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Erica Kutcher missing in Pakistan
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courtney


Jul 18, 2005, 11:52 AM
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Hi everyone,
Thanks for all the updates. Three quick things:

1) It seemed odd to me that Pierre would be questioned for so long by authorities, so I called a Federal Investigator I work with in Yosemite National Park who is often tasked with similar types of lost person investigations. His first words were that he is very sorry Erica is missing. He confirmed that investigators do question the partners extensively. I'm sure I can ask him more questions about this process if anyone wants me to. He was reassured to hear that the State Department is involved.

2) I think someone mentioned going to see a psychic. Interestingly, I believe I read that "seers" are helpful in a number of cases. I have not been involved in a case where seers have been used, so I have no first hand experience. However, I believe there is some positive data in "The Handbook for Managing Land Search Operations" by Robert "Skip" Stoffel, published by Emergency Response International www.emergencyresponseintl.com

3) I'm glad to hear dogs are being deployed. For those of you who don't know me, I've been involved in search and rescue for three years, mostly in Yosemite. I'm currently training a search dog to do wilderness search.
Erica met Bella, my dog, last summer in the dirt lot when we were out for a morning run. Bella jumped up on Erica with great enthusiasm and scratched Erica's tummy--but Erica didn't mind and just pet her and gave me a hug, smile and lots of great energy.

Please let me know if there is anything more I can due to help.
Courtney


courtney


Jul 18, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Also, especially to family and friends checking this site--you may also want to check www.supertopo.com for information other climbers are providing. There is a post today from someone who is familiar with the Shipton base camp area, which may be helpful.


climbs4fun
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Jul 18, 2005, 12:41 PM
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For those of you who are long-time friends of Erica's (ericasbestfriend, etc), Glamour magazine has contacted me requesting contact information. They would like to do an article on her. Please PM me (please don't post that information here) if you are interested in having them contact you.

-K


areuinclimber


Jul 18, 2005, 1:23 PM
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i was hangin in camp 4 about two months ago (give or take a little time) with my friend scott. we kept seeing this girl walking around (she was in the camp site behind us) talking and laughing and just takin care of stuff. she was dressed in these WILD hot pink pants. i was curious so i asked another climber that was in our site if she knew much about her (i was a bit to shy to go up and say anything, plus she looked rather busy) and i got the scoop about how she was an ultra good climber, but other than that didnt know much about her either. a bit later that day she somehow procured a baby from someone she knew and was carrying him (if i remember correctly) around all over, laughing and playing with him. she meandered to our site to chat with the other climber that i talked to. we briefly talked but for some reason i never forgot that girl. the image of her huge smile and personality has stuck in my mind for these last months and when i read the news and saw the pictures i knew exactly who it was though i didnt know her name when i "met" her. it was Erica Kutcher. the nice things people are saying about her seem, from my brief experience with her, to fit like a glove. she was so happy and did not come off like the rockstar she obviously was. when the other climber asked about her plans she stayed on the subject as little as possible. she was very humble about it and never acted like she was above anyone there. i gained immediate respect for Erica and this is why i believe her image has stuck in my mind. i hope she is out there somewhere as it would be a great loss to camp 4 and the world as a whole.

to give up the search would be a grave mistake.

i give my support to her family and friends.


vivalargo


Jul 18, 2005, 1:33 PM
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With every passing day it becomes harder for someone to survive without food, fluids and shelter so I sure hope they are getting those dogs out there on the double. After all this time you've got to think or speculate that Erica is stuck somewhere where she can't execute a self rescue, quite possibly close to camp--but maybe I'm just hoping for a miracle.

By all means keep searching.

JL


epic_ed


Jul 18, 2005, 10:20 PM
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I got a quick response from my friend. Here's what she had to say:

In reply to:
Ed -- I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I sent an e-mail to a friend of mine who is still in Islamabad...and (she indicates) that the American Citizen Services staff at the Embassy have been working on the case ever since they found out that she went missing.

