Missing Hiker - Ben Brownlee

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Matt Lemke
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Re: Missing Hiker - Ben Brownlee

Post by Matt Lemke » Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:43 pm

Ben and I had just climbed Hagerman Peak together, along with Heath; another friend of his just 13 days before he died. He was talking about the idea of heading to the Point 13,832 group one of the following weekends as he was getting close to finishing the Centennials. We agreed it would be super fun to finish together on Pigeon and Turret next spring; now it will be painful to be on that hike alone without him to celebrate with.

I took the photo below of Ben at about 13,000 feet elevation on our way up the SW ridge of Hagerman. He was waiting for me there...just excited to be up there.

I'm still in shock :cry:
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Re: Missing Hiker - Ben Brownlee

Post by CaptCO » Sat Oct 10, 2020 6:20 pm

Ben Brownlee deserved more years on this planet.. may he forever hike in peace
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Re: Missing Hiker - Ben Brownlee

Post by 14erFred » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:47 pm

Such a painful loss. Prayers for strength & comfort for Ben’s family and friends. May he rest in peace forever, and may his memory always be a blessing.
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Eli Watson
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Re: Missing Hiker - Ben Brownlee

Post by Eli Watson » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:40 pm

Just catching up on this thread after being tuned out for a week or so in the San Juan. The outpouring of the community speaks volumes to Ben's character, and his abilities. He sounds like an accomplished mountainer, but an even more tremendous human. This tragic loss of life is truly sobering, and I hope Ben's loved ones may find peace.
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Re: Missing Hiker - Ben Brownlee

Post by JamesK » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:40 pm

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Re: Missing Hiker - Ben Brownlee

Post by broncotw » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:50 pm

He seemed like a great man! Condolences to his family and friends!
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Re: Missing Hiker - Ben Brownlee

Post by JDroz » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:46 pm

It has taken me awhile to fully process this whole thing, and I'm not sure if I will ever fully come to terms with just how much I will miss spending time with Ben. From the first time I met him while on Wilson Pk in the summer of 2017, it was obvious he was the type of person I wanted to be in the mountains with.

During our first outing together a few weeks after first meeting, we were socked in by a classic San Juan summer storm and forced to spend 4 hours in our tent. I had just barely met him, yet we were having conversations like we had known each other for years. Once the storm finally let up, the sun broke through and lit up Kilpacker basin with intense golden hues, catching all the droplets of water left after the storm. Seeing the way Ben absorbed the measureless beauty before of us confirmed my thought that this man was "doing it for the right reasons".

Ben was an absolute beast in the mountains. Never have I been so driven to keep pace than when I was following his steps. He took every obstacle, whether it was a 2nd class talus slope or 5th class chimney, with pure grace. His attitude towards hardship is something I try to emulate in my everyday life, as no mountain, stream, or wetness of socks was ever enough to wipe the smile off his face.

Most of the people who have posted in here never had the pleasure of knowing Ben, but I am so very grateful for your kind words and condolences. Feeling the love and support from all of you gives me and others in his life great solace. If I may request one thing, it is that you spare a moment atop your next summit to remember the loss of a truly outstanding member of our community.

Rest in peace, Ben. The mountains will be emptier without you.
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