Guy Lacelle was killed by an avalanche near Bozeman, MT on Dec 10, 2009. (see Climbing.com for details)
I first met Guy in 1994 (?) in Red Rocks. We climbed about the same level and shared a rope for a day at the Gallery clipping bolts. He was very unassuming and did not let on that he was a total bad ass in the world of ice climbing. But I knew who he was as his name was already in the mags.
When I think about a climber like Chris Sharma, I am blown away by his climbing ability. No one is born a great climber, you need to put the effort into developing good techniques, but you can have the best technique in the world and still not be able to climb the hardest routes. Unfortunately, in climbing, like in every “sport,” genetics helps. Although Guy and myself seemed to posses roughly the same natural ability, what separated us was his mental focus and confidence that allowed him to consistently solo several long WI6 routes in less than a day. In many ways, Guy ability to overcome the mental barriers of climbing challenging routes was more inspiring than Sharma raw power (not that I have any desire to solo WI 6 anytime soon).
When I saw him this fall, again in Red Rocks, I was guiding for NOLS and had a group of four students with me at Moderate Mecca, a cliff that usually no one goes to (the reason I was there). Anyway, about 15 people from some type of local Vegas meet up group showed up and epic’ed trying to lead the easiest (5.8) sport route. Guy wasn’t phased by the crowd of gumbies. He was just psyched to climb.
We talked briefly about China, as we had both spent time in Western Sichuan. We traded stories about one of the local guides there named Lion. Lion was one of those fast talking, had to have the latest equipment, knew all of climbing’s cool people, yet didn’t really like to climb that much sort of guy. In classic Guy style, of never saying anything bad about someone, his only hint at judgement was when he said, “Ya, Lion was a little over the top”
Guy had his 15 y/o dog with him. When I asked him his dogs name, Guy said, “doesn’t really matter he/she can’t really hear anymore, but a nice pat goes along ways.”
What an amazing man, so sad.