Forums: Climbing Information: In Memory Of:
Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for In Memory Of

Premier Sponsor:

 


clmbrchick


Oct 18, 2008, 5:48 PM
Post #1 of 52 (18949 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 16

Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP
Report this Post
Can't Post

I originally posted this under the injuries an accidents forum:
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/17753442/detail.html

Oh this is sad news! James Welton was one of the friendliest people I have ever met. He was passionate about climbing and had a patience that proved his love and enthusiasm for climbing and the outdoors. I met James in Indian Creek back in May...ironically he was good friends with Daryn Smith (aka:stymingersfink) who just passed away in September of heart failure. I met the two of them at the same time and cannot believe that they have died within a month of each other. James and his girlfriend had shot a bunch of photographs from that weekend...shortly thereafter I received a card from James in the mail along with a CD of the photos he had shot and some music to fill the space at the end. I saved the card that had his info on it and an invitation which read..."you have a place to stay if you're in my area-where ever that may be, Probably best to call or email to find out for sure I like to move about."
I am terribly saddened to hear this news and my heart and prayers go out to Jamie, all of James' family and friends. James, you will be missed terribly and it looks like I'm gonna have to look you up in the afterlife...I imagine in some great climbing area in the sky. Peace be with you! You will be remembered!
Andrea


(This post was edited by clmbrchick on Oct 18, 2008, 5:49 PM)


spacey


Oct 19, 2008, 11:01 AM
Post #2 of 52 (18807 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 16, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I am utterly wrecked. I was a close friend of Daryns and met James at the time of Daryns death. At a time of great difficulty for all of us James was an anchor for me. I have never met someone like James before and we quickly became very close freinds. The depth of his soul was unique and his capacity for caring is unrivaled. I hope that all of you have the chance to meet someone like James in your lifetime, if all of us were like him, none of us would go wanting.
The world is a lesser place today.


wfinley


Oct 19, 2008, 1:44 PM
Post #3 of 52 (18715 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 10, 2005
Posts: 4

Re: [spacey] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I had the great opportunity to meet and climb with James this past summer. My brother has been living in Elko and when I went to visit him he arranged for James to take us out for a day of cragging in Lamoille Canyon. James took my brother and I up a wonderful route called "Casino Queen" which he and others had put up recently. He lead the route in perfect style and was eager to show me other great spots in his backyard. His enthusiasm and willingness to introduce others to the great climbing in Lamoille left a great impression on me. I saw him again briefly before leaving Elko and he expressed desire to come visit and climb in Alaska.

When my brother called and told me about his death on Friday I was shocked and saddened. Elko is a small community - the climbing community there even smaller - and I can only imagine how they are feeling.

I'm sad that I won't be able to return the hospitality that James extended to me. He was a great guy; a graceful climber and I feel privileged to have spent a day climbing with him.

I'm not religious... but at times like this I imagine that somewhere out there James just walked into a valley of granite where the FAs will go on forever.


James in Lamoille Canyon - August '08.


postfab


Oct 19, 2008, 6:07 PM
Post #4 of 52 (18592 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 19, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [wfinley] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

James was the best. I am too numb to write much now, but here are some thoughts.

James was a once in a lifetime kind of person that I had the privilege of knowing for many years. Jim was the friend you always knew you could count on, but more that than he was the type of person that would do pretty much anything for pretty much anybody. His enthusiasm and zest for life were a continuing source of inspiration for those around him.

Jim was the kind of friend that if you had your head up your ass wouldn’t just say, well doesn’t look so bad, things will work out in the end etc. Rather, he’d bluntly tell you your head was in fact up your ass and then proceed to help you pull it out with or without your help.

Jim had depth. He was highly intelligent and curious. He always had something new to talk about: be it climbing, life, science, or whatever.

Jim left us doing what he loved, but more than that he blazed his path though life with an untarnished idealism. In the end, perhaps Jim had actually figured out life and was called away for something more important.


reno


Oct 19, 2008, 8:06 PM
Post #5 of 52 (18517 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 30, 2001
Posts: 18283

Re: [postfab] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

This is tragic news. I'm very sad for James' family and friends, and can only hope that they can find some peace and solace in this most difficult time.

My heart rests a bit heavier tonight, knowing that a fellow climber is no longer with us.


clmbrdancer


Oct 19, 2008, 8:30 PM
Post #6 of 52 (18493 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 14, 2003
Posts: 80

Re: [reno] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Wow. I climbed with James several days in TN and then up in RRG, KY 1.5 year ago. We meet through a friend of a friend. Though we only climbed a few days together, we called often, telling our climbing stories, or just life updates. He was excited to be moving to WV with his girlfriend, to climb on NC rock. I was excited too. I had enjoyed his company, energy and knowledge of rock.

He taught me a new method of rappelling, using his tree knowledge, to rap directly off a cliff, into an oak, and then hanging 100 feet from the ground off the oak tree, to the ground. No walk off needed! He also introduced me to Thievery Corporation, a band I listen to right now.

Though he only was in my life a few days, I felt a strong connection with him. In fact, I had lost my cell phone 1.5 weeks ago. His one of the first few numbers I entered in.

James' spirit, warmth and smile will stay with me; with all of us. My helmet will always remind me of him. We both had the same green EB helmet.

In his last email, concerning his friend's heart attack, James wrote: "There are lessons to be learned from significant events such as this. Life is preciously shorter for some, so build your legacy now as you wish to be remembered and spend more time with those that are closest to your heart. These are lessons for us all, for all time."


(This post was edited by clmbrdancer on Oct 19, 2008, 8:43 PM)


murrawunda


Oct 19, 2008, 8:55 PM
Post #7 of 52 (18464 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 15, 2003
Posts: 7

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Everyone, this is James's girlfriend Jamie. Forgive me, I haven't been near the internet in days - I've been in Zion with him. I have only read about one and a half posts to this thread, and I don't have the energy to do any more tonight.
I want to assure everyone that no blatant mistakes were made by James or anyone else in the party, and what happened really was a horribly tragic accident. Trust me, I had a very intimate conversation with the park service and all of the people involved in the climbing and the investigation.
I guess I don't have to say that I'm beyond broken up over this. James is the love of my life - he's amazing and wonderful and I can't begin to express how glad I am to have been with him. Please continue to post here, and I'd like to ask for help in collecting links to all of the other places that people are posting.
For those who are interested, there will be a funeral in Iowa with his family toward the end of this week, and there will be a memorial service in Salt Lake toward the end of next. When there are details, I will share them.
If you have a good story about James, or something about him you would like to share, I would really appreciate hearing them. Please post them to this thread, or, until my email box is overwhelmed, please email them to murrawunda@gmail.com.
I'm sure that I know very few of the many, many, many people James touched in his life. I would like to know you all.
Thank you for your kind words, and keep him and those of us mired in grief for his loss in your hearts.


clmbrdancer


Oct 19, 2008, 9:06 PM
Post #8 of 52 (18454 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 14, 2003
Posts: 80

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Thank you Jamie.

