SP members Aaron Johnson & Saintgrizzly at GNP, 2004
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AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
Two life long friends and dedicated climbing partners, prominent SP members Aaron Johnson and Vernon Garner (saintgrizzly here at SP) would reunite for two extensive outings to Glacier National Park. They began climbing together in Colorado in 1978. This photo was from the first trip in 2004. Vernon climbed with Aaron for a total nearing 30 years. They did over 200 climbing outings together in Colorado. In the late '90s, Vernon relocated to the land of his childhood near Whitefish Montana, settling in Missoula for the final 12 years of his extraordinary life.
Aaron was a prominent member of SummitPost, and served the online community for 9 years on the SP staff. Vernon was introduced to SP by Aaron and soon became one of SP's best and most prolific contributors. His work is widely regarded the best in quality on SummitPost, and his Glacier National Park page is one of the site's most visited locations. His passing is a tremendous loss to the SP community.
Aaron resigned from his staff position at SP in 2010. Vernon was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that same year. Vernon passed away on March 1, 2011, bringing appropriate closure to Aaron's role at SP, and a sorrowful end to a wonderful friendship. Vernon's presence and influence was felt by so many through SP, many of whom we'll never know about, but that's how it was with Vernon.
Thankfully, SP will outlive both of these "pioneers." SP now serves as a fantastic testment to the legacy of Saintgrizzly, the GNP ambassador to Glacier National Park. To have him in your life was truly a blessing. He will be sorely missed.
Text by Aaron Johnson
Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, 2004
Photo by Ellen Ritt