Friends Hut Memorial Anniversary — Farewell Robert

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This day in 1980, eleven people (including an unborn child) died in an aircraft collision in our local Colorado mountains. The victims had a broad network of friends in the towns of both Aspen and Crested Butte. Result was the Friends Hut, built as a memorial to all the victims. More, Friends Hut was built as a coming together of Aspen and Crested Butte as mountain towns with a common interested in the human side of mountain living: families, loved ones, children, climbing partners, volunteerism — friends. I was close to victims Michael Pokress and Robert Pimentel; both were mountaineering partners and friends. “Pimmy” was also my mother’s best friend and neighbor in Crested Butte, and had been part of our family since the mid 1960s. He was a good photographer, especially considering the gear of 1973. Following is a poem from his memorial, and a few of his photos from our Denali ski expedition of 1973.

Harper Glacier, Denali, Muldrow Glacier Route.

Harper Glacier, Denali, Muldrow Glacier Route. 1973. Robert Pimentel photo. Click to enlarge.

Poem for Pimentel memorial on Slate River, June 1980, Crested Butte

Pimmy was a son to be proud of,
lover for some,
a brother for others,
one of the finest people you could ever know.

Pimmy has continued his journey — we’ve been delayed a while.

We grieve
for this man who’s gone,
yet we celebrate this:
a journey begun.

Pimmy knew the lover’s bite of autumn’s alpine air,
the hot sun on his back.

During his photography on Denali, Pimmy liked taking photos of his pack in lieu of self portraits.

During his photography on Denali, Pimmy liked taking photos of his pack in lieu of self portraits, probably because our packs weighed so much. We were always stunned we could actually carry them -- the elephants dominated our lives. At first, we were doing three carries, each with about a hundred pounds. As we ate our food and stashed gear the load decreased somewhat, but compared to these days it was ridiculous.

A trout on the line was beautiful,
and so was one swimming free.

He’d seen the glow from the high summits,
and the gleam in a lover’s eyes.

“Follow me,” Pim would say as his skis, scythes, would reap a line down the side of a mountain.

The soaring airplane — he delighted in that,
he moved, he gave so much.

In Pimmy’s name we pledge:
To live life to the full, share with others just as he shared with us. A pledge burned into our souls by the memory. Forever.


2 Responses to “Friends Hut Memorial Anniversary — Farewell Robert”

  1. Patricia Dawson (Lou's mom) June 18th, 2013 9:45 am

    I have so many memories of Pimmy..He was like my brother… we truly cared about each other. He used to have every holiday dinner with us at the River House in Crested Butte (he lived next door).

    After he was killed we were all together for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and the Rocking chair that he usually sat in started rocking like crazy. We knew it was Pimmy! Raised our glasses to him!!!!!!!!!

    On the way to the airport with Pokress and the others Pimmy saw me on my bike, stopped and we all said hello and chatted for awhile…I have always felt that if we had only talked for a bit longer the accident would not have happened.

    Here is a funny story:

    I often did Pimmy’s laundry and friends who knew us really well would kid me about our under pants hanging next to each other on the clothes line. Some CB nuts thought we were lovers….

    Lots more stories about my Dearest Friend..

    Ma Pat

  2. CC Dawson June 18th, 2013 4:30 pm

    Thanks Lou for posting.
    One day I will get to the hut!!
    Tap, Mom and I had lunch today and told “back in the day” stories about Pimmy and others. Amazing when you think of how many lives were touched in some way by that horrific event in 1980.
    Can’t say it any better than your poem.
    See ya on the flip side Pimmy!!!

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