Mountains and death are as inextricably linked; the names of those who have died as much a part of each mountain’s history as those that survived. If not more. The list of people who have perished is in fact more easily recited than those who have lived. Alex Lowe, Anatoli Boukreev, Wanda Rutkiewicz, Scott Fisher... The list goes go on and on. Two more names were added in the last month, neither were famous, but judging by the number of visitors to this site searching for information about them, both left gaping holes in the world. That they both went missing in the Himalayas is a coincidence, but the fact that so many people followed the search efforts and hoped for a miracle, speaks to the character and impact each seems to have had on the people around them.
Erica Kutcher, from the Great Neck Record On Sunday, family and friends of Erica Kutcher, gathered to lovingly pay tribute to the young woman whose irrepressible spirit continues to inspire all who knew her to live life more fully. As her loved ones told their stories of Erica, a portrait emerged of an adventurer with an infectious laugh, an impish sense of humor, a passionate love for wild and beautiful places, and boundless strength, energy and resourcefulness.
Trevor Stokol, from the Dallas Morning News Stokol, Trevor Eric died "living his dream" with camera in hand near Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Tenacious and resilient, strong physically, emotionally and in truth, he lived an impassioned and full life. Trevor was a graduate of RMA and Emory University and was about to start medical school, no doubt to serve the disadvantaged. He lived his 25 years with gusto, knew no stranger and died at peace with himself and the world around him. He will be sorely missed by his parents, sister Jodi and all those who knew and loved him. May our Trevels rest in peace. A memorial service/tribute to Trevor's life will be held Wednesday August 17th at 7:00 pm at Chabad of Dallas. Contributions may be directed to Chabad of Dallas or the Trevor Stokol Fund.
If I'd just started blogging a few years earlier, Tim might still be here after reading my entry warning people that grizzlies were still carnivorous. That's what I do. Spread the word. Help people. Like Zorro, but with a computer. Anyway, after winning the Alfred P. Sloan Award (what does a guy who made cars have to do with movies?) at Sundance, the latest Werner Herzog film opened to wider release this weekend. The documentary examines the life of Timothy Treadwell, an amateur (and um, crazy) naturalist who lived and died among the grizzly of Katmai National Park. From the NY Times:
One rainy afternoon in the Alaskan wilderness two years ago, a self-made man named Timothy Treadwell was mauled and eaten by a grizzly bear. It may be that the animal, a scrawny male about 28 years old and 1,000 pounds, was trying to fatten up in preparation for its winter's sleep.
The movie has garnered quite a few positive reviews. Personally though, I'd be worried if Variety magazine called my movie, "Nothing short of extraordinary". Anyway, I can summarize the movie and the moral of the story. Do not pet bears. They will eat you. Oh, and also, "Americans, not the brightest bulbs in the box". If you're interested in more erudite reviews, then by all means:
“Nothing short of extraordinary.” – Variety “An astonishing portrait...brilliant.” – RogerEbert.com “One of the best nature films ever made.” – Hollywood Reporter “One of the most remarkable works of Werner Herzog's long career.” – Los Angeles Times “A surprisingly affecting examination of the life of Timothy Treadwell.” – Salon.com
Folks. Listen. If you've never been to Death Valley, don't outsmart yourself and think the name is a misnomer. You know, like calling the fat Italian mafia guy, Tiny. The Vally is as hot as a spring day in Hell. Last time I went backpacking there I carried 4 gallons, or about 32 lbs of water for me and my girlfriend, and I was still thirsty. Anyway, the latest two deaths in the valley, bring the total to 3 this summer and serve as a grim reminder. Bring water. Read about a little about desert camping here. Be smart. Like the Boy Scouts, at least the Boy Scouts of old since the modern version seem to be having a lot of bad luck with the outdooors this summer, be prepared. Read more about the latest deaths here.
The latest news about Trevor is sad indeed. His family reports that all possible areas have been searched, some multiple times. He has been missing since July 22nd, when he disappeared near Everest BC. The latest report from their website:
Trevor died on top of the world in his mountains with his camera. We are grieving, no doubt, but there is peace that comes from knowing that he was in his element living one of the greatest times of his life.
They will be returning home to sit shiva. Our thoughts are with the Stokol family, Barbara, Jodi, and Arnold.
Latest news from Yosemite, where the large amounts of water continue to make anything water related potentially dangerous. Especially swimming in places clearly marked with warnings.
A 24-year-old hiker died Saturday in Yosemite National Park after falling over Vernal Fall. Chintan Chokshi, a San Francisco area resident, crossed the safety barrier at the top of the Fall to cool off after hiking, lost his footing, and was witnessed being swept over the fall. Rangers were called to the scene at approximately 11:15 am. Searchers will continue to look for Chokshi's body on foot and by helicopter through today.