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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    the sausage factory

    Remembering Chad Vander Ham

    This is a tribute to another fallen friend. Aspirant guide Chad Vander Ham from Breckenridge, Col was killed monday while skiing the Polichinelle couloir in La Grave, France. News and reports from the accident can be found in the Coombs threads here on the forums.

    Chad first came to La Grave as a client of Coombs' steep skiing camps and never really left. Inspired by the master he went on to become a mountain guide himself, he was just one exam short of snatching his UIAGM guide badge.

    Chad had spent a handful of winters in La Grave and will be truly missed by all his skiing buddies and other friends in the village. Always smiling, always humble, always looking for new lines to ski, untracked powder to rip and harder climbs. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

    RIP buddy, ski some pow for us in heavin will ya!

    There will be a memorial service for Chad and Doug tomorrow afternoon at the top station of the gondola in La Grave, followed by a pot luck at Hotel la Chaumine in the evening.

    I like big bikes and I cannot lie. You other brothers can't deny

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    My sincerest condolences.

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Author's Note: I initially had this under the "Doug Coombs Rumored..." thread, but out of respect for Chad, I have placed it under this thread created for him as well. Thanks for your understanding.

    I found this forum while looking for more facts about Chad Van Derham and Doug Coomb's deaths, and I thought that I would share a few words and pictures on Chad.

    A long-time acquaintance of Chad, we solidified our friendship last September on an excursion into the Rockies with one of his closest friends from college (a close hometown friend of mine). Chad, an only child originally from Minnesota, was a straight-shooter and a very intelligent fellow, a very good guy. He was always up for an informed discussion on whatever the topic, even if ended with us being at odds on the subject. He was the best I ever skied with, and one of the safest climbing partners I'd ever had the pleasure to scramble with and had a determined hunger to expand his already solid guiding abilities. During traverses, he had me on belay when there was any exposure to falling in the least bit, even if it was the simplest series of horizontal steps. I had complete confidence in his technical and guiding abilities, and oftentimes during the trip commented on what a privilege it was to be in the company of such fine qualified fellows and have them looking after my own tail end.

    While Chad (and Doug's) death is tragic and I wish it never happened, he passed doing what he loved the most at a place that he considered his second home, La Grave, a location he had been frequenting for years - he was no neophyte in the ways of the mountain.

    Rest in peace, Chad, it was an honor to have spent time with you while you where on this earth. You, your family, and your closest of friends are in my thoughts and prayers.

    "Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right...."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    La Grave is a singularly unforgiving place. Chad and Doug were playing a simple game of probability and paid a terrible price. One visit to the graveyard there shows record of many men like them who died young doing what they loved. We put ourselves in harm's way time and again and think we have the skills to deal with the consequences. When men of greater skill such as Chad and Doug are taken by the mountain, it forces some moments of quiet contemplation.

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