It's the job of the American Citizen Services section at the Embassy to take care of Amcits in trouble.
That's one of my jobs in Sierra Leone, but in Pakistan they have an officer doing it full time and her boss is my old boss. My old boss is a force of nature and will let nothing get in the way of her helping an American citizen in trouble -- I saw it several times when I was there. The Embassy has very good relations with the police and I am sure they're doing all they can to find her.

Before I left Pakistan I went up to the Northern Areas (Gilgit, Hunza) and got stuck for a week and a half because of weather -- the air is so thin up there the planes cannot fly to/from Islamabad if there is even a hint of a storm over Nanga Parbat. I imagine it is the same in the area where they are searching for Erica. And forget trying to predict the weather up there -- I tried it myself while I was stuck waiting for good plane weather -- 3 websites, 3 different forecasts. It really is isolated up there.

Take care and keep the faith,
Rachael

Still no word, but it sounds like the right people with a lot of resolve are in the region to make sure this is a top priority.

Ed


3al25v


Jul 18, 2005, 11:26 PM
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I met Eri about 5 years ago through a “looking for partner” posting at the rock gym in Flagstaff. We decided to climb at the Overlook just south of town. It was uneventful, well, at least as uneventful as an outing with Eri could be. Really, she can make everyday tasks like going to the grocery store the most fun you’ve had in your life. Anyway, as we were walking off the top of a climb she casually informed me that she was leaving on a bike trip in a few months. Where? I asked. From Fairbanks, AK to Ushuaia, Argentina, roughly 12 or 13 thousand miles. Eri had already ridden coast to coast twice and across the south desert of Australia and this was the next step.

Next thing I know it’s early May and there is absolute silence... no wind, no animals, nothing. Nobody is around for miles I’m standing in front of a sign that says “66 degrees 33 minutes north -Arctic Circle” and Eri is next to me in pants and a t-shirt trying to hitch a ride to Prudhoe Bay, AK. The temperature during the truck ride back from Prudhoe Bay registered at -17 on the thermometer. Not a big deal except that it’s a 500 mile journey from Prudhoe Bay to our destination of Fairbanks and Eri rode in the back of the truck. I managed for about 45 minutes then I was back inside the cab trying to get feeling back into my legs. Eri stayed
in the back with her rosy cheeks and that smile. Like she knows something that the rest of us don’t.

Several months later we were in Baja cranking though 110 degree heat. She wore the same wonderful smile. I have not met anyone with the level of strength and tenacity that Eri has, be it on a bike, bigwall; mountains or desert. Eri you are an inspiration to us all.



David, Blossom, Sharon, Michelle, Pierre, and all friends and family, you are in our thoughts and prayers.

-erik


sedonagal


Jul 18, 2005, 11:32 PM
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I never met Erica but I know her very well. And I mean "very well." Through the eyes of her parents, the joy in their expression each time they have mentioned her, the spark in their eyes when they describe any one of her many adventures... Although there are two daughters for whom the Kutchers carry tremendous pride and love, their smiles and laughter when sharing any one of Erica's conversations will remain with me always. Erica is very special and there is no doubt that she has spun through life with a passion I can only hope to experience myself, but I am so very inspired by these two wonderful people. Erica's father carries a quiet demeanor with yet a wonderful sense of humor and compassion that truly complements his lovely wife's inner beauty and sense of pleasure in all that she touches. They are a wonderful family -- the Kutchers, and I take great pleasure in knowing them and being a part of their family. Even while the anxiety of the unknown looms overhead, Erica's parents carry a sense of dignity and respect for a daughter they miss dearly. I only hope that I can be the parent either one has been to Erica and Gabrielle. I hope and pray like everyone else here for a simple miracle. In the meantime, I thought you all might like to know something about two people so very important in this young woman's life... Peace.


gblauer
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Jul 19, 2005, 6:07 AM
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Erica and her family are in my prayers.


