As Alison Osius climbs Colorado’s Mount Sopris and reflects on how weather, climate change, and fire has shaped the mountain, she remembers friends lost during their own mountain adventures. Read the essay at 5280.

The challenges Sopris posed made hiking it again even more attractive; it was something I wanted to stay strong enough to do each year. I had gained familiarity and connection with the mountain that had been the backdrop to my adult life. I had seen this peak every day, watched it in all its moods and beauty. Now I was an ever-closer observer, witnessing its transitions the same way it had stood over mine.

Now, experiencing the mountain up close, all day, brings sustained thoughts of Lathrop and of Hayden. The thoughts are sad but a solace, because I want to remember them.

All year, Sopris presides over my life, its distant faceted face staring down, immovable—on the walks that I take on dirt roads and trails around town and on my drives to office and market. But one day each year, I am the one looking down, and out, from a mountain that serves as a monument, bestowing a view of a range and a range of memories.

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