~Brad Beggs


geogoddess


Oct 19, 2008, 10:51 PM
Post #9 of 52 (18407 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 13, 2007
Posts: 613

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post




geogoddess


Oct 20, 2008, 5:06 AM
Post #10 of 52 (18364 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 13, 2007
Posts: 613

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

This is unbelievable. Jamie has been by my side caring for me over the last month of loss and grief. She held me thru alotta tears, brought me food.... what a wonderful friend. We headed south, finally, for a weekend of fun- maybe do a little biking and then catch up with the guys and climb with them after they finished Touchstone. It is unbelievable to suddenly be holding her now, thru this devastation. James and Jamie had a very sweet and wonderful relationship with a bright future as Jamie is starting a new job with the NPS at the New River Gorge. Her future boss, Rick... I cannot thank him enough. He got on a plane and flew from DC to Zion and stood by us, providing in ways that we just could not manage. Thank you, Rick. I will continue to stay here by Jamie's side for whatever she needs.

Matt his climbing partner, who was also a best friend of Daryn's... I don't even know what to say. To lose two best friends and climbing partners, so close together, its just unimaginable. Matt is a rock; but no man is invincible. I have a giant hole in my heart for him.

Perry, I am here if you need a chat or a shoulder.

The Park Service and everyone involved, recovery teams, emergency operations staff, incident command, everyone was so highly professional and compassionate and attentive to us, they very compassionately made sure that our needs were met as we struggled to cope. I will try to speak for all of us that we are very grateful for their considerate attention, and for working tirelessly to unravel the details of the accident. Please do not use this website to make uninformed guesses about what happened. Jamie said enough above. There will come a time when the emotional shock eases, and the details can be described. It was a tragic climbing accident.

James recently took me out for a day of climbing after Daryn died; we had a delightful sunny day outing in Little Cottonwood, on the Egg Wall. It was just pure fun. James & Jamie convinced me, last January, to go to Ouray Ice Fest; and put me up in their room. James led one of my first ice climbs. He was a fun and safe teacher; ice was accessible and joyful for me because of that start. That was the beginning of a great friendship and they were often at my house, we shared alot of food over the last 10 months. My son thought James was delightful. Our last dinner together, at Jamie's, was an artistic feast of salmon and couscous, a beautiful treat under James skillful hands.

the photo above is Jamie's photo of James romping up The Incredible Hand Crack, his second or third trip up after flashing the lead. He made it look easy, he was a flowing climber with an easy style. He had just recently returned from the Salathe Wall, El Cap. I was looking forward to hearing about his trip when we all met up in Zion.

Rest easy, James.

The thought of you & Daryn up there together makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Can you pull some strings for a fantastic ice season. James, will you please tell Daryn - that's enough tarantulas, for now! Of all things!!

Love and best to all James family and friends who check in here. - darlene


fenix83
Moderator

Oct 20, 2008, 8:16 AM
Post #11 of 52 (18211 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 22, 2004
Posts: 2397

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

One more to rope up with on the other side. The world is bit dimmer every time a climber passes, especially one who obviously left a positive mark on those around him.

RIP

-F


charliedfinley


Oct 20, 2008, 8:36 AM
Post #12 of 52 (18177 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 20, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [fenix83] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Though James had many homes, he was certainly at home here in Elko. James was one of the first friends I had when I moved here 2 yrs ago, we went for a mountain bike ride a day after meeting Tuesday evening for a game of frizbee. Over my time here, we have shared days together up the Canyon, where James was always willing and happy to bring new people to the sport.
He was a pioneer of Lamoille Canyon. In the past few months, I've watched and admired him and Perry blazing bigger multi-pitch routes up the seemingly endless granite chimneys and faces here. It was always a joy to climb with him, ride with him, play frisbee, or just hang out in the tree streets and talk about mountains or deer hunting.
There is no denying that he was always a jovial fellow, and always a pleasure to be around. He was one of the best. I will miss him, as I was already going to when he was to move to WV. I was so happy for him and Jamie, for they seem so perfect together. I remember the first weekend they got together - we climbed at Oden's wall, then went to the BBQ at Liz's house that night. Jamie, I hope that you can find peace from this tragedy, and that your precious memories of James will be cherished forever.
Elko is a small town, and the climbing group here is very tight. He will be missed greatly. - Charlie Finley

James on Elephant Rock, City of Rocks Idaho. 9/07.
Attachments: ElephantRock.JPG (63.1 KB)


RPHv


Oct 20, 2008, 9:42 AM
Post #13 of 52 (18048 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 20, 2008
Posts: 2

Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

James was a kind person and a true friend. He was compassionate, easygoing, and always willing to help the people around him.

Like all of us, he cherished the world's high places. To me, what set James apart was the way he shared his delight with the ones he loved.

James, you have a good soul. l miss you already.

Perry


James climbing in Lamoille Canyon.


(This post was edited by RPHv on Oct 20, 2008, 9:45 AM)
Attachments: James.JPG (124 KB)


clmbrchick


Oct 20, 2008, 10:08 AM
Post #14 of 52 (17994 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 16

Re: [RPHv] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Just a quote by Gaston Rebuffat going out to all those who shared a cord with James:

"Together we have known apprehension, uncertainty, and fear; but of what importance is all of that? For it was only up there that we discovered many things of which we had previously known nothing: joy that was new to us; happiness that was doubled because it was shared, a wordless friendship which was no mere superficial impulse.
I am immensely happy, for I have felt the rope between us. We are linked for life. We have approached the stars together and at such heights, the air has a special savor."


reg


Oct 20, 2008, 10:46 AM
Post #15 of 52 (17919 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 10, 2004
Posts: 1560

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

murrawunda wrote:
Everyone, this is James's girlfriend Jamie. Forgive me, I haven't been near the internet in days - I've been in Zion with him. I have only read about one and a half posts to this thread, and I don't have the energy to do any more tonight.
I want to assure everyone that no blatant mistakes were made by James or anyone else in the party, and what happened really was a horribly tragic accident. Trust me, I had a very intimate conversation with the park service and all of the people involved in the climbing and the investigation.
I guess I don't have to say that I'm beyond broken up over this. James is the love of my life - he's amazing and wonderful and I can't begin to express how glad I am to have been with him. Please continue to post here, and I'd like to ask for help in collecting links to all of the other places that people are posting.
For those who are interested, there will be a funeral in Iowa with his family toward the end of this week, and there will be a memorial service in Salt Lake toward the end of next. When there are details, I will share them.
If you have a good story about James, or something about him you would like to share, I would really appreciate hearing them. Please post them to this thread, or, until my email box is overwhelmed, please email them to murrawunda@gmail.com.
I'm sure that I know very few of the many, many, many people James touched in his life. I would like to know you all.
Thank you for your kind words, and keep him and those of us mired in grief for his loss in your hearts.