mezzner


Jul 19, 2005, 8:16 AM
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Regrettfully there are now some sad updates on the Supertopo thread:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=83031&f=0&b=0


elepita


Jul 19, 2005, 8:18 AM
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Please check supertopo.com, Ericas sister has posted the sad end of the speculations. I send all my positive energy to her family and friends, I did not know her really well, just met her a couple of times, but she has been a lot in my thoughts very much lately. I dont know what else to say really...


courtney


Jul 19, 2005, 1:47 PM
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Dear Gabrielle, Mr. and Mrs. Kutcher, Marcia, Michael, Pierre, and everyone in Erica's beautiful life,

I am so sorry to learn of Erica's death. Thank you all for sharing yourselves and information so openly and generously through these times. Please know my and my family's thoughts are with you all.

Those of us who climb and do adventure sports are often seen as being brave. Yet it takes so much bravery to be the parent, sibling, or friend of an adventurer. You all exhibit so much bravery by supporting us in all the ways you do big and small--listening to our stories, buying us climbing helmets, forwarding our mail to "General Delivery" addresses at remote post offices, understanding our lack of communication due to poor or no cell phone reception, welcoming us home with truly stinky laundry, and so much more. Thank you to the Kutcher family for supporting Erica in doing what she loved.

I am lucky to have spent a handful of times with Erica. Even if Erica had lived to be 108, I could never have gotten enough of her. As I mentioned a few days ago, she is one of the inspirational women in my life. I think of Erica and I want to go out and do big things. I think of Erica and I smile.
http://i13.photobucket.com/...angerGirlPyramid.jpg
With love and sympathy,
Courtney


Partner macherry


Jul 19, 2005, 6:37 PM
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my condolences to the friends and family of Erica Kutcher


susanna_lantz


Jul 19, 2005, 10:38 PM
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my name is susanna and i am from british columbia. i met erica at yosemite last summer at camp four. she was one heck of a good time. she was the second person that i met and she was pretty welcoming to me, making me part of her climbing community. i was on my way through on the very same cycling trip that she tried to do but had to stop due to her sickness. i rode my bike from canada to patagonia this year and i would like to dedicate my slide shows to her. i stayed at yosemite for just over a month, so i was able to hang out with her a bit. so many fond memories that i will never forget and will laugh at and smile knowing that she was a special, fun, strong woman. when i showed up i didn't bring much stuff and she was always ready to lend me whatever to help me out (her extra sleeping bag, clothes...) i remember doing hand stands with her and doing some crazy stunts (one where you take a beer bottle half full and balance it on your head and without using your hands put it on the ground. we did this so many times and had a lot of good laughs.) lots of crazy camp fires making smores and hanging out...talking about guys and how we like them a lot. i remember being at one end of camp four and i could hear erica's laugh from the other end of the camp. it was always this loud piercing screech which would make me laugh and definitely find her. but one of my most favorite memories was the baseball game that we played at camp four. if you can picture this...four sexy dirty, literally, girls, and a bunch of guys (outnumbering us by far) playing a full contact baseball game with a stick and a rock. eventually the rock became a chunk of wood because we figured it was a little too dangerous due to our audience being drunk and high. the trees and bear boxes became bases and each player would hall ass to make it there with out being tackled and striped of clothing. the girls team, my team, had to use force in order to win...so we did. erica, amee, jeane and i got into it with all that we had. one girl would get the ball and the rest would tackle and jump on the guys so that they wouldn't get to base... and so on and so on... it was a day that i will never ever forget. we were strong and crazy, but happy and full of laughs and smiles. she was someone who i looked up to and will probably forever. susanna


