Welcome to slab climbing. My friend Halber on his route, Motoman,5.11c.
Climbing artificial holds on steep granite.
Me on a sand bag 5.11
One of my last shot taken on my D300 before it was gone.
It was a bright morning as the sun warmed up the air burning the thick blanket of fog that hung over the lakes. El Peñol is standing in the perfect light. I really wanted to climb another route, but it was time to hit the road back to Bogota. My friend Mikey was arriving tomorrow for a couple months of climbing.
Uncertain of what highway would be open. Thinking that last night’s heavy rain could have caused problems on the road, the plan was for an early start.
La Niña has hit Colombia this winter with extremely heavy rains, major landslides and collapsed bridges shut down many roads throughout the country.
We locked up our nice little house and made our way along the scenic twisty road back to Rio Negro to bring the house keys back to our friend Andrés (Thank you Andrés!)
While trying to find our way to the center part of Rio Negro, a lack of signs got us lost, making detours. Frustrated as we were wasting time riding around trying to find our way. Finally we found our friend’s house, left the keys and started to make our way east under the warm sun, leading to a day that I will never forget…
The sun keeps us warm as we ride along a nice scenic highway , 100 kms towards the Magdalena Valley.
It’s noon, perfect, as I look at the time. We see a sign - 200kms Bogota – Great! We’ll get there before sunset. Our plan was to take another road from the Magdalena River. (The biggest and most important river of Colombia).
Cross over to Chiquinquirá, which would eventually take us near our home in Suesca, thus avoiding going through the city of Bogota – congested with heavy traffic and thick exhaust fumes to choke you to death.
At the junction, Bogota – Cartagena – Medellin - we rode north some 15kms to where we thought the turn-off was. As we approached the intersection, we asked a couple of locals about the state of the road. They all said that there was a huge chunk of the road that is unpaved and that it would take us about 5 hours just to reach the town before Chiquinquirá. We were quite confused because when we had checked the road in Google Maps, it looked as if it was a big, main highway; it didn’t make sense now that it was just a dirt road in some parts as the locals claimed. However, we were not willing to risk wasting any more time going through bad roads; so we made a quick decision and went back on our tracks to get back on the road to Bogota that passes through Honda and then we would have to make a ( not sure how long)detour to Gambao, because the road between Honda and Caldas was closed. Part of the highway was missing because of a landslide last month.
In the meantime, something seemed to be wrong with the bike. It was as if my DR had eaten something really bad and had a chronic case of indigestion, for once in a while she would start farting loudly (backfires) and I had to reduce my speed. At some point, I even stopped to change a spark plug; but she kept farting up backfires. Even the military boys along the road were scared when I downshifted gears approaching checkpoints.
We found a perfect pullout to take a break, drink some water, take a P and cool down the bike. 15 minutes later, we got back on the road for another 60 kms before stopping at a Mobil gas station to fuel up.
That’s were everything went wrong…
It was hot and I was thirsty, so I walked over the mini store to get a cold drink. From then on, my memory is blank as to what exactly happened. I’m not even sure if I recall taking off my camera bag from around my neck and placing it on the counter while the lady was getting me a coca cola from the cooler. I noticed there were smaller bottles so I asked her to change it for a smaller one. Bianca was at the pump waiting for the guy to finish fueling up. The lady hands me the bottle of Coca Cola, as I walked over to get money from Bianca, she wanted to get water, so she then walked over the counter to buy water and pay my drink. Meanwhile, I’m chatting with the pump guy who just finished fueling my bike. Bianca comes back with her water while I checked the oil. “ I need oil “ I said, so I grabbed a litter off the rack, and added the oil. The pump dude is gone, so I chase him around to pay the oil. The heat of the day makes sweat run down our backs. “Let’s get the hell out of here” I say. We jumped back in the saddle, and not even 300 meters on the highway, I realized I’m missing my camera bag. I just know it. I‘ve been riding 3 years with my camera around my neck, instantly I feel it. But this time I didn’t… As I screamed out loud “ My fuck’n camera” where is my camera? I turn around without even looking if a car was coming the other way, just an instant reaction. I race back to the gas station. We take a quick look around, nothing… adrenaline is rushing through my body. I don’t know what to think, I feel a dark hole, blank, where is it?! Where did I leave it?! Did I leave it where I took a piss??? Some 60 kms north?!