jamie, i know your heart is broken. words are hard for all of us mortals at times like this. try to keep in mind that the love of your life, your soul mate and best friend was doing what he loved and would have not had it any other way. we all suffer when faced with the loss of loved ones. james would not want you to suffer one second because of this. remember he is now enriching others in a better place. take solice in the rememberence of his love for you and gain strenght from the friends and family that share in these sad times. your heart will heal if you let it. never forgetting but in time moving on. peace


cstrouth1


Oct 20, 2008, 11:39 AM
Post #16 of 52 (17830 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 20, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Without ever trying, James always inspired me to be more like him.

More confident. More free of doubt and the possibility of failure. More fired up for the endless possibilities for adventure all around us.

He also taught me about what it means to be a friend. Never putting himself first, he gave fully and from his heart. Unlike so many people in this world, friendship for him wasn’t something that could be put aside when inconvenient. Looking back, I feel so selfish by comparison.

So James, without even trying, you left a huge thumbprint on my life. Even though I’ll never get to see you again, you live on.

Chris Strouthopoulos
Attachments: Endless enthusiasm.jpg (80.5 KB)
  Getting his party on in Ouray.jpg (56.1 KB)
  Coaxing me up the Ames Ice Hose.jpg (71.3 KB)


RPHv


Oct 20, 2008, 11:40 AM
Post #17 of 52 (17828 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 20, 2008
Posts: 2

Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

RIP, friend.

-Perry



(This post was edited by RPHv on Oct 20, 2008, 11:42 AM)
Attachments: James in Winter.JPG (145 KB)


oaktree


Oct 20, 2008, 1:07 PM
Post #18 of 52 (17714 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 20, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [RPHv] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I met James 1.5 years ago when I came out here to Elko. Since then I’ve been blessed to be able to climb with him, play Frisbee, board games, just generally getting to know him when he was around and not traveling. As they say, you don’t really know what you have until you lose it. James’ friendship is that way. He was a quiet man with a huge heart and a good soul. Being a relative newbie to the world of climbing he was always helping me out, willing to give me pointers, loan me books, laugh with me, and spur me on. Whenever I was around him I found myself wanting to be just a little bit more like him. I learned so much from James not only about climbing, but about life in general. What he delighted in he shared with others. Those he loved, he loved openly and honestly.

He was a great climber, smooth, and making those routes look so easy. I enjoyed belaying him just to watch him and learn from how he climbed. He led my first ice climb, and ever since then I’ve been hooked. I’ve been seeing his face a lot in my mind these last few days. But it’s always been of James smiling and enjoying life.

James, thank you for sharing your life with us. I miss you. You will always be in my memories and even now you are still changing my life. I hope I can be a bit more like you.

-Tyler




(This post was edited by oaktree on Oct 20, 2008, 1:09 PM)
Attachments: Mount_Fitzgerald007.JPG (145 KB)


clmbrchick


Oct 20, 2008, 5:01 PM
Post #19 of 52 (17444 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 16

Re: [oaktree] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

the weekend that I met Darryn and James...sorting gear in this photo...James on right and Darryn's back is to the camera

see attachment as I don't know how to get it on the page like others above have done


(This post was edited by clmbrchick on Oct 20, 2008, 5:02 PM)
Attachments: 106194530_medium_cacca9.jpg (96.1 KB)


clmbrdancer


Oct 20, 2008, 6:38 PM
Post #20 of 52 (17385 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 14, 2003
Posts: 80

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post



This is the photo from the above post. Now they can both use the gear together.


clmbrchick


Oct 20, 2008, 8:17 PM
Post #21 of 52 (17331 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 16

Re: [clmbrdancer] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Thank you Smile


alps_80206


Oct 20, 2008, 9:13 PM
Post #22 of 52 (17290 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 20, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [postfab] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

James was one of the most genuine people I have met. He was upbeat, thoughtful, and always up for an adventure. His smile came easily, and difficult times never extinguished his positive spirit.

Climbing with him was, first and foremost, about having good times with good friends. He never lost sitght of that. As a climber, he was a confident but never arrogant, undeniably capable but surprisingly appreciative of the beauty of the surroundings. He brought an intensity and a level of competence to every climb, elevating and inspiring those who were fortunate enough to be with him.

He was multidimensional: he had an incredible knowledgeand intuition when it comes to trees. This side of him was not obvious until you spent a considerable time with him. I still hear him telling me to chop off the higher branches from the trees in my backyard, in order to get the lower branches to fill in. "No," I said, "I want the tree to grow! Why should I cut them shorter?" In retrospect, he was 100% correct. The pain of the moment is in fact a step in the right direction, and it is a step for which we should have no misgivings.

A few things that were unique to him: I'll remember his Bluegrass music whenever comes up on my ipod. I remember when he drove up from Durnago to Denver with no less than a small keg of his favorite beer from Ska brewery.

Andy, I only got to know a small fraction of the James Welton that you knew since the 6th grade. I can't imagine the gaping hole that his passing has created in your life. To you and those that were so close to him, I can only offer you my deepest sympathy and the thought that we are all better people for having spent a fraction of our lives with him.


cactusrunner


Oct 21, 2008, 9:11 AM
Post #23 of 52 (17065 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 21, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

 This was posted on the National Park Service's morning report today.

http://home.nps.gov/applications/morningreport/

INCIDENTS

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zion National Park (UT)
Climber Falls To Death During Big Wall Ascent

James Welton, 34, of Durango, Colorado, fell to his death while climbing a popular climbing route called “Touchstone” on Friday, October 17th. Around 7:15 p.m., two climbers who were ascending a nearby route stopped a Zion Canyon shuttle bus and reported that another climber had fallen. Rangers on scene determined that Welton had fallen approximately 300 feet and confirmed it was a fatality. His two climbing partners witnessed the fall. Eleven members of the Zion search and rescue team responded and worked through the night removing the victim and investigating the fall. “Touchstone,” located across the canyon from Angels Landing, is one of the most popular big wall climbs in the park. Over 1,000 feet high from river to rim, it is usually a two-day climb requiring an overnight stay on a “port-a-ledge,” a cot-like device attached to the wall. Welton was considered a very experienced climber and had recently completed a climb of El Capitan in Yosemite. This is the first fatality in the park for 2008, and the sixth climbing fatality since 1983.
Preliminary investigation reveals that Welton was climbing a rope using mechanical ascenders. It appears that a short fall occurred, causing the ascenders to sever the rope. [Submitted by Ray O’Neil, Plateau District Ranger]


rnchdog


Oct 21, 2008, 10:45 AM
Post #24 of 52 (16970 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 21, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I met James through a good friend who is in Nepal right now. James was a good friend who was always willing to help someone.
Attachments: James and his hat1.JPG (35.6 KB)


murrawunda


Oct 21, 2008, 12:00 PM
Post #25 of 52 (16873 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 15, 2003
Posts: 7