morleythemonkey


Jul 20, 2005, 1:12 AM
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I met Erica two years ago at a Halloween party in Moab. She was dressed up as a sketchy desert off-width, utterly herself in a red bikini and wig, fishnets and a pair of huge, red, bug eye sunglasses. I was drunk, wearing a pink wig, having no clue at all as to what any kind of off-width might be. We sat on a couch and talked for hours. We hit it off. I couldnt believe this beautiful person was interested in me. A few weeks later she took me climbing for the first time in my life. It was a revelation, and she didnt even yell at me when I lowered her way too quickly on a borrowed figure 8.
For the next year wed make it a point to run into each other when possible, every few months or so. My work as a bike guide takes me to the same beautiful places she liked to climb: Yosemite, Zion, Moab, Vegas. Wed hang out and catch up, talk about one day maybe being someplace together for some amount of time, the loneliness of living a life on the road, our families back east. Last winter we both ended up in Tucson and finally got a chance to spend some real time together. Every minute was special, whether it was mini-golf, crazy 80s night dancing, ab-rolling till my tummy ached or just hanging out, having those wonderful, long, getting-to-know-you conversations that you remember for the rest of your life. She touched me deeply and I fell hard. She climbed every single day; it gave her what no person could. Shes the most dedicated athlete Ive ever met and I quickly realized that Id always come second. That was OK.
She was so excited about her trip to Pakistan, kind of saw it as the end of one era in her climbing career and the beginning of another. She worked crazy hard to pay for it while training and keeping up a budding relationship. The trip meant so much to her. The last e-mail I got talked about how beautiful it was there and that she and Pierre were already looking forward to returning next season. She had so much left to accomplish in life. Im lucky for every second we had together, she leaves a huge hole in my life. Erica died doing what she had to do, what she loved, on a great adventure and in the mountains. Might we all be so blessed.

jacques


neantaeus


Jul 20, 2005, 3:39 AM
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Bad news

Erica Kutcher was found found dead; the apparent victim of an avalanche.

I'm as sorry as anyone who did not know her could be

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/329877p-281887c.html
:cry:


killclimbz


Jul 20, 2005, 6:58 AM
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I have been lurking on this thread for awhile. Though I have never met Erica, she seems to be on of "those". Those people that once you run into them at the crag, expedition, campground, where ever, the positive impact they have on your life never leaves you. My condolences to all of her friends and family.


peanutbutter


Jul 20, 2005, 7:34 AM
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We miss you Eri, Camp 4 will never be the same.


zozo


Jul 20, 2005, 7:45 AM
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Very sad news, I was hoping it would end ok.


climbinganne


Jul 20, 2005, 9:00 AM
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:cry: i think we all were praying for a miracle...to her family and friends from all over the world, my sincerest condolences.


Partner tim


Jul 20, 2005, 9:37 AM
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I saw a blurb on Erica's death today in the New York Times today (page A23, Wednesday July 20th, 2005) and for some reason it really affected me. While I never met Erica formally, I lived in Burlington, VT, while she was an undergraduate at UVM, and bumbled around the local climbing ''scene'', almost certainly bumping into her at some point or another. Her name sounded eerily familiar, and the pictures posted reminded me of someone I'd seen before... it took me some time to figure out why.

My condolences to her many friends and her family. Everyone dies sooner or later; very few people live out their dreams to the degree that she clearly did. Much respect to her.


djoseph


Jul 20, 2005, 10:29 AM
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My condolences to Erica's family and friends. Though I didn't know her, I grew up across the Long Island Sound, and know people from her home town.

I was struck by the fact that millions of people will read Erica's thoughts via the NYT article that Tim referenced:

In reply to:
Yesterday, climbing Web sites, which had been filled with postings of concern, displayed a message from Ms. Kutcher's older sister, Gabrielle, 29, who related two lessons she said Erica had taught her.

"Be true to your heart and yourself. Never care what anyone thinks as long as you are doing what you know is right," was the first.

The other one went: "Take time every day to smile at someone you don't know. It is the little acts of random kindness that, in the end, make a bigger difference."

Dan


indigo_nite


Jul 20, 2005, 11:39 AM
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my condolences. I met Erica on a road trip a couple summers ago. she'd just finished a ski patrol stint and was rolling between Lover's Leap and Yosemite.

