peter sg1
Back at the start of the year, as we were cranking up with details of Jebel Kumzar, Damavand and Pakistan, I received an email from one of the longstanding Abu Dhabi Alpine Club members, Pete St Germain.
He wrote: “Hey John, as much as I love hearing about all the great trips you guys have been able to coordinate and participate in, I however in my current circumstances will never be out that way again, so kindly wish to be removed from the mailing list,” he wrote. “I know I can remove myself from the group list somehow but was wondering if you could just delete me from all further mailings, thanks. It does unfortunately make me regretful that I am out of that loop, but it all reality, I won’t be doing any climbing anymore, here or there. I wish you all the best and happy trails! Thanks, Pete!”
The unspoken part of that is soon after returning to the US from Abu Dhabi, he’d been diagnosed with Stage Four cancer. And, as Christopher Hitchens and many others have put it, there isn’t a Stage Five with cancer.
It was all screamingly unfair. He was only 32, ambitious, intelligent and married with two beautiful young children. What he was doing in contacting me was putting his affairs in order so there’d be one fewer thing for Alysha to deal with once he was gone. That action summed him up perfectly.
I wrote back: “hey pete. yep, I’ll do that. shame we can’t cross paths on the mountains but I hope you find fortitude on your journey ahead.”
A few minutes later, I added: “done. feels wrong. kia kaha, pete”
peter sg3
I followed his journey, depicted with forthright honesty, on the blog he and Alysha wrote,
That journey ended today.
Vale, Pete, and I’ll remember you from these recent days like when you were on the summit of the Matterhorn only a couple of years ago…
peter sg2

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