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

DETAILS ON JAMES'S MEMORIAL SERVICES

In Iowa:
Viewing on Friday, 24 October. 4-8 pm, scripture service at 7pm. Hugeback and Chenoweth Funeral Home in New Hampton, IA. www.hugebackfuneralhome.com

Funeral on Saturday, 25 October, 10:30 am. Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Charles City, IA.

In Salt Lake City:
Memorial service on Saturday, 1 November, 4:30 to 8:30 pm, at the private home of a friend of James and Jamie. Details can be found at www.lifetributes.com/JamesMartinWelton

Please help me by linking or posting this information to the other climbing blogs, websites, forums, etc. that are tracking memorial statements for James. I need all the help I can get right now.

Thanks, all,
James's girlfriend, Jamie Fields


murrawunda


Oct 21, 2008, 8:00 PM
Post #26 of 52 (5363 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 15, 2003
Posts: 7

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Addresses for hte Salt Lake Services can be found here:
http://www.hugebackfuneralhome.com/...s%20-%20Obituary.htm


H_Squared


Oct 21, 2008, 10:35 PM
Post #27 of 52 (5319 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 25, 2007
Posts: 1

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I'm so saddened by this news, what a loss. Although I first met him this spring, I considered him a good friend of mine. We connected right away thru our multitude of separate Indian Creek trips and canyoneering adventures. I very much looked forward to spending weekends (or weeks) on climbing trips with him.
A very genuine and honest person he was truly a man I looked up to, and still do. I think that the afore mentioned email quote of his rings especially true, he did what he loved and he loved what he did. His memories will be cherished, as is apparent from the above posts, an admirable character not soon forgotten.

Miss ya buddy,
~Harry


geogoddess


Oct 22, 2008, 8:26 AM
Post #28 of 52 (5270 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 13, 2007
Posts: 613

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Teague (Tigger) asked me to post this photo of Daryn and James together. It was taken last May, during a really fun, long weekend in Indian Creek with Daryn, James and Jamie, Andrea, Teague, and myself. We all shared good times, good friends, great climbing, great food. The guys are hanging out at camp; that is Tigger's awesomely-rigged pickup w/ cookstove setup.

You boys go!! We miss you. You are too hot for words, both of you Tongue




flipnfall


Oct 22, 2008, 9:59 AM
Post #29 of 52 (5235 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 18, 2004
Posts: 717

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I'm so sorry to hear about this. This is a very touching thread. I read through all the memories people left here. He must have been a great guy!

To those hurting by this loss, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

GT


Partner macherry


Oct 22, 2008, 1:26 PM
Post #30 of 52 (5161 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 10, 2003
Posts: 15794

Re: [geogoddess] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

geogoddess wrote:
Teague (Tigger) asked me to post this photo of Daryn and James together. It was taken last May, during a really fun, long weekend in Indian Creek with Daryn, James and Jamie, Andrea, Teague, and myself. We all shared good times, good friends, great climbing, great food. The guys are hanging out at camp; that is Tigger's awesomely-rigged pickup w/ cookstove setup.

You boys go!! We miss you. You are too hot for words, both of you Tongue



my condolences to friends and family

a couple of hotties........yes indeed!!!


clmbrchick


Oct 22, 2008, 1:56 PM
Post #31 of 52 (5152 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 16

Re: [geogoddess] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Good times fer sher! And both Darryn and James are quite the cooks...great food. Wonder what they're planning next...some awesome breakfast burrito and then off to the crag...maybe put up a new line...and settle down to a warm campfire after a long day of climbing and laughter ...then ice cold beers and more laughter. Rock on guys!Smile


climbnbikegirl


Oct 22, 2008, 5:11 PM
Post #32 of 52 (5099 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I am really saddened to hear of James passing. We have lost a great soul.

I knew James (Jim to me) for a short while, but he made a lasting impression on me. He was an amazing climber, but more than that, he was such a genuine person. He was thoughtful, smart, funny, and sincere. He had a quiet soulfulness about him that made you feel comfortable in his presence. I truly admired his free spirit and his ability to appreciate all that life brought to the table-the good and the bad.

I remember climbing with him and Andy, my then-boyfriend, at Indian Creek. I was going through some tough times then and he really helped me to put some things in perspective and to not be so hard on myself. I was struggling up a climb and he was so encouraging to me and told me to feel proud about what I was doing--that I was out there despite it all. That I was climbing and connecting with the rock and with nature. James really provided support and comfort in trying times and a smile and a witty quip to bring some laughter.

I know James was a true, life long friend to Andy and I cannot imagine the loss of such a friend. My heart goes out to all the loved ones in this time of grief. He will truly be missed by all that knew him.

I am attaching a picture of that day at Indian Creek. Its what I call the essence of James. It is how I will remember him.

[I cant seem to get it to show up in the text, so please click on the attachment].

(This post was edited by climbnbikegirl on Oct 23, 2008, 8:55 PM)
Attachments: James Indian Creek.jpg (28.6 KB)


baffinislanders


Oct 22, 2008, 8:55 PM
Post #33 of 52 (5019 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 1, 2004
Posts: 13

Re: [climbnbikegirl] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post



I had the fortune to share James' last week with him in Yosemite. It had been a dream of his for quite some time to climb El Capitan. Being his first route on the big stone, we climbed the Salathe Wall because it has plenty of good free climbing which I knew he'd love. It was a great accomplishment and we enjoyed every minute of the 5 day climb. He seemed to have natural big-wall ability and made good decisions and climbed very strong. He loved it up there and I was so proud of him when we topped out. I know it had been a life-changing experience for him.

When the news struck I was devastated, yet I also felt good that he had made this accomplishment before his time ended. I sensed his elation and triumph on the summit and I know that the experience wil be with him forever. On the climb, James displayed an eagerness to learn unlike anyone with whom I've climbed before. Even during the hard and trying times on the route, he remained optimistic and positive.

