On route of life, Sue Nott touched many
VAIL – The gust of wind rolled through the amphitheater, blowing over a large smiling picture of Sue Nott while sister Karen Nott launched into a poem about those lost living on in death.The gust startled Karen Nott, who looked up from the podium where she eulogized her younger sister on Sunday.”Hi Sue,” she said, her voice shaking.The event at Ford Amphitheater celebrated the life of Vail resident Sue Nott, 36, rather than memorialize her death one week after a rescue attempt for the mountaineer and climbing partner Karen McNeill ended unsuccessfully on Alaska’s Mount Foraker.Nott and McNeill, 37, who lived in Alberta, Canada, left Foraker’s base camp May 12 and two days later began climbing the Infinite Spur route to the south summit of the mountain.The two experienced climbers said they would return to base camp within 10 to 14 days. On June 1, rescuers began searching for the two mountaineers. The rescuers gave up a week later after realizing the two couldn’t survive without fuel to melt snow into water. “I keep thinking she’ll call one of your cell phones and say she’s at Starbucks having a mocha,” Karen Nott said.
One by one, family and friends offered remarks on-stage, where a giant video screen – flanked by flowers and photos of the climber – displayed an image of Sue Nott slightly smiling below a white helmet.During adventures, Sue Nott shared a book about Rwanda with friend Zoe Hart, who in turn shared fashion magazines.”Sue balanced me, but brought me back to the present,” she said.On one climbing trip, a dubious Hart taped packets of energy goo to her ankles even after Sue Nott told her she had enough food to survive.”The truth is I didn’t know if I was as tough as Sue,” Hart said, later adding her smallish friend had the ability to make her feel small.Bundled in the small package resided great strength.”She was definitely stronger than I was,” friend John Varco said, adding he hoped people might remember Sue Nott in overcoming their own troubles. “Hopefully when the little things begin to bother you, you won’t sweat them.”
Ian Parnell traveled to Vail from England. On-stage, he recalled a time when the two were climbing a mountain and the normal route was blocked, forcing the two to climb a more difficult route.”Ah cool,” Parnell recalled Sue Nott saying. “Looks kind of fun to me.”Not so for Parnell.”This was the most intimidating thing you can think of,” Parnell said.While in her element, Sue Nott often carried candies she offered to others. The candies were just one reason she would be remembered, Pastor Tommy Schneider said.”Wow, what an outstanding life this woman lived,” Schneider said. “What a crazy adventurous life she lived.””She took this life she had and threw it in the pond, and it had ripples, huge ripples.”
The ripples symbolized Sue Nott’s impact on other people’s lives. If the nearly 1,000 people in attendance meant something, it was that she touched several lives.Many came from the climbing community, including Boulder resident and friend Bill Broidy. The “spectacular” event was a testament to Sue Nott’s greatness, he said following the ceremony.”She never let adversity get in her way,” Broidy said.A video montage followed the service. Music accompanied the images of white-capped mountain peaks where snow swirled above the clouds below. Photos – one in which Sue Nott gritted her teeth in exertion – showed these mountain peaks were where she challenged herself and spent her days.The montage also included family and friends paying tribute to Sue Nott in their own way, through stories of accidentally burning tea machines, getting “rockstar” hairdos or the kid within who skipped out during laundry days.If Sue Nott came to the celebration in a gust of wind as Karen Nott suggested, her sister’s stay was brief. Following the eulogy, the wind remained calm.
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