I only got to climb and socialize about a dozen times with her so I won’t pretend to have been one of her closer friends. I can’t tell you that much of who she was. There are just a few times I caught glimpses of what she was like, and I grew to appreciate this unassuming person based upon what I saw. Perhaps the most striking was when I was desperate for a climbing partner my last weekend before going back to steady work again. I had offers from people who would go cragging with me but I was holding out for something “Big”.
“Is Der Sportsman big enough for you?” She dryly inquired. Not only did she invite me to join her and Zac, but spend a long weekend with them and Daphne at their short term rental in Leavenworth. With that invitation I remember thinking that she didn’t fit the “Seattle Chill”personality. I had a wonderful few days there with them all, cragging, eating(lots of root veggies), and eventually getting on with Prussik peak. That is where I caught another glimpse into her steady and unpretentious nature to the bitter end( for me) of that 21 hr day.
Perhaps our finest outing together was her only first ascent that I am aware of, and my first in several years. I felt that we really became friends on that trip. I got to see what she was like all excited at getting to the top, and all the way back to town there was that smile. I remember being excited to have found another top-notch local climbing partner. It is so like human nature to not realize what you have until it is gone, and in this case there can never be recompense. She was too much to so many people. I sometimes feel like a composite of all the different people that I have known, and I will save a good part of myself for her.
Off belay Laurel Fan