For endless climbers in Colorado and beyond, the final canicule of an already cutting year fell abundant with atheism and sadness.
On the day afterwards Christmas, Dariusz “Darek” Krol was backcountry skiing at Berthoud Pass aback he was dead in an avalanche. He was skiing abandoned while his wife, Anita, and daughter, Nina, waited for him in the car.
Darek was at the affection of our aggressive community, abutting with so abounding bodies in a way that fabricated them feel special. He not alone cared for his friends, he showed them he cared through his his encouragement, his overflowing activity and his able and balmy embrace.
He was tall, angular and able-bodied with dark, coiled beard and agrarian eyes. His acuteness was ashen by his about connected smile and apparent kindness. At 57 years old, he exuded the activity of addition 30 years younger. He stood alpine and straight, amateur aback — a aberration amid contrarily angled over climbers. Combined with the active animation in his step, it was accessible to atom him beyond a awash gym or at a active cliff.
For him, aggregate had an air of urgency, as if he never absolutely had abundant time. He talked fast, collection fast, absolved fast and anticipation fast. His quick wit would bolt bodies like me off bouncer — he was consistently a footfall ahead.
Before affective to Boulder in 1997, Darek accomplished French in Poland. He additionally helped actualize and adapt two Polish aggressive periodicals. Somehow, he additionally begin time to alpha one of the aboriginal aggressive gyms and adapt some of the country’s aboriginal aggressive competitions.
When he and his ancestors larboard Poland, Darek about batten English. In Boulder, he aboriginal formed as a window washer, again eventually accomplished himself computer programming. His English bigger rapidly, and while his emphasis remained able (and endearing), his cant baffled abounding built-in English speakers. He best afresh formed as an IT administrator at Boulder Valley School District.
Darek acquainted at home away and all over the U.S., yet Rifle Mountain Park is area he thrived. On summer and autumn weekends he would jump into his Saab and acceleration a few hours to Rifle from Boulder area he would climb, watch the stars and adhere out with his abounding accompany while consistently appearing to accomplish new ones.
He was an aristocratic climber who pushed himself and bedeviled over the minutia of action routes, the movement, the handholds and footholds. At Rifle, he would sometimes absorb months or alike assorted seasons perfecting a distinct climb. Aftermost autumn he was in the best appearance of his life, said his abutting friend, Ed McKeown. “At 56 years of age it was no baby accomplishment that he was still acrimonious off routes at the accomplished akin that he’s anytime climbed.”
His alacrity for analysis led him to every bend of the canyon, archetype accessible curve up clear walls in his mind. Over the years he accustomed added than fifteen routes at Rifle (plus added in Poland and on the Front Range).
At night, he would sit about the bivouac and point out constellations. For him, the night sky was about as important as the climbing. His concern collection him to abstraction things like astronomy, language, French balladry and accomplished red wine. In that way he was, as Anita would say, a “renaissance man.”
As admiral of the Rifle Climbers Coalition he agilely spearheaded advance projects and important accord with action makers. “The guy that he was for Rifle, actuality the abettor and the organizer and the communication amid the climbers and the burghal — that’s absolutely who he’s consistently been,” said McKeown, apropos to his absurd advance in the Krakow aggressive association in the 1990s and his adherence to Colorado aggressive over the aftermost 23 years.
But what absolutely set Darek afar was not aloof his intellect, his charisma, or his affection for aggressive and for learning. It was his ability of the simplest things, the best important things: kindness, beatitude and love.
Even in our grief, may his anamnesis nudge us against active added like he did.
Contact Chris Weidner at [email protected] Follow him on Instagram @christopherweidner and Twitter @cweidner8.
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