right now how much they mean to me. You never know when they - or you, or I - will be gone. Sometimes it's much sooner than you expect.

Looks like you guys had a great day up there... thanks for sharing the photo, and the story. And thanks to Karen and Spence for helping you look good in the mountains. We could all use a little help with that!

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby England » Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:00 pm

It's good to heat that other people are getting use out of those things. Also, I'm glad to hear that other people do this as well. I'm sporting some of Craig Luebben's gear these days, but wasn't sure what to think/feel about it.
Peter Gallagher quote: "Many people say I move fast for a guy that's out of shape. Then I just remind them that round is a shape".

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby d_baker » Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:00 pm

A year ago today, we lost a good guy to the mountains. Spence, I think I'll eat something in the orange food group tonight.
Thinking of you, and hoping you're on a summit somewhere. Cheers my friend.

-Darin

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby Tigerbear » Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:10 pm

Hey Spence!

13 13ers on Labor Day! We knocked em' off! :wink:
people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel...

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Re: Spencer Swanger

Postby Adventurgal » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:49 am

He is truly missed by so many.

A couple weeks ago I was hiking with a group from the Springs and thought about Spence and how he always helped others reach the summit. A real unique gift in character.

I wonder if there is any movement on naming a peak in his honor. Hum.....

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