Saintgrizzly: An Extraordinary Life

Saintgrizzly: An Extraordinary Life

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 30, 0000
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering


PLEASE 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.



To 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.

Saintgrizzly, Mount Lincoln, East Face, 1978Mount Lincoln, 1978

Saintgrizzly, Monarch Pass, 1978Monarch Pass, Sawatch Range, 1978

Saintgrizzly, Box Canyon, Ouray, 1978Box Canyon Falls, 1978

Saintgrizzly, San Juan Mountains, 1978New Year's Day, San Juans, 1979

Saintgrizzly, Needle Mountains, 1978Needles Mountains, San Juans, 1981

Saintgrizzly, Sangre De Cristos, 1978Tijeras Peak, Sangre De Cristos, 1991

Saintgrizzly, Capitol Peak, 1994Capitol Peak, Elk Range, 1993

Saintgrizzly, Kelso Ridge, 1994Kelso Ridge, Torreys Peak, 1993

Saintgrizzly, Capitol Peak, 1994Knife Edge, Capitol Peak, Elk Range, 1994

Vern Garner and MA begin...Knife Edge, Capitol Peak, 1994

Saintgrizzly & MA, Capitol Peak, 1994Capitol Peak Summit, 1994

Saintgrizzly & MA, Snowmass, 1996Snowmass Mountain, Elk Range, 1996

Saintgrizzly, Mount Oklahoma, 1996Mount Oklahoma, 1996

Saintgrizzly, Swatch Range, 1997Mount Tabeguache, Sawatch Range, 1997

Saintgrizzly, Swatch Range, 1997Mount Hope, Swatch Range, 1997

Saintgrizzly, Sawatch Range, 1997Mount Shavano, 1997

Saintgrizzly, San Juans, 1998Courthouse Mountain, San Juans, 1998

Saintgrizzly and Partners, San Juans, 2000San Juan Range, 2006

Saintgrizzly, Mount Oberlin, Glacier NPMount Oberlin, GNP, 2004

Saintgrizzly and SP friends in GNPMount Sinopah, GNP, 2004

Saintgrizzly, Mount Henkel, GNP, 2004Mount Henkel, GNP, 2004

Saintgrizzly, Bishops Cap, GNP, 2004Bishops Cap, GNP, 2004

Saintgrizzly, GNP, 2004Dawson Pass, GNP, 2004

Member Profile PhotoVern and Heavens Peak, GNP, 2004

Saintgrizzly & Friends, Divide Peak, 2004Divide Peak, GNP, 2004

Saintgrizzly, Kit Carson, 2004Challenger Ridge, Kit Carson Mountain, 2004

Reynolds MountainReynolds Mountain, GNP, 2006

Reynolds MountainReynolds Mountain, GNP, 2006

Saintgrizzly, GNP, 2006Ice Cream at Johnson's, Saint Mary, GNP

[img:221048:aligncenter:medium:Reynolds Mountain, GNP, 2006]

[img:702013:aligncenter:medium:Ice Cream at Johnson's, Saint Mary, GNP]


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-20 of 27

Holsti97 - Mar 2, 2011 7:47 am - Voted 10/10

Thanks Aaron

The photos turned out good. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Simon

Sarah Simon - Mar 2, 2011 10:16 am - Voted 10/10

Fitting tribute

to a worthy role model for all who love the mountains.



juneauhiker - Mar 2, 2011 2:50 pm - Voted 10/10

Thank you

I went to college in Montana and Saintgrizzly's artful pages inspired several of my trips. I really appreciated the writing, photography and effort he put into them. Thank you Aaron for presenting a beautiful insight into the man behind those pages.


EricChu - Mar 2, 2011 5:34 pm - Voted 10/10

Thanks for this post!

This is a wonderful tribute to one of SummitPost's best members! I am very sad about the fate that struck him.

May his soul rest in peace and serenity.


imontop - Mar 2, 2011 6:38 pm - Voted 10/10

Very nice work!

Great tribute to a great climber. Love his stuff here on SP.


MarkDidier - Mar 2, 2011 7:07 pm - Voted 10/10

Thanks for Posting

Thanks for posting this. Like so many here on SP I always associated Vernon with Montana - specifically GNP. I never knew he got his start in Colorado.

A great tribute to a great man. Thanks again.


ThePaul - Mar 3, 2011 4:34 pm - Voted 10/10

Thank you for honoring...

Thank you all for honoring Vernon here at Summit Post.

I had the honor myself of three climbs with Vernon and communication with him by phone and email. Though my aquaintance with Vernon was only recent and not frequent, he always made me feel that we were good friends.

It was very sad to hear last year of his health concerns and now of our loss of him.

The only bright side is to know that he had a life so rich in experiences, that he had so many friends, and that he will be here in spirit through his writings.


ClimbingSparky - Mar 3, 2011 6:36 pm - Hasn't voted

A Gentle Soul

Thanks Aaron for the work you did and sharing the tribute to Vern. I was able to climb with Vern a few times his kindness and his passion for climbing were a joy for everyone. We will miss him.


kamil - Mar 3, 2011 7:37 pm - Voted 10/10


Vernon now climbs the mountains where the rock is solid, the water is pure and the sky is blue...
Thanks Aaron for writing up this account. I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your great friend. Even though the circumstances are sad, it's good to see you in SP.
Take care,

Diego SahagĂșn

Diego SahagĂșn - Mar 6, 2011 7:03 pm - Voted 10/10


It's so nice remembering a friend like that. I should do the same about my dad but I'm still not going to do it.

Take care mate


Moni - Mar 6, 2011 7:54 pm - Voted 10/10


for the very fine tribute to Vern. I'm gonna miss him like heck!

Scott Pierce

Scott Pierce - Mar 6, 2011 10:27 pm - Hasn't voted


Looks like Vern earned (and gave back) full value. Thanks for posting.


mtnturf - Mar 6, 2011 11:16 pm - Hasn't voted


Nice tribute to your friend. Thanks for sharing.


schmid_th - Mar 7, 2011 3:22 am - Voted 10/10


for your very personal tribune to Vernon!
May he rest in peace!


Charles - Mar 7, 2011 4:25 am - Hasn't voted



Alan Ellis

Alan Ellis - Mar 7, 2011 8:41 am - Voted 10/10

Thank you

Great tribute to a great man. Thanks for posting.



mike_lindacher - Mar 7, 2011 12:18 pm - Voted 10/10

Touching Report

Excellent tribute. Thanks for sharing. I first stumbled across Saint Grizzly for his submissions on GNP. I too love that place and share his thoughts on the park. Next time I visit a summit there, I'll have a kindred spirit in my thoughts.


Noondueler - Mar 7, 2011 7:25 pm - Voted 10/10

Didn't have to read it.

A true mountaineer in every sense of the word.
His transission was surely sublime.


dadndave - Mar 8, 2011 1:38 am - Voted 10/10


Thankyou Aaron.

Senad Rizvanovic

Senad Rizvanovic - Mar 8, 2011 9:56 am - Voted 10/10


Great story about great man!

Viewing: 1-20 of 27