Yesterday was the sixteenth anniversary of the death of two young men who were very important to me (and to many other people), and of a third, whom I didn't know, who left behind a widow and two small boys.
My boys, my young men, were climbers. Fraternity brothers, climbing partners, and friends. Theirs was a yin-yang friendship. They were opposites with a shared passion for rocks, fear, and accomplishment, and admiration for one another. Hard to know one of them without knowing at least something of the other; impossible to know either without loving him.
These guys, so much younger than I am now, with their third partner, made their assent. Details elude me: name of mountain, for example. But the point was, it was a first assent of the north face of an Alaskan peak. They travelled a bit late in the season, aware that the changing temperature made avalanches a greater than usual risk. They made it to the top, called home, spoke to family, then started down. They never made it.
Great guys, great young men. I am thinking of you, and of your siblings and widows, parents and children.