James Welton, R. I. P.
Posted by sibylle in Uncategorized, Eulogies, Idaho (Tuesday October 21, 2008 at 10:17 am)

James W.JPG

James Welton climbing at the City of Rocks, June 2008

Last June, Tristan and I were climbing next to three other climbers in Castle Rock State Park. We next wanted to climb the route they were on. One of the climbers, James Welton, asked if we wanted to top-rope the route, using their ropes.  All three climbers were very friendly and we teamed up with them to do another route around the corner.
That evening, they invited us to visit at their campsite and plied us with homemade pie and other delicacies. The next day, we climbed with Jim, James, and Tara again. Tristan wanted to climb difficult routes that my shoulder wasn’t ready for, and James Welton also wanted to climb harder routes, while Jim and Tara were happy on easier climbs and I needed to baby my shoulder’s injured supraspinatus tendon.

We had a great time climbing with the three of them, and hoped that we would meet up again, either at the City of Rocks or another area.

Sadly, we won’t have that opportunity. Today Jim Barnes sent an email that James Welton tragically died a few days ago in a climbing accident at Zion National Park. When I look at our climbing photos from last June, James looks like such a happy, vibrant, person. He seemed very competent and safe, and not one of the climbers where I thought, “He won’t last long.” He lead Wheat Thin at City of Rocks using only passive gear (stoppers and hexes) rather than cams, a sign of an experienced climber who knows how to place protection gear.

I’m always sad to lose climbing partners. I try to learn from their mistakes, and I do my best to enjoy the climbing partners that I still have.

5 comments for James Welton, R. I. P. »

  1. Sibylle,
    Thank you for sharing this story about James. I am a friend of his and was so pleased to read this. I climbed with James and he was indeed a great climber and friend. I shared this with Jamie, James’s girlfriend, who knows of you and would really like to get in contact with you. Could you please e-mail her or me.  Thanks again.
    -Stefanie

    Comment by Stefanie — October 21, 2008 @ 2:40 pm

  2. All - I am a friend of Sue Kennedy & Ken Hirst in Elko, NV. Am also friend & co-worker of James Welton - we are devastated by news of his accident. Does anyone have information regarding Sue & Ken’s climbing itinerary in Nepal? We are trying to reach them with details of the James’ funeral, etc. The US Consulate can help if we have a destination, guide name, etc. Call or E-mail (775-385-7215 or alb_web@hotmail.com). Thanks!

    Comment by Stephanie Alberts/WEber — October 23, 2008 @ 3:52 am

  3. Thanks, Stefanie, for writing. I’ve sent Jamie an email with my phone number.
    I’m afraid that I can’t help with the location of Sue or Ken, but if posting on my blog helps, I’m happy to post another story about James, stating that we’re looking for contact info.
    Let me know what more I can do to help.

    Comment by sibylle — October 23, 2008 @ 8:49 am

  4. WE FOUND SUE KENNEDY & KEN HIRST. Sue & Ken are now off Ama Dablam and on their way back to an airfield then Kathmandu and the USA, trying to make James’ memorial service in Salt Lake 11/01/08. If anyone has tips/advice regarding an expedited exit from Lukla and/or Kathmandu, please call or e-mail. Thank you to everyone who has offered advice and assistance. PLEASE PRAY FOR CLEAR FLYING WEATHER IN NEPAL. Steph in Elko NV (alb_web@hotmail.com or Cell 775-385-7215)

    Comment by Stephanie Alberts/Weber — October 25, 2008 @ 11:54 am

  5. Thank you so much for this information. I heard of James’s accident this weekend and was so terribly saddened. I met James in 2006. He took me on my first slot canyon trip which was incredible. His skills and care in guiding were absolutely amazing. He was a very kind person and we will all miss him in Dolores, Colorado!

    Comment by Jennifer Knight — November 3, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

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