So we raced back north, Bianca gripping on tight as panic and stress rule my body, the engine is running at its max… I run my bike nearly in the red line, I don’t give a shit, I just go as fast as I can. Then DR decides to backfire and the engine dies. I’m going a little crazy, I just lost my $4000 camera, plus my bike is fucking up. We stop on the side of the highway after my bike stalls. I’m frustrated like a motherfucker, I throw my helmet to the ground, Bianca is also freaking out because I’m freaking out. She hands me back my helmet with a now broken visor. We get back on the road and my the visor catches in the wind so I ripped it off, swearing with all my lungs… “FAWK!!!”
I’m in a panic attack mode. If my bike could do 200, I would have ridden it at 220…
We get to the spot we had stopped for a piss. A taxi had just entered the gate that led to a finca down a dirt road. “I screamed at the taxi to stop, Bianca runs over to talk to a couple of guys in the car. “Look inside the fuck’n car! Everywhere” I yelled out loud.
The guys offered her to look everywhere, - Nothing – We jump back on the bike. The fuck’n thing continues to run like shit. I’m in no mood for a fucked up bike. I kept swearing all the way back to the gas station. “It’s there, at the station, we’ll find it! “ Bianca says, as she tries to calm me down. No sweet words work, I just can’t calm down. We finally arrive at the Mobil station. The same people sitting around looked at us stunned. We asked around if anyone had seen a grey bag. They looked puzzled, or someone just knew they had just scored a 3 years salary! I looked behind the counter, and still no one says anything. Wherever I had left my bag, it was gone in a flash. Did I leave it on the counter while getting my Coca Cola? But Bianca went to get water and she never saw it then at the counter. Did it disappear between the time I walked to her to get money and she walked to get her water?
It’s all a big mystery. My camera never re- appeared. I knew that someone had seen it, one of the guys sitting on his ass in the shade, the same guys had been there all the time from when we fueled until now. Also the same handicapped girl who couldn’t speak and was begging me for my Coca Cola, was it her? Did she grab it while I turned my back around to get cash from Bianca? . I was ready to punch every fuck’n local looking at me.
My questions will never be answered. It’s just,… GONE
We got back on the bike and rode on towards Bogota. My mind was blank. I had just lost the most valuable piece of equipment I own. It felt as if my career was over. I had no more camera to record my travel memories and do my work. I didn’t know what to think. As we rode on south, my bike was getting worse and worse, making me more and more frustrated. I was ready to throw it on the side of the road and walk. Going too crazy to even cry about my camera. I took all my aggression out on my poor bike. Punching the gas tank as it ran like shit.
We arrived at a checkpoint were the road split to Honda – Bogota and towards Gamboa. We asked the police officer which way to go and he just pointed down the road. So off we went on… It was now getting late, 4pm. We started to head up over the mountain pass. Bogota is surrounded by high Andes Mountains, daylight was short and we didn’t know how much longer to Bogota.
Eventually a sign appears, “ Bogota – 91 kms! “ I’m tired, stressed, my shoulders are stiff as hell, form all the tension, it’s starting to get cold and my bike is still acting up.
90 kms on this road meant nearly 3 hours. As we rode up the twisty curves with the most incredible scenery over the Magdalena river.
The sun was setting low; it was a picture perfect landscape. As we climbed elevation the air got damp and colder. I was in no picture mind state to stop. We kept our fingers crossed not to get caught in deep fog or heavy rain as we kept gaining elevation above 3500 meter.
Eventually we see another sign. - Bogota – 40 km.
As we start making our way down the mountains and could see the city lights. It’s now 7pm as we approach the city, busses and trucks are flying by me. No more helmet visor, I can’t see shit. My eyes are burning from all the exhaust fumes. I make a quick pullout nearly killing another motorcyclist in process. We stopped to eat an overpriced shity burger & fries. I needed some time to calm down.
Now we needed to think if we wanted to stay in Bogota to pick up my friend Mike the next morning or drive to our home in Suesca. - 40 kms away.
We were beat, we couldn’t think. Our brains were toast from our long day. We had been riding since 8am, 11 hours in the saddle. We had enough, so we rode towards the airport hoping to find an affordable accommodation for the night. As we got closer to the airport, I noticed a 5 stars * Motel El Dorado “ we stopped to check it out, turned out to be a per/hour love motel.
A man walked towards us wearing a nice suite a bow tie.
