Editor’s Note: Claude Ratte, survivor of a 2,000′ fall while descending Denali’s West Buttress, recently sent this letter to Alpinist, hoping we could share it with our readers. A team of Denali mountaineering rangers saved him by successfully completing the longest raising operation in the mountain’s history (more information is available in the June 4, 2008 NewsWire).
June 30th, 2008
Dear Rangers and Friends,
Without doubt, due to your intervention, I am able to write this letter to you today… Without you, I wouldn’t be here now, in my garden, surrounded by my lovely wife and our new dog Solo. This family would not exist has it is today… Without you, I would not be around for my siblings, my friends or my work. The privilege of meeting honourable and courageous climbers, exceptional as you are would never have been possible.
Tuesday June 3rd 2008 will be for ever engraved in my memory, as the day, that from a solo progression, I ended in the core of the most wonderful team of men and women climbers that I’ve have never encountered before.
On this day, I pledge honour to each and every one of you, for your courage, your generosity and the nobility in your work. Without your presence this mountain would not be the same, it would not have a beating heart…
For Isabelle and me, our gratitude will be for ever lasting, in our hearts you will stay, as angels who gave us the liberty of enjoying our life for ever more…
May God watch and bless you. We will meet again.
With all my consideration and respect,
–Claude Ratte, Montreal, Quebec