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In Memory of Mike Neu (the Rock)


Joseph Crotty · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Nov 2002 · Points: 1,213

Any chance someone can move this thread over to the Forum->General->Memorial for easier finding?

BTW, RIP Michael - this was clearly a man I could relate to personally, but never meet.

EdAsh · · CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 5

Hey Joseph,
I gladly move the forum to where you suggest, but I don't know how to do it. Could someone kindly give me a tip on how to do this.

thanks, ed

EdAsh · · CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 5

Dear friends and family of Mike Neu,

I too was totally shocked and blown away when Kathy contacted me. It's been at least week or two and I still trying to deal with it...

I was lucky enough to climb with Mike nearly every day for months on end. Mike was working a grave yard shift, and would meet me at the "meeting place" around 8:30am or so. We would then jet off to some crag to climb until 2:30Pm so Mike could be home with kids when they got home from school at 3 Pm.

Sometimes I was late, and Mike would be asleep in the car waiting for me!

Mike was the "Gold Standard" of friends (and of climbing partners).
We dispensed with all 'climbing jargon like "off belay", etc' because we instinctively knew what the other was up to.

I was always amazed that whatever esoteric subject was on my mind, Mike was already well read on it and had interesting, thoughtful and non-judgmental insights into it.

Mike was there for me in a tough time in my life. To say I will miss him, is like saying I will miss me - he is and will be a part of me.

Godfried · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 45

Cold weather climbing in the flatirons

Rock enjoying the cold.

matt fetbrod · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 125

I'll let a few photos speak for me...

Kathy- I've got a whole load of photos for you. I'll call you tomorrow.

At Avalon

Vanishing Point

August 2001, Age Axe on the Spearhead, RMNP.

Godfried · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 45

Wow, Matt. Great shots. I'm surprised by the Spearhead shot. Rock hated long approaches. The only time I ever heard him grumble was on the hike out from Spearhead. I figured he'd never go back.

matt fetbrod · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 125

In July of 2000, Rock and I got up into the Park to climb the "Flying Buttress" on Mt Meeker. We had a brilliant day up there. (Sadly, this was the day that Cameron Tague was killed on Longs just across the cirque.) That year and the next, Rock was strong and motivated. In June of 2001 we climbed Kieners on Longs, but didn't have such good luck on Age Axe (Spearhead) or on Birds of Fire (Chiefshead). I think that those were the last of the long approaches and Alpine climbs.
Rock said that he could see the Diamond from his bedroom window. He'd recall his fears and failed attempts up there and joke about how the Diamond itself would mock and jeer him every morning. However, I think he was over it at that point, much preferring a shorter, kinder day in Eldo and the certainty of seeing his family at the end of the day.

Chasm View, June 2001.

Godfried · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 45

Matt, those Rock smiles are tearing me apart. He was a little more serious when I climbed with him, the smiles were there but maybe not as full. It was before he had kids. He is so obviously relaxed and comfortable and in his element in your pictures. Wonderful. We often discussed the Diamond, and at that time our conclusion was that we didn't necessarily want to climb it, but we did want to have climbed it.

mikeneu · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 0

The smiles you captured are the greatest!! Even Tylar was saying how wonderfully happy he looked when climbing vs getting a picture taken at a restaurant or something.

I can't thank you both enough for posting the pics and for the stories that everyone has contributed. It is helping me to recall the man that I married and enjoyed the rocks and climbing so much....

Thanks to all of you,
Kathy

matt fetbrod · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 125

Ed, thanks for getting this all started-
some more...

A pretty bold, dirty, old school style route...Rock was so comfortable on that kind of terain.

