Death smiles at all of us, as it watches and waits for us to be carried down the river of life toward its inevitable terminus. That we’re cursed to witness this ride end for some of the best people (the BEST) sooner rather than later makes death’s smiling face particularly salient and difficult to face.
Climbing is a sport that offers us plenty of opportunities to stare into this experience directly and contemplate what it means for our own existence and purpose. It’s unclear whether this opportunity, to be so closely connected to the potential consequences of our passion, is ultimately a good thing psychologically; whether it’s a “gift or a curse,” as a wise friend once mused.
Regardless, it’s a fact that “it” happens, and when it does, we should be open to seeking help so as not to mute all the future experience and joy of consciousness that awaits around the next river’s bend.
I’m so happy that the American Alpine Club Climbing Grief Fund exists, and is a source for support, conversation, and resources for climbers who have experienced the particularly fucked kind of pain that is grief. Thank you to Madaleine Sorkin for creating this organization. Thanks to Henna Taylor for her beautiful, poignant film “A Thousand Ways to Kiss the Ground.”
Right now, you can watch this film through a small >$15 donation to the Climbing Grief Fund. Please support this group so they can continue to support climbers who need help.
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