Susan Oakey-Baker, Finding Jim (Rocky Mountain Books, 2013).
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine,
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so,
We were made for joy and woe,
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.
I met with Sue for an hour Harvest Thanksgiving weekend at Whistler to discuss her published book Finding Jim as the sun turned to the west--autumn trees spoiled us with their flaming red, rust and yellow hues. Sue had recently returned from her 15th climb of Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Alzheimer’s--her first trip to the summit of Kilimanjaro was with Jim Haberl and the trip is poignantly and honestly recounted in Finding Jim (chapter 4).
Many of us remember, with predictable understated Canadian patriotism, the day Jim Haberl reached the summit of K2 in the summer of 1993--he and Dan Culver were the first Canadians to do so. The climb was marred by the death of Dan Culver who died on the descent. Haberl recounted, in evocative and graphic detail, the climb in K2: Dreams and Reality (1994). Haberl continued his mountaineering tales with a follow up book, Risking Adventure: Mountaineering Journeys Around the World (1997). Risking Adventure was dedicated “To Sue, my partner in the biggest adventure of all-life”. Haberl in the Acknowledgements, doffed his grateful cap to Sue once again—“And a very special thanks goes out to Sue Oakey, who supports who I am and gives me perspective”. Jim Haberl died in an avalanche in the University Range in Wrangel-St. Elias National Park in April 1999, and in 2006, the ACC-Jim Haberl Hut was opened in the Tantalus Range in the Coastal Mountains (Cloudburst: Fall/Winter 2006, pgs. 22-23). I remember, with some fondness, the ACC week trip in 2006 to the Tantalus Range to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ACC--the Haberl Hut was ever in our sights and imagination---it opened a few weeks before our trek.