Saintgrizzly: An Extraordinary Life

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Trip Report
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Nov 30, 0000
Hiking, Mountaineering
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Saintgrizzly:  An Extraordinary Life
Created On: Mar 1, 2011
Last Edited On: Mar 15, 2012


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]


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Viewing: 21-26 of 26

BobSmith - Mar 8, 2011 10:48 am - Voted 10/10

Very sorry...

to hear about his death. He was an adventurous soul, and I will miss his new posts.


runawayreignbow - Mar 10, 2011 1:52 am - Voted 10/10

Beautiful Memoir

Aaron - I'm sorry for the loss felt by Vernon's loved ones, you and the SP community. I feel the sentiments of what's missing even though I didn't know him personally. You wrote a touching and informative piece on your partner's life and the pictures are priceless (especially in his beginnings!). Thanks for sharing it. Take great care...


markhallam - Mar 10, 2011 1:18 pm - Voted 10/10

Thanks for sharing this

An extraordinary story about a very brave man - thnaks again for sharing this


FarNorCal - Mar 11, 2011 4:21 pm - Voted 10/10


A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man.


KevinStumpf - Mar 28, 2011 9:48 am - Voted 10/10


Aaron, I am minutes new to SP, even though I had an account a few years ago I never used it! Anyways, I want to thank you for posting this! He seemed like a great man and climber! Pictures tell it all here. Thanks again!


JonBradford - Apr 20, 2012 9:33 pm - Voted 10/10

Lovely Tribute

Thank you for sharing.

Viewing: 21-26 of 26

Saintgrizzly: An Extraordinary Life

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