Kip Garre, who over the past two years became a good friend and one of the people I admired most in my life, died on April 26 in an avalanche in the eastern Sierra Nevada range. He and his girlfriend, a talented athlete and vivacious spirit named Allison Kreutzen, who also perished, were climbing the east couloir of Split Mountain, one of the most famous ski-mountaineering lines in America.
I met Kip in the San Francisco airport on our way to Western Nepal in September 2009. During the six weeks we spent together, as well as subsequent adventures in California and Boston, I grew to respect his definition of life and pursuit of fulfillment as much as I've ever respected anyone's. His passion has consumed my thoughts since I learned of his death, and I suspect that will be the case for a while moving forward.
I wrote a cover story for Backcountry magazine about Kip this winter, as well as an ESPN retrospective on his rarest gift, after learning of his death. Both can be found below.
The photo you see above was taken in Dhuli, a tiny village in the Bajhang District of Western Nepal, after six days of trekking through a jungle to reach the foot of the Saipal mountains. He was pretty much always smiling.
Backcountry Mag: http://www.devononeil.com/Stories/KipGarre_FebBCM.pdf