“Simon and Simon” was how we registered in the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon in July 2006. A friend had dropped out and Simon Trigger (right) stepped in at the last moment.
We were then new members of Westerlands Hill Running Club. It didn’t seem to matter to him that he was a far, far better runner than I’ll ever be. The racehorse didn’t appear to mind coaxing the carthorse over the Lakeland fells. Or if he did, he didn’t show it.
Somehow in his ultra-light, stripped to the essentials mountain marathon kit, he’d managed to pack a radio so he could listen to the football at the overnight camp. He drew quite a crowd of fellow enthusiasts.
Shortly afterwards, injury forced me to withdraw from hill running and I left the club, so I hadn’t seen Simon for ages.
Now comes the awful news. After two days trapped in a snow hole near Dome du Gouter on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, Simon died. I know no more than what I’ve read in the newspaper and the moving comments on the Westies’ website.
According to reports, Simon and his climbing partner left the Gonella refuge, but hampered by high winds they had to dig in. They spoke to the rescue services by mobile phone, and the chopper located them at 13,000ft but couldn’t land. A rescue team on foot was repelled by the conditions. The next day, the chopper spotted Simon’s partner heading down cold but unhurt. Five hours later Simon was found in the snowhole, on Thursday 11th September.
I wholeheartedly agree with the statement on the Westie’s site which reads: “Simon was a rare and unique character. He never had a bad word to say against anyone, and seemed on a mission to spread positive energy into the world, and get the most possible out of his life”.
I can’t add to that. Except to say a final “thanks” to Simon for a great weekend in the hills.