I never ever thought that I would climb a mountain in my life, especially after my car accident in 2006 where I suffered a nearly debilitating back injury. During the few years after the accident Liz still called me almost every weekend to see if I wanted to go on some other adventure. It was always difficult to say no because she didn't care if you would be the best or "sickest" most "gnar" person out there, she just wanted to be around people she loved.
As Liz came into the splitboarding/mountaineering world like a wrecking ball, I saw her less frequently and randomly between guiding trips. We didn't talk on the phone much so when we saw each other in person our conversations grew to be deeper and more adult like in nature.
In August of 2014 Liz was in town for a week or so before she left for her next adventure. She came over to my house for dinner. We talked about her sponsorship with Eddie Bauer. She was so stoked to be able to be working with them and receiving greater benefits. There was a female guide at Eddie Bauer who had two children which gave her inspiration to pursue her own dreams of having a career in the mountains as well has having a family. I remember telling her "just because your life does not look like everyone else's, doesn't mean it isn't right". Hell, I planned on sending my own future children off with her in the mountains to learn things I couldn't teach them.
Liz had some incredible pictures that inspired a lot of people. I had no desire to climb a mountain until I saw her pictures with that ear to ear smile. I told her that I wanted to climb a mountain and i told her "if I am going to do it, it would be with you!". Of course she wanted to go climb Mt. Baker the next day. With my injury and other regretful obligations I wanted to wait for next summer so I could strengthen my back. We agreed and I was stoked!
One month later she was gone. The world came crashing down for so many people. I regretted not spending that last weekend with her and at least going out to Mt. Baker to camp and hangout. This event for me was a catalyst for a lot of other crappy events that took place over the next few years. To be honest, I think working with the Liz Rocks Campaign is what kept my head above water during those times. The support we received was so incredible and inspiring that I think it helped a lot of other people too. Mt. Baker still lingered in the back of my mind. I still wanted to climb it. I had no idea how I would do that since Liz was literally the only person I knew that climbed mountains.
Luckily the American Alpine Institute donated a three day Baker Skills Climb to one of our Liz Rocks auctions. Liz guided with them for a few years and of course developed a deep bond with many people from the AAI. I bought this climb and convinced my Dad, Erin and Justin to join me. None of us had ever done anything like this before.
So on July 28th 2017, we set out for the AAI in Bellingham. We were all nervous and had no idea what to expect. Paul Rosser was our trusted guide. He is a senior guide for AAI and spent many trips with Liz. He shared stories of her during their trips. It was incredible to hear about her guiding adventures on Mt. Baker. We knew Liz from high school and never had the chance to experience this side of her world.
On the summit morning, through the darkness we saw a meteor flying through the sky. I have never seen anything like it. We could see the orange trails around it. It was huge! We watched it break off into two pieces before disappearing behind the mountain. It was incredible. I am pretty sure Lizzy was surfing that meteor and did a little drive by for us. Eventually we reached the summit. It was so awesome! We paid our tribute to our dear friend and headed back down. The entire experience was incredible and sort of surreal. Our team worked well together and we have created a special bond on this journey. Since we have come back down I can say that I feel different. I think I am more at peace than I have ever been. I can see why people love the mountains, why she loved the mountains, and those she shared them with. -Krystle Edwards
Check out our video below and stay tuned for the release of the Liz Rocks Foundation!