On "A Twigs Lament" at Triangle Rock, Lumpy Ridge, May 2001

Rock was NOT psyched to be wearing this ancient helmet...He'd kick my ass for posting this one.
On Kieners, June 2001

It must have been REALLY hot... Rock just loved the Creek. Like the rest of us, he always got humiliated down there, and always wanted more. But, put him on a "wide hands" crack and... forget about it.
Indian Creek , May, 2001

EdAsh · · CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 5

Matt and Godfried, You hit it...
Mikes smile and laugh is what I'll remember more than anything else !!! (and there are a zillion memories I have of Mike.)

matt fetbrod · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 125

Rock and I used to take trips to Shelf Road now and again. We happened to be down there on 9/11/2001.
It was always most efficient to leave Longmont around 5AM. That way we'd miss the traffic in Denver and in the Springs. That morning we'd gotten to Canon City so quickly that we decided to treat ourselves to a breakfast at a local diner. Just about to commit ourselves to the wilds of "Sand Gulch", and while we were finishing the last of our hotcakes, our gravelly voiced, sixty something waitress casually announced "two planes just hit the Twin Towers, and the Pentagon's on fire." We looked at each other. WTF?
At that time my Dad worked on the thirtieth floor of the World Trade Center. I scrambled to find a phone to call home. No luck at all. the lines were jammed up everywhere. Rock sat with me for a few hours that morning as I wondered about my Dad. We listened to the tales of horror on the radio and finally decided the only thing we could do was try to touch some stone, climb, get peaceful doing our thing. We weren't at the crag for more than a half hour before we both felt horrible. People on fire were jumping out of windows 1000' above the Earth, and we were climbing on rocks for fun!? Where was my Dad?
Rock patiently packed up our stuff and drove me back to town later that afternoon. We discovered that my Dad had been "late to work" and was fine. After a little family time on the phone, we agreed that again, there was nothing to do but try to continue with our weekend. Rock, once again, quietly drove us back to Shelf. We set up camp, ate a warm dinner and settled into a night like none other. The sky was a stillness that neither of us had ever seen before. No planes flew that night. We watched the stars, felt the eerieness and both contemplated the past and the future. With no radio and no TV we had only our imagination to see the suffering and the chaos of that day.
Re-entry was jarring a couple of days later as we realized people had been having a very different time working through the emotions of the day. We had a singular experience that evening, if simply by way of exclusion. Rock was the best friend anyone could have been with. He was steady, quiet, patient, and insightful. As I look back I'm grateful for his company and proud to have shared that certain bond with him.

EdAsh · · CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 5

Matt, Mike often told me of your and his exploits together. (Of course it was in Mike's laid back style... he only told me 'cause I pestered him)

matt fetbrod · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 125

Right Ed. Rock was so modest that he didn't think we wanted to hear his stories. You had to drag 'em out of him. When you did...whoa! There were some good ones!

Godfried · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 45
Old school; etriers, pins, and a hammer.
Rock had recently rediscovered a box of old aid gear. Early 80s nailing a route that probably went free at the time.

a favorite book
EdAsh · · CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 5

The photos of Rock are wonderful! Neither Mike or I ever took a camera when we climbed(I wished we had).

Matt mentioned that Mike always had his back. He had mine too.

I remember one time when when we were doing this multi-rapell that was difficult -- very diagonal. Rock went first, and I followed. After many raps Mike was tied in to some gear on a huge(3') sloping ledge. I looked at him to ask him if I should bother anchoring in, and he silently looked me to say, yes, anchor your butt in. While we we setting up for the next rap, I popped off. If I hadn't anchored I would have gone for a 200' or so free fall instead of a footer. The Rock saved my A.. (a bunch of times)

Godfried · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 45

On the subject of how careful Rock was about safety, let me add a missing piece. When I first met him Rock was only just starting to climb again after a serious accident. Yarding on a stuck rappel rope pulled down a large rock. Rock's partner was able to step aside, he had to bail from a ledge 20ft off the deck and broke both his feet. The only thing he said about the event was how humiliating it felt having to be rescued and that he never wanted to experience that again.

matt fetbrod · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 125
mikeneu · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 0

I was thinking of having the celebration memorial for my husband in mid May. I would like to have feedback regarding schedules. Could the memorial be on Friday May 14th or do we need it to be on a sat or sun like the 15th or 16th?

Let me know as I would like to accommodate as many as possible.

Thank you
Kathy

EdAsh · · CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 5

Kathy pick a date that works for the family. Mike's climbing friends will be there no matter what date you pick!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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