I hope I’ve managed to contact everyone who knew him personally and that this posting isn’t the first you hear of this.
Loz was involved in a fatal motor bike accident on Monday morning.
I just can’t believe he’s gone. It hurts like hell.
Although I’d done some bimbling about in the hills before I met Loz it was him that got me hooked on climbing and from there, more general mountaineering and hiking.
We met in the first year of the Computer Science course at COGS at Sussex University in 1997. We quickly became good friends despite the ten year age gap (I went late).
|He told me again and again during the first year about the fun to be had in the University Of Sussex Mountaineering Club. Eventually he persuaded me that climbing was worth a try, despite my fear of heights, and I was hooked.By the third year I was club President and Loz was Gear and Safety Officer. It was a good year for membership, the USMC was the third biggest club affiliated to the BMC.|
I learned so many things from him. I can still find my torch every time, in the corner of the tent, from the tip he gave me once. I still wake up with very little condensation on the foot end of the sleeping bag just because of the extra insulation that the waterproof jacket under my feet provides.
I also learned so much about how to look after people in the hills. We led many, many groups of students, young and not so young, in all kinds of conditions in all kinds of terrain. He had such a knack of knowing how everyone was doing. If anyone was flagging he’d see it. If someone was cold he’d notice first. And so often he could sort them out with nothing more than his infectious, endless enthusiasm. Just getting them moving faster raised their spirits and warmed them up.
We were planning next year’s trips already. Starting to block-out weekends away and dates for longer trips. He’s been travelling around the world for a year and only returned in early November so we had much walking to catch up on.
I’ll miss so many things. The phone call to open a bottle of red as he approaches Brighton for a surprise visit. The big silly grin and head-bob as we slog up something steep. The phone call to run a cunning plan past me. His blunt and vocal intolerance of arrogance or aggression no matter where or from whom. The exchanged grins and shout of “Out in the cack again eh?” that’s almost taken by the wind and rain as we push up something steep in a hooley.
I’ll never forget waking up to the smell of bacon and eggs cooking on an MSR a couple of feet from my head, with Loz still in his sleeping bag, propped up on one elbow. Or the way he gutted up a balancey, sixty foot gritstone climb later the same day that could only be protected with Friends, that we didn’t actually have in our rack. Simply seconding that one and trying to imagine what it was like leading it and finding absolutely no pro’ was hair-raising to say the least.
|Dan S found a something he wrote in the USMC Black Book around the year 2000: “A degree only gets you started, but the friends I have made I hope to keep forever“.We hoped to keep you forever too Loz.|
Without you I wouldn’t have been helping out at a USMC climbing-wall trip and would never have met LB. For that I owe you most of all.
We miss you Loz. Always will.