Many of you by now have heard the news that Chris Spurgeon was killed in a wet slide avalanche on Monday, June 14; a small group of friends located his body yesterday morning about 9:30 at the base of the Lantern Lake Couloir, which drops northwest from the summit of Lolo Peak. Based on his injuries I can say with confidence that it is highly unlikely he suffered. He was not buried; he died from trauma sustained in the avalanche.
Many of Chris's family and friends have come together in this crisis to offer one another support and love. We are all in shock and wrestling with the reality of losing such an amazing human being. Words cannot possibly express the sorrow Chris's family--Susie, Mike, Rick, and others--are feeling at this time. My heart is breaking for their loss, as well as for my own, and for yours. Our lives will never be the same again.
I skied with Chris two days before he died, from the summit of Gray Wolf Peak in the Missions. He was ecstatic that day, and talked about the book he was reading, "Autobiography of a Yogi," about Eastern spirituality, life and death, and the presence of God in nature. For the rest of my life I will remember him flying down the summit snowfield, a smile on his face, his beloved Missions to the north.
Every one of you, I am sure, has dozens of stories to share about Chris as we move forward without him. I encourage you to gather, to share your stories, to laugh, to hug each other, to be with friends, and to be reminded of the preciousness of each moment we share together. Looking south to Lolo Peak has been helpful for me today, as I take some solace in knowing he was living his life on his own terms, one of the most free spirits I have ever known.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who knew and love Chris.