On January 26, Summit Sensations Mountaineering Club lost our dear friend and a longtime member Luis Pena. Luis passed away in Bariloche (Argentinean Patagonia) of natural causes while on an extended hiking trip.
Luis moved to the US in 1965 and was drafted into the Air Force and served in Vietnam from 1968-1969.
He worked in Boston at a shipyard and simultaneously at Harvard’s Peabody Museum where he translated texts for Mayan archaeologists research. He graduated from Suffolk in 1983 with a BA. He went on to become a technical writer working for GE, Polaroid, Eaton and eventually Siemens Medical Electronics, which were bought out by Drager Medical Systems just before he retired in 2005.
Luis was one of the original members of our club. In 2008 he co-led a trip to Mt Orizaba. He also participated in many other trips organized by the club. During trips Luis would often serve as interpreter. Without him the group would have been malnourished. In restaurants he would order food for everyone. He also would locate the best hotels at a reasonable price and would negotiate the best price for car rentals. His presence on a trip made it much more enjoyable, and made the logistics flawless.
Traveling the world was his passion. Luis was on Mt Aconcagua, Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt, Elbruz, Mt Orizaba, Mt Kuiten in Mongolia, and most of the mountains in the Cascades.
Luis was a superb human being. He was the most loyal, compassionate friend anyone could dream of having. I have never seen him lose his temper or say anything bad about anyone. He did not have an ounce of ego or jealousy in him. If only we had more Luis?s we would be living in a Utopian World.
In Mongolia while we were enjoying the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains from base camp we expressed our wish of leaving this Earth from such a mountaintop rather than in a city. I am happy to see his wish came true.
With his departure, Luis left a huge void in our lives. I believe (and also know from personal experience) that our material world is the gateway to an eternal one. The 6.5 billion of us living on this planet are going through an examination process that will determine whether we will continue our journey or retake the exam. I have no doubt Luis passed that exam with flying colors.