It is with a heavy heart that I have to share this news; our friend, fellow climber, and Club Expedition Leader, Jim Donahue, has passed away. Jim passed away unexpectedly last Tuesday, the 19th of February, 2019. From my perspective and having known Jim the last 7 years, I’m terribly saddened and upset by this loss. Jim was a great mountain leader and friend. His style was unique, safe, and always oriented towards doing the right thing for the team.
He successfully co-led the SSMC Mt. Rainier Expedition in 2013 and led the equally successful 2015 Mt. Baker trip. He climbed in Ecuador in 2016. He’s been up and back all the gullies in Tuckermans and Huntingtons Ravine. He’s been a great conversation on every trail I’ve shared with him. I’ll never forget his awesome sense of humor. He’s been a mentor to me on decision making in the mountains, even up until recently. Jim was keenly aware of risk and a leader’s responsibility to account for it. I’m glad I shared just a small portion of Jim’s life with him, he’s an unforgettable guy.
Best wishes to all of you, and bam!
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.