When we waited out a day of rain in the Mariposa Grove, underneath some of the largest Sequoia trees in the world, he passionately explained the logistics of climbing El Cap to some foreign tourists whom he had befriended. Most climbers have no interest in explaining these things to non-climbers, especially the typical Yosemite tourist. But that was James; kind, caring, and humble -- just as interested in chatting to unfit tourists as talking about routes with his best friends. That was James. I may have shown him how to climb El Cap, but he showed me things which are far more important. I will strive to live with his virutes from now on.

--Pete




(This post was edited by baffinislanders on Oct 22, 2008, 9:36 PM)
Attachments: DSCN9923_small.JPG (149 KB)
  DSCN9989_cropped_small.JPG (99.0 KB)


clmbrchick


Oct 22, 2008, 9:00 PM
Post #34 of 52 (5010 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 16

Re: [baffinislanders] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

 
I'm having problems uploading a photo.
How do you guys make it big on the page w/o it just being an attachment?


baffinislanders


Oct 22, 2008, 9:30 PM
Post #35 of 52 (5002 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 1, 2004
Posts: 13

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

It's limited to 150 kb as attachments:

type in [inline yourfilename.jpg] after you've uploaded it.

URL entries can be up to 450 kb.


baffinislanders


Oct 22, 2008, 9:54 PM
Post #36 of 52 (4993 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 1, 2004
Posts: 13

Re: [baffinislanders] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

By the way, there is a post on supertopo that deals with the nature of the accident and how we can all learn from it:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=701629&msg=704948#msg704948

Jumaring taught haul lines should be avoided at all costs....backing up with a gri gri while ascending is extremely important...


salbertsweber


Oct 23, 2008, 3:33 AM
Post #37 of 52 (4967 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 23, 2008
Posts: 3

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

All -
I am a friend of Sue Kennedy, Ken Hirst, and James Welton in Elko, NV, where I also work for The Event Source (Sue's Company) (as did/do James and Ken).
We are devastated at the news of James' death, and know that Sue and Ken will be as well.

We are using the US Consulate to try and locate Sue & Ken to let them know about James' climbing accident and the details of the memorial service, etc.

Does anyone know which mountain(s) they were climbing, in what order, the name of the trekking company or guide, name of anyone else they were traveling with, etc.? We don't have their itinerary, and any additional information will help immensely. (As I am not a climber of mountains myself, I probably wouldn't have remember if I heard it in conversation.)

Please call or e-mail me - 775-385-7215 (cell) or alb_web@hotmail.com.
Thank you.


rnchdog


Oct 23, 2008, 7:06 AM
Post #38 of 52 (4940 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 21, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [salbertsweber] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post



I have uploaded some photos at the link:


http://picasaweb.google.com/rnchdog/JamesClimbingPictures#
Attachments: Climbers1.JPG (64.0 KB)


storey


Oct 24, 2008, 5:21 PM
Post #39 of 52 (4705 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 24, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [rnchdog] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I have been reading these posts since I got the link on Monday, and they have really helped me so I thought that I should add my own. I met James in either 2005 or 2006. It was winter and he was wearing this yellow fleece/jacket. He was back in Elko staying with Ken. I remember having a get to know you conversation with him and how much it stuck out in my memory years later. I tend to always follow the safest path, and here was this guy who had just decided to come back to Elko, no job, no real plan, just a desire to see friends and revisit the landscape around Elko. He just said that he thought he would hang out here for a while. It was obvious to me at the time that here was a guy who had just decided to live the life he wanted to and not be bogged down by what anyone else thought he should be doing. Instead of having the traditional “where are you from, what do you do” conversation we talked about public land issues, the friends he had here, and of course he invited me to go climbing.
Over the years, I saw James on most Tuesdays having a beer and some pizza after ultimate frisbee. He took jobs that allowed him to take off and go on adventures, and when he would pop back into town he was usually more concerned with the next adventure than rehashing the old one. I am not a climber, so James and I mostly talked about music, his ideas for programs to get kids outdoors, lectures downloaded from itunes, or whatever was topical in the moment. I saw him some weekends in Lamoille canyon, we went on a river trip up in Idaho, and he offered to work on my Eskimo roll with me at the Elko pool. I used to make jokes about how James never tired, and if we were going to go anywhere together we would have to make sure that he was hobbled first. He wasn’t someone that I saw all the time but he was someone that I was always glad to see when I did. I saw him the Tuesday before he left for Zion and I told him he needed to stop by so I could give him some music for his trip to West Virginia. In the end, I was always amazed and a little envious of the quiet ease with which he lived his life. Everyone has posted about what a flowing climber he was, but I think he made everything he did seem effortless.

-Danielle
In reply to:


Partner j_ung


Oct 24, 2008, 5:33 PM
Post #40 of 52 (4701 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 21, 2003
Posts: 18687

Re: [storey] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Jamie, I'm so sorry, though I don't know either of you. So much grief in your circle of life.

I think the community is doing a pretty good job of paying tribute to James and Darryn here and on other sites, but please, all of you who were close to these guys, if there's anything at all that RC.com can do in an "official" capacity, don't hesitate to contact me directly. We're here for you if you need us.


salbertsweber


Oct 25, 2008, 12:32 PM
Post #41 of 52 (4642 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 23, 2008
Posts: 3

FOUND Ken & Sue in Nepal [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I was able to get a message regarding James to Ken & Sue on Amadablam. They are making their way as quickly as possible (on foot) to the airfield at Lukla and on to Kathmandu then USA. If it is at all humanly possible, I am sure that they will be in Salt Lake next Saturday.

Weather is the biggest concern for now - please pray hard for safety on the trail and clear flying weather in Lukla and Kathmandu. Thank you to everyone who offered information and advice. God bless the US Consulate and many fabulous strangers in Nepal who extended themselves to make this happen.


NGC


Oct 25, 2008, 1:57 PM
Post #42 of 52 (4625 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [salbertsweber] FOUND Ken & Sue in Nepal [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

  Returning to my car after a long slog through wet snow to the summit of Granite Mountain on Tuesday, I turned on my phone to text my wife that I was down safe. I noticed that I had a message from an unknown number. It was Jamie, the girlfriend of my friend James Welton who I had been out of touch with since his move to Nevada. She wasn’t sure how I knew James but was calling to deliver the shocking news that James had recently died in a climbing accident.

I had been lucky so far. I had been climbing and guiding in the mountains for years and most, if not all, of my friends are climbers. In the back of my mind I knew that someday one of us would be killed climbing, but I never, ever, thought that it would be James. James was the personification of climbing. James was climbing and climbing was James. They were inseparable. He was one of the most mindful and safety-conscious climbers I ever had the pleasure of sharing a rope with, and if it could happen to him, no one was safe.

