INTRODUCTIONPLEASE NOTE: This report is straightforward. The captions for the photos themselves reveal a better glimpse into the extraordinary life of a great man I'm proud to have called a life-long friend. If you're interested in the details behind the man, be sure to click on the photos and read the captions. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.--Aaron Johnson
My wonderful friend and great climbing partner, Vernon Garner, passed away on March 1, 2011. Known as Saintgrizzly here at SummitPost, his life has been made legendary by his stellar submissions, regarded by many to be the best work on this entire, massive web site.
Vern joined SP a few years after I had joined, having been introduced to it by me and becoming enamoured with this place that would ultimately serve as an outlet for his amazing writing talent and testment to his passion for the natural world. Vern's participation on SP exceeded my expectations from the inception of his activities. I knew he would be a shining star and set the bar high for submission quality (I have yet to see it matched by anyone), and I knew his presence would be a real blessing to SP's community.
That blessing went well beyond the confines of the internet, though. Through SP, like many of us, Vernon made many wonderful new friends that shared his passion and enthusiasm for the mountains. The blessings Vernon brought to SP were amply returned in the form of special friendships and excellent climbing partners with which he could share his passion during his last years. The bulk of Vernon's experiences in Montana, namely Glacier National Park, are well represented on SummitPost.
However, Vernon's mountaineering roots are in Colorado. In a recent in-depth phone discussion with his brother David, we both expressed a strong desire to have Vernon's early years represented as well, as they were an important part of his legacy. David felt it was important, knowing no one had climbed with Vernon more than I have. I agreed, because knowing a man's past can often indicate why the man turned out the way he did, and reveal much of his character.
David said that the most important thing we leave behind is our legacy; what we did, the people we knew and loved. Vernon's legacy is massive and impressive, and with this small addition covering his past, his wonderful life is well represented here on SummitPost. And we, the SummitPost community, are forever blessed to have it here to share with the world.
Of all the climbers Vern ever knew, I am perhaps the best qualified to say with confidence, this was one giant of a man with a kind heart and gentle soul, uncompromising when it came to his passion, but so loving and understanding with everything and everyone else around him. I doubt I'll ever meet another like him with such qualities, but I know I'm better off because of it, and so is SummitPost.
I was blessed to share the journey of a lifetime with Vernon Garner. It was the ultimate trip, one I'll never forget. And now I'm blessed to share the memories of that treasured journey with you, my fellow SummitPost members. Enjoy this look into an extraordinary life.
Rest easy and climb on, my friend. We love you.
SAINTGRIZZLY: AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFETo best represent Vernon's early mountaineering years as succinctly as possible, it was decided to simply add pertinent and interesting photos accompanied with brief captions. If you have a desire to get into the details, click on the photo and read the caption accompanying it. Please note these are old photographs, scanned with the earliest form of the technology we take for granted today. For historical reasons, no altering was done except for some brightness and contrast adjustments. As the time period gets more recent, the quality and size increase and improve. Thanks for taking the time to glimpse into this extraordinary life.
[img:221048:aligncenter:medium:Reynolds Mountain, GNP, 2006]
[img:702013:aligncenter:medium:Ice Cream at Johnson's, Saint Mary, GNP]