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Thoughts on Losing Liz Daley, One Year Later
Posted on September 29, 2015

Liz Daley in 2014 on her Mt. Baker home turf

One year ago today, the world lost Liz Daley. Liz joined the Eddie Bauer guide and athlete team in the summer of 2014, before a tragic accident on an expedition to Argentina claimed her life on September 29, 2014. Though her time with our program was brief, it was impactful and full of promise. Not only was Liz seen as a hard-charging Cascadian snowboarder, but she was climbing through the ranks towards becoming a certified guide. Her smile, positive outlook and desire to push herself in the mountains were welcomed with open arms by her new teammates, and many adventures were already planned. I miss and think about Liz every single day, and try to bring some of her finest attributes and dance moves into everyday life. To honor her memory on this tough day, we asked her friend and teammate Drew Tabke to write a few words about her spirit and legacy.

-Caley George, Eddie Bauer Guide and Athlete Team Manager

Chris Coulter, Liz Daley, Fitzroy, Patagonia

Words By Drew Tabke, Video by Nick Kalisz and Davide de Masi

Argentina Images by Chris Figenshau; Mt Baker Images by Scott Rinckenberger

One year ago, Elizabeth Devon Daley passed away during an expedition near El Chaltén, Argentina. I was there with her. Those of us who knew Liz have had all year to think about the loss. “Do you think about her a lot?” some people ask me. Of course. All the time. But terms like “a lot” or “all the time” or “every day” don’t really explain it. I think of losing her sort of like someone who has lost a limb or a substantial physical part of his or her own body might feel. Liz was a part of me, and now she is gone. And despite rational thought that tells me I won’t see her again, part of me still physically feels her presence, and I’m unable to turn off the part of my brain that wants to text her to tell jokes and make climbing plans. It’s maddening. But I hope with all my heart that this feeling doesn’t go away. It’s painful. But it’s vivid and real and urgent, and I treasure all my memories of her, whether they bring anguish or joy.

 

Yes, I am a professional skier, and yes, Liz was following a similar career path (with the added professionalism of guiding). But skiing and mountain life is, for me—and I daresay was for Liz as well—just a vessel that carries me to what I’m really after: amazing experiences shared with like-minded people. Skiing is the bread, but how boring would it be without the peanut butter and honey? Liz Daley was the sweetest damn thing you could put on the bread of an active lifestyle, and I’m certain that the entire planet is significantly less fun without her. No one I’ve ever met was more hilarious, accepting, and disarmingly funny than Liz. For as much time as we spent climbing, skiing and dealing with the generally serious business of moving about in the mountains, just as much was spent chatting, telling dirty jokes, taking silly pictures, and dancing to music blaring out of a portable speaker. We could have probably stood on a lot more summits together if we’d have shut up and focused on objective goals. But then what would have been the point?

Fitzroy, Patagonia

Liz’s physical body is gone, but her legacy and her spirit endure, enveloping those of us she touched in a warm glow. History will sing her praises. I knew her far too well to be unbiased, but I do think an objective view of her life would impress even the most passive observer. Tough upbringing, minimal resources, unbreakable work ethic, rock-solid moral compass, wicked sense of humor and a heart of gold. Truth.

By losing someone close to us, we are all reminded that our time will come too, one day, and history will in turn look upon us with its indifferent eye. Which is why I so love the “Live Like Liz” moniker. Not only does it remind us to have fun and lead an adventurous and outgoing lifestyle. It also informs us that our life’s reach is far greater than ourselves, that everything we do touches those around us, and each and every day we author our own legacy through word and action. In the last years of her life, Liz dedicated her time to snowboarding, climbing and guiding. But those things were simply the medium in which Liz worked to accomplish her real job. What she was actually doing was improving the lives of those around her through compassion, love and positivity. And having fun while doing it.

Tabke and Daley on Mt. Baker in 2014

To learn more about the spirit of Live Like Liz, check out the movement’s Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: - Tuesday, September 29th, 2015
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