I grew nauseous with the realization that it could just as easily be my wife on the other end of the phone line, delivering to James that same horrific news. I felt that it would be irresponsible of me to continue climbing with the risks involved and consequences now apparent, and wondered if I would ever be able to climb again. I drove down I-90 towards Seattle, tears streaming down my face, and memories of the good times I had shared in the mountains with James flooded my consciousness.

East Ridge; Engineer Mountain, 12,988’; Winter 2003. James, Pete, and I took turns breaking trail up the exposed and elegant ridge with my dog Fatty in tow. We had all failed to bring crampons which could have been quite useful, and as the sun rose Pete realized he had forgotten his sunglasses. James wasn’t about to let that turn us around, and on his suggestion we rotated glasses every half hour so that all us took short turns without so that no one would suffer snow-blindness.

We stayed on the summit for a long time under a brilliant blue winter sky, gazing at the sea of summits that spread out below. Between us we knew the names of almost every prominent peak, ridge and route, and if we hadn’t yet climbed it, we made plans to one day do so together. At that moment everything was possible, and our time on the planet in which to accomplish it was infinite.

North Face Direct; Peak 12,579’; Winter 2004. James, Kirk, Alex and myself had come to climb the classic 1500’ ice route, only to find that there was a little less ice on the classic pitches than expected. Far from disappointed, James was instead excited for the opportunity to do some mixed climbing. He led the horrendous looking thin ice and wet sandstone with style, grace and a smile on his face. At the top of the route it was getting late but James, always the alpinist at heart, insisted that we continue to the summit and the rest of us reluctantly agreed. Alex wisely traversed off on ledges to a ridge, while the rest of us continued directly upward, wanting to keep the “North Face Direct” direct.

We climbed up an aesthetic couloir, and then traversed out and upward on ledges covered in thin snow. We spread out on the final stretch as we tiptoed up a fragile-seeming wind-slab, hoping that it wouldn’t rip out and sweep us down into the steep terrain below. As we climbed the final cornice Alex watched us from the summit where he had been waiting for quite some time, drinking coffee and eating his lunch turned dinner.

The sun set as we headed down a different side of the mountain, hoping to find a shortcut back to the car and avoid rappelling and down-climbing the route in the darkness. We wallowed down deep snow and rappelled a brush-choked, icy gully. We followed fresh bear tracks down an old logging road through the forest, ice axes ready to fight off the angry owner of those large paws. At the bottom we found ourselves in a small canyon with an icy stream blocking our passage. At this point our patience was wearing thin and James disappeared only to return a minute later. He had found a way across that didn’t involve getting our feet wet. After crossing the stream and checking the map we realized we were now a few miles up road from the car. Some shortcut! Exhausted and elated, we trudged down the road making plans for the future. First for what we would eat and drink when got back to town and secondly for what we would climb together next. Little did I know that it would be the last major climb we would all share together.

As I drove across the floating bridge into Seattle I could see Mt. Rainier in the distance. Usually when I glimpse a great mountain from the valley floor, my heart lifts and I long to be up there. Suffering and loving every minute. Climbing! Now! Today, however, Rainier had gray pall about it with a small lenticular cloud clinging to its icy summit. It looked dark, depressing, dangerous, deadly. I couldn’t wait to get back to my warm, safe house in the city and start to work on kicking this nasty climbing habit.

Then it hit me. Climbing isn’t about rock, ice or snow. It’s not about the face, the ridge, the summit, or the view. It’s not about the rating, the challenge, the gear, the first ascent, the climbing resume, or the ego. It’s about the people. It’s about the laughter, the smiles, the curses, the sighs of exhaustion, and the funny noises we make while on a tough lead. Its about the arguments about which terrifying way to go and what ungodly hour to wake up. It’s about the stories we tell over a raging campfire under the starlit desert sky. It’s the plans for tomorrow that we make at the bar and grow increasingly ambitious with each beer. It’s about the experiences we share with our partners that form such strong bonds in a surprisingly short period of time spent together. And, as I now know, its about being overcome with grief at the loss of a true friend that a non-climber would probably categorize as a mere acquaintance. So I’ll keep climbing. But I’ll try to be more careful and I’ll always carry a little piece of James with me in my heart.

So farewell James. I know you’re in a better place. We’ll miss you. You were an inspiration to us all, both as a climber and a person. A true Bodhisattva. If everyone in the world were more like you there would be no more wars, no suffering, no pollution and no more unclimbed rock, ice, or mountains. I promise not to quit climbing because I know you would never want that. I can only hope that we meet again somehow, somewhere, someday. Until then much love. Your friend Nick.
Attachments: R001-001_low.jpg (114 KB)
  R001-003_low.jpg (135 KB)
  R001-005_low.jpg (117 KB)


weltoncousin


Oct 25, 2008, 7:14 PM
Post #43 of 52 (4575 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [storey] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I am a cousin of James Welton. I am not a climber, but I have found great pleasure in listening to his adventures. Thank you for sharing your memories of him. It has been a great comfort to his family to read your stories about your life with James. My thoughts are with all of you who knew him well. Today, I met Jamie at the memorial service in Iowa. I only wished James had been the one to introduce me to her. To those of you who know her and his closest friends, please take care of them in the coming days and weeks. I am beginning to think about ways to honor his life. It has been mentioned that he talked about programs for getting kids involved in the outdoors. Can anyone share any thoughts that he shared with you? Thanks.


murrawunda


Oct 25, 2008, 8:09 PM
Post #44 of 52 (4566 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 15, 2003
Posts: 7

another side of James [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I know that most of you knew James as an amazing climber and a warm and caring person. I knew him as these things, too, but more importantly, he was my true life partner. We loved each other in a very rare and precious way. We supported one another completely and shared a love that gave us each the freedom and confidence to follow our own individual dreams with strength and grace. And we shared the most beautiful times together. Already, I miss climbing with him, miss our adventures - I know I always will. But more, I miss his deep and loving hugs, the sparkle in his eyes when he says he loves me, his humor, his laugh. These things will never be replaced. James knew exactly how to love and support me from the first moment we met - he never had to be asked or told, he just knew. We made an exceptional team, and I can't begin to imagine how I will muddle through this life without him at my side, or carrying me, as he did in the times when I could not walk on my own.

Thanks to everyone who has posted here. Thanks in advance to everyone attending his memorial service in Salt Lake on the 1st. As climbers, we sign up for this life - we take these risks together so that we can explore the places we love and form tight, meaningful and lasting relationships. Not that I'm really looking forward to it, but it will be nice to mourn this terrible loss in the presence - in the arms - of so many friends and loved ones who understand James, me, our community, the mountains.