Bianca asked how much was a room for the night. The guy looked at us surprised with a grin on his face. “ Todo Noche!” all night?…
All we could think about was hot shower and bed. The guy had no Idea what kind of day we just went threw. His mind was somewhere else in his love motel.
I rolled my bike in our private garage. Then we took turns at using as much hot water possible to clean off the black grim off our faces.
Completely drained. I couldn’t stop thinking about my dam camera. Where was it? Is someone nice going to email me and say they found it?
Is someone playing with it as I think about it - Looking threw the 50 so killer photos of El Peñol on my memory card?
Did I leave it where I took a piss? Was it on the counter where I bought my drink? Did the handicap girl who couldn’t speak and made gestures at me to give her my cold drink took it?
Thoughts kept occupying my mind.
I needed rest. I also needed to let go my thoughts about my camera.
It was gone. We were now 250 km from where I had left it.
Tomorrow my friend Mike is coming. Without a camera, the only thing left to do is climb…
After a bad night sleep from camera nightmares, we were up early. Mike had told us he was arriving at 10:30 am. It was only 9 but needed to check out from this Love shack.
We packed the bike and headed towards the airport to see if we could find a place to drink a decent coffee, not that Colombian Nescafe crap that people love to drink.
“ It’s faster to make”, a man once told me. I also needed to go to the DIAN office to extend my temporary bike permit. It turned out the DIAN office was near the airport and there also was a Dunkin Donut in the same building.
Bianca waited at the Donut place while I went to see about my papers.
I was sent five times to different people, from one desk to another and another. When finally getting to the last guy, he told me to go make photocopies and come back. I wasn’t in the mood for running around, my stomach was growling, I was still tired from yesterday so I went back to see Bianca. “What??” she asked as I walked in all pissy, “well, not much help, they made me go around the building from one person to the other, so fuck this “ I said. I’m not in the mood to deal with stupid official paperwork bullshit.
It was now 10:30. We rode to the airport to see if Mike’s plane had arrive. There was nothing coming in from the USA, it was now 11:30, we decided to go back to Dunkin Donuts to see if we could get WIFI internet to check Mike’s schedule. I had a feeling he was arriving at 1pm, but 2 days before when I last spoke with him, he had told me 10:30 am.
I checked my email and there it was, 1:03 pm arrival time! I knew it.
He had given me his departure time form Miami. - Bastard!
Now what? It’s early. Might as well deal with the bike stuff.
We went back to DIAN to fill in the million forms and get my photocopies. Back at the office, a man takes my papers and tells me it all will be sent to the office downtown, and to come back to pick them up on Monday.
Great! Another city trip… After all, they made me run around to five different agents just to tell me this! – Monday!
With more time to kill, I remembered a mechanic shop not far from the airport I had been to in 2009 when I arrived in Colombia from Panama.
The lady recognized me right away. I was impressed, 2 years later. She remembered my bike full of stickers. I chatted with her about my trip while I waited to get a new visor for my helmet.
We had killed plenty of time and now it was 1 pm. Let’s go get Mike so we can get out of this city and go home.
I met Mike in 2004 on a climbing trip in El Potrero Chico Mexico.
One morning, my friend Jamie and I were sitting outside in the sun at one of the campgrounds, drinking Mate .
Mike walks over with his long dreads, the perfect *hippy / climber * look. “Who‘s this dude” my friend Jamie says.
He sits down with us.
Introduces himself, “I’m Michael, but you just call me Mike, or even better, here in Mexico – Miquel. OK”
He looks at my Mate bowl.
“What the Fuck are you drinking amigo?”
“ Yerba Mate” try it! … “hen hen, not for me man”
the only Yerba I do is smoke it!” hahahahaha
Everyone laughs as the climbing conversation continued.
Mike has a funny sense of humor and loves to be part of the conversation.
He came to Mexico, alone to climb several months. He interrupts in the conversation when someone mentions multi - pitch.
“Ya man.” Big walls, getting high, it’s what its all about man.
El cap is the shit! “
He’d been around the climbing community for years, living in Yosemite base camp summer after summer climbing big walls.
As he continued mumbling about big wall climbing, we were ready to go climbing ourselves. –“ Let’s go climbing” I said.
Mike had no partner, so he asked if he could join us.
Walking towards the canyon, a beat up stray dog starts to follow us.
“ If I had my 22 shot gun, I’de shoot the poor fucker out of his misery” Mike says. Jamie and I looked at each other.
