Coffee with Kyle

I am sitting in a busy coffee shop in Truckee and just got done hiking one of my favorite trails in the area. The objective of the day, print out a picture of Kyle, get outside, snap a pic, and upload it to dropbox.

All the collected images will be shared at the Memorial Celebration for Kyle this weekend in Salt Lake City.

I can’t make the memorial, but I will be there in spirit. I intend to celebrate Kyle the way he would be proudest – by myself, in the mountains, and slaying a peak.

While I was in the coffee shop, I decided to re watch Kyle’s film The Road From Karakol. I haven’t watch it since news broke that he and his climbing partner Scott Adamson, had gone missing off the Choktoi Glacier, in Pakistan’s Karakoram range.

I smiled.img_2135-1

I cried.

I laughed.

I got sad.

The first time I saw The Road From Karakol was over three years ago, when he presented it to a group of us one day at Black Diamond. A 25-minute film that was the video diary of his two month solo, powdered by bike adventure, and with the goal to climb first ascents in Kyrgyztan.

To many that would be frightening.

You’d think he was this unapproachable guy that all he ever wanted to do was talk about climbing, how many followers he had on social media, and his countless accomplishments.

That wasn’t Kyle at all.

I had gotten to know him while I worked at Black Diamond and would frequently stop by his coffee shop Higher Ground, sometimes two or three times a day. He would be meticulous when making my signature drink, medium Americano, with a raw sugar, and a little bit of room. Always greeted me with a smile.

I got to know this humble, funny, intellectual, stoked on life, and charismatic individual.

Kyle was always up to have a conversation and he would be stoked to hear what was going on in my life.
We mostly would talk about business. Plans to expand the menu, a possible new location, the art of a pour over coffee, and how much he was in love with his girl and her infectious smile.

14435391_10154449275801605_6804370272710297766_oThe climbing, and Salt Lake City community has lost one of the most genuine and authentic spirits to ever walk this earth. Our industry is forever changed by amazing individuals, like Kyle.

In closing, below is a quote from Kyle in the final scene of The Road From Karakol.

“Real adventure is not polished. It’s not the result of some marketing budget. There’s no hashtag for it. It burns brightest on the map’s edges but it exists within all of us. It exists at the intersection of imagination and the ridiculous. You have to have faith. It will find you there. And when it does – remember there’s just one question: In this life – when the road comes to an end – will you keep pedaling?”

– Kyle Dempster

I am sure Kyle’s headphones are pumping out Pantera, constant 360 degree views of rad, and is watching over everyone with a huge smile.


See you at the trailhead.



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