My love to everyone, along with my requests for hugs, prayers, support and love.
Jamie Fields
Attachments: Anniversary in Chute Canyon 2 - 24Aug08.jpg (77.0 KB)
  Anniversary in Chute Canyon - 24Aug08.jpg (142 KB)
  Dead Horse Point - May08.jpg (109 KB)
  Hwy 12 Boulder Mtn - Jan08.jpg (135 KB)
  In Lamoille - Fall07.jpg (145 KB)
  Jamies First Ice Climbing Trip - Nov07.JPG (104 KB)
  Lamoille Canyon - Summer08.jpg (135 KB)
  Ruby Crest Trail Run 2 - Summer08.jpg (80.9 KB)
  Ruby Crest Trail Run - Summer08.jpg (70.0 KB)
  Running Lower Calf Creek Escalante - Jan08.jpg (146 KB)


murrawunda


Oct 25, 2008, 8:10 PM
Post #45 of 52 (4563 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 15, 2003
Posts: 7

another side of James - one more pic [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

one more picture...
Attachments: Sinks Canyon - May08.jpg (96.4 KB)


murrawunda


Oct 25, 2008, 8:27 PM
Post #46 of 52 (4560 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 15, 2003
Posts: 7

Re: [weltoncousin] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

weltoncousin, I'm not sure which cousin you are, writing this post. The kids in nature programs James talked about were probably the ones I'll be taking on with my new job in the National Park Service. I'll be on a team leading a program we're calling Energize (or Mobilize) GenWise, in which we will be communicating with young people and helping them to find access to the kinds of outdoor pursuits that James and I love, the communities we are a part of.

James has been my base of strength and confidence for pursuing this exciting challenge, which I'll admit is far less exciting without him here where he can hug me at the end of a hard day or where we can bounce ideas off each other or even just go climbing together to enjoy the beautiful things in this world we both hope to save.

I'm sure James would have been more involved in this project than just as my support. In the past year, he had talked about possibly getting involved with a boy scout troop. Perhaps, in what would have been our new home together in Fayetteville, WV (I have to move there soon without him), he would have done so, or started a local youth outdoors club, or, well, who knows? Perhaps we'd have just set him up a wood shop so that he could be artistic. It's awfully hard to say now.

But yes, there are heaps of kids in nature programs out there already, and soon there will be a movement geared toward young adults as well. I hope that, in a few years, there are many many more young people out there, following James's adventurous example of how to live, love and celebrate in this crazy world.

Thanks for your post,
Jamie


weltoncousin


Oct 26, 2008, 8:53 PM
Post #47 of 52 (4473 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Jamie, thanks for your reply. I'm Beth Nordmeyer. My mom and James' mom are first cousins. I was the Iowan who told you my favorite story of the sleeping bag and James (which by the way I have trouble remembering because I grew up calling him Jim!) He was in high school-I think-and he got a new sleeping bag which was rated to 30 below. He was so excited when the temperature dropped and he could try out the new bag. The rest of his family slept comfortably warm inside while he stayed in the backyard. It was then that I realized he had a true understanding and appreciation for nature and all the experiences it had to offer. Shortly after that I had another realization that his heart was in the mountains and like John Denver sang, "he was going home to a place he'd never been before." The mountains in Iowa are hard to come by and even though those of us in Iowa saw him less, we knew he was happiest somewhere else. I imagine the memorial service in Iowa was a blur for you. I hope your time with your friends in Salt Lake will bring more healing for you and them.

As for kids in nature....I am a first-grade teacher in Des Moines with a strong passion for our environment. My husband does a lot of work with the Iowa Environmental Council and related organizations. Following the ideas presented in Last Child in the Woods, we have discussed what we can do to introduce nature to more children. Other than providing experiences for my classroom and leading my boys' cub scout groups, we haven't done much. During the last week, I've become more motivated than ever to get up and so something. I've thought about beginning a group here for the city kids to get out in the wilderness, supporting a program already in place like your program in West Virginia, and/or supporting a program in the west to teach kids about climbing. I don't know how many of these programs exist and I just don't know where I'm feeling called which is why I'm throwing out ideas.

Here's a message to all who knew James. Let's all try to do something more. Let's all do something to keep his ideals alive. Not out of obligation, but because we loved him and everyone can benefit from learning what he already knew and taught us by the way he lived. It may be you teach someone else something he taught you. It may be you introduce someone else to the mountains he loved. It may be you live with a little more passion. It may be you do something to keep the places he loved wild and untouched for those yet to come. Let's just all do something more with the precious time we have here...for us, for those around us, and for James.
Thanks for reading,
Beth


climbnbikegirl


Oct 29, 2008, 9:58 AM
Post #48 of 52 (4295 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [murrawunda] another side of James [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Jamie- Thanks so much for posting the photos of you and James. Although I never met you, you seem like a wonderful person and I am so glad that James had such a loving and compatible partner during his last year.

I will not be attending the SLC service, but will be thinking of you and James and all that knew and loved him.

I also work for the Park Service and if you need anything during your adjustment to your new life with the NPS out in West Virginia, I would love to help out.


ddarden


Oct 30, 2008, 2:01 PM
Post #49 of 52 (4208 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 30, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [murrawunda] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Dear Jaime, All of us here at New River Gorge National River were saddened to learn of James' tragic accident. We just wanted you to know that we are thinking of you and James and that we regard both of you as the newest members of our NPS park family. Although we never had the chance to meet James, it's clear from all the posts on this site that James was a very special person. We hope in the days ahead that you can find some small comfort in your many happy memories of him. Please let us know if there is anything at all that we here at NPS can do for you.


salbertsweber


Oct 30, 2008, 4:13 PM
Post #50 of 52 (4184 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 23, 2008
Posts: 3

Re: [salbertsweber] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

All -

I am so very sorry to let you know that, in all likelihood, Sue Kennedy & Ken Hirst will not be able to get back to the USA from Nepal in time for James' memorial gathering in Salt Lake City, UT, this Saturday. Everybody I have called and e-mailed, both here and abroad, has been tremendously helpful and empathetic. Many people went far above and beyond to make sure that two American strangers in a foreign land got the news of James' accident as quickly as possible and had support as they tried to deal with the logistics of a hasty return.

Although flights from Bangkok to USA got straightened out, the problem is flying from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Bangkok, Thailand, in time because Nepal has been in the midst of a huge, 5-day national holiday/festival called Tihar. Imagine having five American Christmas Days back to back to back; even the US Consulate has been closed for business.

We tried everything we could, and I am sorry to disappoint you during this sad time. Barring a miracle or an act of God, Buddha, James, or the higher power of your choice, Ken & Sue will be with you in spirit only.

