JOSH SMITH CLIMBING HAFLIN PILLAR ( WI4– 5), DURANGO. FA: Unknown
Haflin Pillar is an ephemeral hidden gem, hanging from a sandstone lip two miles up a slippery trail through a recently burned hillside. It forms and falls without warning, so I’ve learned to take a confirmation stroll the day before I intend to climb it. On this day, I recruited the then- 17- yearold Tyler Gordon to introduce him to ice climbing and to belay while I photographed. Already a strong rock climber and a math whiz, he found the climbing enjoyable, but rather primitive. Smart kid! This was our last climb together, and I get misty- eyed recalling our fine day out: In 2015, Tyler died in a jumaring accident on the Nose of El Cap shortly after graduating from CU Boulder magna cum laude in applied math.