Skolai Pass Tribute

Mt. Bona, Russell Glacier, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

Thanks so much for all the comments and emails I have had from readers so far, it’s great. I’ll try to keep up and be better about posting images, new and old and writing something about what’s going on. It tickles me that people out there are interested, thank you.

On another note, I would like to write this post in salute to Mr Paul Schoch, from Wisonsin, whom I never met, but wished I had. Mr Schoch went missing in Skolai Pass this fall, in mid-September. I won’t offer details here, other than point to a newspaper story for those of you who aren’t familiar with what happened. Mr Schoch’s tent was spotted, by my father, as we flew over the area looking for him, after Paul hadn’t shown back up at the landing strip for his scheduled pickup.

Newspaper Story

It saddens me that someone came to an unfortunate end in a place I love so much, and to which I return, often more than once, every year. Skolai Pass is possibly my favorite place anywhere. I was so excited to take my parents to this place, and show them a place I hold so deep. At the same time the reality of the wilderness was made perhaps no more evident than by Mr Schoch’s disappearance. It IS wild, rugged and remote country, and from what I’ve read, Paul seems to have valued those kinds of places as I do. In some weird and almost unspeakable way, I think I’d rather come to rest in a place like that than somewhere else.

It serves little purpose for me to speculate as to what may or may not have happened. What’s important is that his family and friends find some solace knowing their husband, father, or friend, died in a beautifully wild and truly awesome place. I wish them all my most sincere condolences and most heartfelt sympathies. Their grief, I’m sure, is in some way an important part of his death (as grief always is) and also a reflection of his life. To his memory, and to all those who knew and loved him, my deepest regards.



PS – This photo is of the Russell Glacier, and Mt. Bona, a 16 421 foot high peak, on the south side of Skolai Pass, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

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