I remember her personality shouted with a zest for life. after we traded leads up a warm-up climb in yosemite, she joked around w/ a couple solo-ers at the top. she did this funny shoulder stand on the guy as he made a base on hands and knees.

at camp 4, she was really gregarious and popular, organizing communal dinner parties. she also entertained me w/ stories of getting sniffed out by bears when she'd crash camp 4 by sleeping under the bear bins. I don't know what else to share but she was a star that burned very brightly.


old_vt_friend


Jul 20, 2005, 2:31 PM
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I'll never forget the first time I saw Erica. It was the winter of 1997. I was walking by the library at UVM and she walked by me wearing hiking boots, shorts, a down jacket, her Dana Designs lid to her backpack as a fanny pack and pig tails sticking out from under her hat (it was frigid out). The moment I saw her I knew I had to meet her.

Over the next few years I had the opportunity to hang out with Erica a lot getting to know her and her family and friends. To say she was a huge part of my life would be an understatement. Over those years we experienced so much together that I am so grateful to have the memories from. We climbed, traveled, hiked, went sky diving, laughed, cried and the list goes on.

I can also remember the last time I saw Erica. It was just over 5 years ago in June of 2000. We bouldered in Smuggler's Notch that day and then Brad and I drove her to the Mobil station in Waterbury to be picked up by her friends to go back down to southern New Hampshire where they were leading biking trips that summer. Never did I think it would be that last time I would ever see her.

I will never forget Erica and will always be thankful that our paths crossed in life. I learned a lot from her, most importantly how to live in the moment. I don't think I have ever met anyone who knew how to live in the moment like Erica did.

To all of Erica's family and friends I send my sincerest sympathies and love. May we never forget our beloved friend!
-Shane Baron


epic_ed


Jul 21, 2005, 12:05 AM
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The climbing community is unique in a few regards. In no other sport can the average weekend duffer break bread and share war stories with the elite and best athletes of the sport, often around a campfire or a favorite local hang-out. Erica wasn't a sponsored climber, but she definitely had "rock star" quality talent. As others have mentioned, she was more interested and enthusiastic about your plans that she was about her own. She went out of her way to make me feel like one of the group in a campsite where I knew no one when I arrived, and eagerly invited me to share a few meals with them.

Camp 4 and the Yosemite climbing scene is where climbers of all abilities gather to chase their dreams, whether we are full time dirt bags or weekend warriors. Spend a few weeks there and its hard to not want to stay in the Valley for a whole season or longer. Its people like Erica, though, that make the experience more than memorable. She had no ego, and it was easy to tell that she was thrilled to be living life on her terms and she was having so much fun that she wanted to drag you along for the ride.

Our paths only crossed for a brief couple of weeks, but she left a permanent impression on my life. You dont forget someone like Erica and the world is a lesser place without her in it. The climbing community is also unique in our ability to rally around those we love in times of loss. Those who have climbed with Erica have had a chance to really experience the essence of her character and we want everyone to know who it is we saw in times where a persons character is revealed the most. She was a wonderful lady who inspired those around her to suck the marrow out of life! Those of us who grieve do so because weve lost a kindred spirit. People who have been life long friends, those who have been casual acquaintances, and those who never even met her -- we all grieve because we admire the way she lived, and hope that we, too, can learn to live our lives unapologetically following our hearts.

Along with the grieving many of us will find our own way to help celebrate Ericas life. It would be inappropriate to do any less. As Ive read these stories about her antics and adventures I cant help but find myself cheering and applauding how she conducted her life, and it inspires me to live a little more carefree. I, for one, will be carrying a hula-hoop with me up a route next year.

Those who are family and close friends of Erica, please know that she will be dearly missed by many who crossed paths with her over the years. I can only imagine the emptiness and sorrow you feel, but please know that you do not grieve alone. We are blessed to have known her.

Ed

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