Now here is some especially poignant (I thought) information about Tihar, the festival that is scrambling the travel plans. Officially, Tihar is "the festival of brothers & lifelong bonds" (even if you were not born brothers) - I kid you not. The festival officially runs from Saturday, October 25, through Thursday, October 30 (but the business closures can extend through November 2 - no matter what country or culture, who doesn't love a long weekend?) Read this info that is straight from offical Nepali web sites recommended by some of my new on-line friends in Nepal:

"Tihar is a festival for brothers and sisters, but what if you are a brother without a sister or a sister without a brother? Well, you can make [a brother] by accepting someone close to you in your relatives. If nothing works, you find one among your friends and neighbors, it becomes almost as if it was real. Whom ever you made your sister or brother remains so for life, and each year this festival makes your bond stronger." (Reference @ http://www.nepalvista.com/travel/tihar.html)

Tihar is known in Nepal as the "festival of lights". Day 1 honors crows, Day 2 honors dogs, Day 2 honors cows (or livestock?), on Day 4 you sing rousiong songs, and the 5th day is the day to honor your brother. "Lastly, on the fifth day of the holiday, [they] celebrate the lives of their brothers, and give them special flower chains and tikas on their foreheads to wish them luck. Throughout this holiday, people light beautiful butterlamps [like candles or luminarias] and place them along roads, in front of their houses, and in windowsills. Others stream lights from their roofs, and the entire country is lit up in a beautiful celebration of life and family." (Reference @ http://www.xploreu.com/blogs/entry/Tihar-the-Festival-of-Lights)

If Ken & Sue cannot be with you, their people, to celebrate James' life on Saturday, could there be any better place for them to be then in a beautiful kingdom at the top of the world, surrounded by fabulous peaks, immersed in a culture that reveres mountain climbers, and celebrating a festival to honor brothers? So light a butterlamp, get a tika, sing some songs, and have a beer to honor and celebrate your brother James.

Steph In Elko


mountaingirl1961


Oct 31, 2008, 9:18 PM
Post #51 of 52 (1445 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 31, 2008
Posts: 1

James [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

I first met James two years ago, although it seems I already had known him for years the day that I finally met him - I'd heard so much about him from Ken, my partner, and from our mutual friend Season, who knew and loved James for many, many years.

Ah, the James stories... Ken, who almost never touches his computer, somehow figured out how to make a personal picture his desktop... his computer features a full-face photo of this remarkably hairy individual, shirtless, in dark glasses with a snowfield behind... huge set of white teeth smiling in the middle... "That's James", says Ken when asked. "We were ice climbing."

Ken taught James to ice climb 15 years ago, or so, back when James was a clean-cut hotelier in one of Elko's casino establishments.

I was at Ken's house a couple of years ago when James arrived in town after having been driving for 24+ hours or so. Ken was at work. James walked in, said "Oh, you're here..." Fortunately, the conversation went uphill from there. James was moving to Elko for a while, and came in time to join Ken and me for a trip to Argentina and Aconcagua.

James was a spectacular human being. There were no strangers in James' world, only friends he hadn't met yet. He was so good with children, too - with Ken's kids and with Season's little boy. The world stopped for kids, and no explaination was too tiring, nothing was uninteresting, when kids were around. James was the ultimate kids' life tour guide.

Ken considered him to be his best friend, and it didn't take long for me to understand why. James cared so much about Ken, about his state of mind, his relationship with his children, his relationship with himself and with me. Honestly, I don't know how to have a relationship with Ken without having James in the middle - James was Ken's other half (the half that would actually talk about things). We were starting to gear up for James moving to the other side of the country - he'd been spending more and more time on the road, with Jamie and on climbing trips, and Ken had moved out to my house and left James with Perry at his. I am having a very hard time getting my head around not having him there any more - it's one thing to know he's living on the other side of the country and will likely blow through town at some point... it's quite another to know that he isn't coming back. I can still hear his voice... see him smile at somebody's joke with a mouth full of food.

I am writing this from Kathmandu. Ken and I were climbing Lobuje East and Ama Dablam in the Everest region when we got the news. The US Embassy got a message to us at Ama Dablam base camp that James had fallen to his death. Hard, hard news so far away. We aborted the rest of our trip in the Khumbu to try and get to Kathmandu and fly home, but the arrangements haven't worked.

It was a two day walk to Lukla and the airport from where we were camped. I left base camp about an hour ahead of the Sherpa team - I'd had a picture in my mind the night before of a beautiful place on the way down.

In the Khumbu, the Sherpas build stone memorials, called chhorten, for their friends and family who've died. I built a small one for James and for a little four year old boy, the son of a friend who lost his eyesight and then his life to cancer. The chhorten is on a rock outcropping about 10 minutes walk down from Ama Dablam base camp, with a magnificent view of Cholatse and the Imja Khola drainage. I don't think James would mind sharing his chhorten with little Tanner... I think they would both be better for the company. James loved children - he was so good with them - and he loved showing them the beauty of the mountains. Tanner never got to see them... he would appreciate such a tour guide.

Ken walked up just as I was finishing... we know that, if James' spirit visits the places he is remembered, he'll have a beautiful place to visit here.

I am sorry this is so disjointed.

SUE


(This post was edited by mountaingirl1961 on Oct 31, 2008, 9:19 PM)


Psyphonx


Nov 1, 2008, 12:47 PM
Post #52 of 52 (1409 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 1, 2008
Posts: 1

Re: [clmbrchick] Touchstone death/ James Welton RIP [In reply to]
Report this Post
Can't Post

Hi,
My name is Jason Lantz. I'm not a climber,(scared of mountain heights) but I was a good friend of Jim's in High School. I first met Jim (or Welton thats what I always called him) in Charles City High School. It was my first year at a new school and I really didn't know any one. James was one of the first people I was to call a friend. When ever I had a lot on my mind or didn't know how to let off steam he was always there to tell me that there is always a brighter side to life.. I don't remember how many times when we played ADand D that his and Andy's characters didn't wander off the adventure. If it wasn't for him and others I met through drama classes I would have stayed such a serious person. Jim was always such a good friend and I always admired his skills and beliefs.
After High school I really didn't keep in touch with Jim.but when I would go to plays his Mom would talk about his adventures. It was great to hear about them. I was alway proud that he did the things he loved. I am so glad that he met as compassionate people as he was. I always thought that one day we would get together and talk about the old times and laugh, but unfortunately it didn't happen. It has been so good to see the pictures and memories that all of you have. I wish I could write or show pictures of my memories. From all the moving after high school my pictures have all disappeared . So, I want to thank you all for sharing.

In reply to:


Forums : Climbing Information : In Memory Of

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook