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It pains me to bring you a sad news, friends. Summit Post has lost a valuable friend. Paulo Schmidt, also known as "parofes"
passed away, May 10th-2014 . Parofes had the foresight to say goodbye to all of us by posting his wedding photo captioned "If I go, please remember me by this photo." Many of you sent personal words of encouragement and wished him a full recovery, and he answered each and every comment and message. Your expression of love and support meant everything to him. He fought a hard fight against an illness that has eluded our best and most brilliant minds. Cancer may have won another round against our physical existence and taken our friend, but it did not triumph over Parofes' mind and spirit. He was courageous and strong to his last breath.
Paulo and Lilianne's wedding
The first time we became aware of Parofes' health issues was when he posted an article captioned "The scariest moment of my life."
He shared with us the most private thoughts and feelings as well as his medical condition in its minute details. He shared with us photos of happy times, sad times, scary times and somber times. He shared with us stories of his life, his travels, his ups and downs, his victories and his defeats. Parofes was straight forward, honest, humorous, intelligent, a historian, and the best friend and climbing partner anyone could ask for. Parofes loved his wife, Lilianne, and in an act of devotion he changed his last name from da Silva to Schmidt. Parofes was a humanitarian who worked long hours for an NGO and helped tens of thousands of poor and needy people. Parofes was a nature lover, a competent mountaineer and a mountain guide. Parofes was a special human being and a friend we will miss for a long time.
Parofes and the mountains
Work Less, Live More
Between climbing mountains, writing Trip Reports, Articles, photography and writing positive comments on other members' contributions, Parofes found enough time to give us "cutouts." Then, he showed us how in his article What is cutout photography?
Here are a few samples:
Witty sense of humor
The following chapters are dedicated to "remembrances" by some of Parofes' Summit Post friends.
I remember when Parofes first “burst” onto SP, a new face coming from an area of the world most of us know little about. He made places I had taught my middle school students about real and come to life in front of me. New mountain names, new volcanoes, brilliant skies, unusual animals and flowers all appeared on my window to the world, SP. I don’t think anyone could ever predict what we would hear or see from Paulo when he posted. One day it was bouldering on the Altiplano and the next he would be ‘jumping for life’ on snow-covered peaks. I looked forward to his posts each day and his sense of humor; his replies often ending with his trademark: hehehe. One hospital visit, while trying to explain what SP is all about, I made the mistake of reading OUTLOUD Parofes’ advice on how to turn a simple mountain into “an interesting hiking objective” (without previewing I should add); maybe not the best choice when reading to your 84 year old mother but it did give the nurse working nearby a good laugh! He wrote seriously about high altitude living and the state of mountain climbing in Brazil and Colombia as well as the lighter side of photography: cut-out color photos. But it was an amazing honesty about his life and his dreams that drew me in. From the pain of dealing with his mother’s unnecessary death to his break from the regimented work world to live as a mountaineer; something so many on SP have dreamed of doing. He shared loving and marrying his wonderful Lilianne with us; and his tears.
Over the years I have made several friends over the internet, a few I have even actually met but Paulo, you have reached so many of us, all without ever seeing that smiling face and zest for life in person. There is a bridge I cross under every time I drive upstate and I have a tradition whenever I pass under it for those few fast seconds; I salute and I smile. My hiking heart is on that bridge, the Appalachian Trail as it crosses the interstate; a reminder that the place I am passing is special and important to me even if I never step foot on it again. So Paulo, whenever I think of or see the beautiful places that you shared with us; the snow-capped mountains, flowers, the volcanoes, and my personal favorite, the Ushuaia I will salute, yes, salute and smile and remember you.
Paulo is somebody for whom I always felt tremendous admiration...he would always push himself to the very limit, but never in a merely athletic or muscle-showing way, but always out of a genuine love and passion for nature, for the immense as well as for the beauty in the little things...He posted so many utterly exquisite photos of plants and animals as well...I don't know if I can ever get to love tarantulas as much as he did :D , but also in these pictures I always felt his soft spot, his love for all creatures on Earth. This is something that made me feel really close to him as a person.
The latest photo he posted, the one of him and Lilianne embracing each other on their wedding day, just makes me cry - why did fate have to strike so brutally and mercilessly on that wonderful couple just right after??? And Paulo fought that terrible battle so bravely and with so much manliness...and Lilianne fought together with him with the same bravery, never giving up hope that her husband's life may be saved...
Dear Paulo, you were not only one of SummitPost's most valuable, dedicated and irreplaceable members, but also a dear friend and one of SP's best members on the human side as well and one of those members I had always hoped intensely to meet soon in person. Your loss is one that leaves me filled with a big sadness...may your soul rest in peace and may we meet one day in a world better than this one!
Our grief will soon disappear, leaving the place to a feeling of admiration for your courage and gratitude for your inclination to communicate, even the pain and the scare. I’m sure that only few people could do it with such a spontaneity.
After I joined SP, you became soon one of the best friends I had ever met. I noticed your extraordinary way to share your sensitiveness towards the true beauty, your deep respect towards every form of natural life, your passion for climbing, hiking, photographing.
Suffering has not changed you and I wish that your courage will light up us on the way.
I don’t profess a religion, but I feel we’ll meet again, Paulo. We’ll ride the sunny crest of the most beautiful mountain ever seen, then we’ll stop to breathe the scent of the mist…
I can´t recall when I "met" Paulo, since he is a very prominent figure in the mountaineering community in Brazil. We started chatting via Facebook and had several conversations on many topics within climbing and mountaineering. I regard Paulo as an example to follow because he was one of the few in our community that truly explored our territory and went way beyond the beaten path, not just in Brazil but in the Chilean and Argentinean Andes as well. Although he liked volcanoes and I prefer technical climbs, we did seem to have some favorites in common, such as Antisana and Artesonraju, and that yielded some long conversations as well. His passion for exploration seemed endless, and so was his will to go out and do it, and that is one of the reasons I believed until the last minute that he would make it. On Christmas 2013 we were chatting on Facebook, and amazingly, he wasn´t frustrated for not being able to get out, but he was pissed for not being able to get Lili a gift. My mother, being aware of his story, helped us find some internet shops that sell jewelry, for he wanted to give her golden earrings. He picked one, we called the stores and had them hold up his pick. I stopped at the store, bought the earrings and took them to the hospital for him.
When I entered the room I was a bit shocked at how emaciated he looked, in contrast to his high spirits and ever present sense of humor. Selfless as he was, he spent several minutes trying to get into the internet banking site to transfer me the amount, while I watched in awe a 36 year old looking like a kid giving his first girlfriend a gift. This is the image that is in my mind when I think of him, an immense smile, eyes shining so brightly, someone so tremendously selfless, that it didn´t even seemed he had a terminal disease, and even in that case, all he could thought of was pleasing his wife. To me, he is the definition of a rich human being. It doesn´t really matter that his body is gone, somehow, it feels like he´s sitting right next to me.