Friday, May 8, 2009

In the beginning, there was Carlos

The beginning of our work on tropical glaciers, that is. Carlos Escobar was our guy in 1996 as we set out to begin climate research on Volcan Sajama in Bolivia. Not just to reach the summit at 6,542 m, not just to camp there for days, but to operate the world's highest-elevation satellite-linked automated weather station. Carlos made it happen and kept it fun, first on Sajama, then on Illimani... the consummate guide who became a friend to us all. And the help and friendship came not only from Carlos, but the whole Escobar family, especially brother Jose Mauro, wife Grissel, niece Monica, Mateo and his other children. International projects can't happen without people like Carlos, who solve the problems and make all the stress of high-elevation research worthwhile.

Today, Carlos passed away after struggling for months with brain cancer. Carlos, our Guía Internacional de Montaña, co-author, Everest summiter just 3 years ago this month, and buen amigo. Compounding the normal emotions is a terrible feeling of helplessness; for all Carlos and his family provided us, not being there to help in such a difficult time is painful...

To all the Escobars, know that all who worked with Carlos and your family are thinking of him, and you. Memories of him live on with each of us. Be strong, live strong...

Doug and the UMass crew

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