My friend Guy Lacelle passed away late last week while climbing in Hyalite Canyon, Montana. While i am extremely sad with his passing, i can't help but celebrate the many days of ice and mixed climbing we've shared over the years. Guy and I shared a lot of the same beliefs. He did not drink alcohol, despised elitism and secrecy, and believed it's not about what you've got, but what you give. There is no doubt Guy had what it took to be "Guy Lacelle" soloist, mixed climber, ice master, and explorer of new terrain, but his life was about giving. And that is what he did with his time and his talent. To many he will be remembered as one of the best ice climbers in the world, but to those who have known Guy for decades, or for those who knew him for a brief few hours, he will be remembered as someone who loved climbing, loved sharing it with anyone who had passion, and loved the human spirit of compassion, motivation, and wanted to see others succeed.
This weekend many of the best ice climbers in the world gathered at the Bozeman Ice Festival to share our love of winter climbing with others who wanted to learn about it. In the wake of Guy's death and the heavy cloud of sorrow that haunted many of us, we could not disappoint our friend by calling it quits for the weekend. And I'm glad we didn't. I got to share two full days with dozens of people who wanted to learn about ice and mixed climbing. It's not paid guiding. All or most of the athletes who attend the Bozeman Ice Festival donate our time to share skills with those in attendance. Simply for the love of sharing what makes our lives so meaningful.
The highlight of the weekend was sharing some time with my friend Tom Smartt, who had never been ice climbing before. He pretty much owned every piece of ice and mixed route he attempted. It was like watching an artist paint a picture!
Without the opportunity to share what i know, climbing would be selfish and meaningless to me. And whether it's sharing information or climbing skills with others, for me, it's the right thing to do and is what makes my climbing world go around.
The climbing community lost another important and well loved icon. Yet by the end of the weekend, a new ice climbing soul was born. Welcome to the fold young Tom Smartt. Just remember, it's not what you've got, it's what you give...
Two thumbs up from Tom Smartt