“Haaa, Just kidding man” Mike loved dogs…
Meanwhile we’re thinking what kind of crazy fucker are we going to climb with.
Mike goes on about his guns back home.
Eventually, the subject changed to climbing.
My friend Jamie and I moved in at Homero’s palapa. A nice little wood home I’de stayed in several years back. It was the perfect set up.
Mike moved his tent next to our little home and became climbing partners. I would yell out every morning, “Mr. Toki! Coffee is ready.”
Morning coffee and safety meeting about the climbing plans was our ritual.
We spent 2 months climbing in El Potrero Chico. Jamie, Mike and I had become a good climbing team. Everyday we had a new project.
On a cold day sipping coffee in the Palapa, a conversation about Thailand started. Jamie and I had met in Thailand the previous year.
Going off about the good food, amazing climbing over warm ocean, bikinis, cheap living, just a pure paradise of a place.
“ I’m going to Thailand! Sounds way too good.” As Mike gets himself excited.
Ya man, you should go! You’ll love it”, I told him. “I might be going too, I love it there!”
A couple months later, I ended up going toThailand myself for a few months of paradise tropic climbing. One day sitting at a restaurant at the beach. I noticed a long tail boat coming to shore. Standing in front, a long dread hippy dude in bright green Patagonia shorts. It was Mike. I couldn’t believe it. He was wearing the same shorts I’d given him in Potrero.
“ Ohly Fuck!” As I walk towards the boat. “Mike! What the fuck are you doing here!” I said.
“Al! Ohly shit man, what are you doing here?” –“
“Same as you I guess, climbing.”
“I told you I was coming to Thailand man, what did you expect AL.”
We give each a big hug then helped him with his huge duffle bag to find a bungalow.
We laughed at how funny the coincidence was to meet again, this time in Thailand. We shared a few “Chang “ beers bringing back memories of our few months in Potrero just a couple months back.
We spent a month climbing together in Thailand. Then Mike went off to China to explore a new climbing area.
It was the last time we saw each other. But we kept in contact regularly over the years. Chatting about climbing killer climbing destinations. “We should meet again soon.”
I invited him to meet me in Bariloche Argentina to climb in January 2010.
The timing wasn’t good for Mike, he had other plans. Another year past by, I was now in Colombia.
Mike was in Potrero Chico again this year for several months. I told him to come check out Colombia, world class climbing. I showed him some photos I had taken in La Mojarra and Suesca. He was sold!
Next email I got was a flight schedual;
“Al, I booked my flight, I’m coming to Colombia! May 18th - You better pick me up at the airport and not with your bike! I have too much shit
I’m spyked, climb 5.13, see you soon.
Peace, dread out.
A crowd of young teenagers gathered at the exit gate waiting for some celebrity star signer to arrive. The crowd kept screaming at anyone coming out. I thought it would be a great joke and tell Mike I had all these young girls waiting to greet him – Welcome to Colombia Mike.
I finally see long dreads with 2 huge duffle bags at the X- ray machine.
I told Bianca. “You can’t miss him.” As he comes out the gate, I see him looking around for me. Bumping people with his big yellow duffle. “Mike” I yelled. “Al, I’m glad you’re hear, good to see you”
We give each other a big hug, introduce him to Bianca and quickly organize a taxi to take him and his huge bags to Suesca.
“Wow man, you did good AL, how the hell did you find this house!” He says as he drops his bags in his new room.
“Luck man, you know me”… work my magic.
I cracked open a cold Club Colombia beer, Mike refused to have a cold beer. “ I haven’t had a single drink in 6 months man.” This year I’m climbing 5.13, bro, getting in shape, it’s all about climbing”
Mike stands outside on the balcony admiring the views of Suesca crag down below as the sun sets over the horizon. “ This place is sweet bro.” I hand him the climbing guidebook. “check it out, we have a busy couple weeks coming up!”
Bianca prepared us a feast while Mike helped her cutting veggies, practicing his Spanish with Bianca. He was excited to be in Colombia.
“My dad is from Ecuador” telling Bianca, I need to go there one day.
We eat a wonderful meal, watched a movie and called it an early night.
“Get some rest, climbing day tomorrow” I said
We woke up to a rainy morning, as I prepared coffee, Mike is lying in his massive minus 30 down bag.
“ No rush getting up, it’s pissing out.” I hand him a cup of coffee.
“Organic Colombian shit.”
Later in the day, the sun came out. “ Vamos” I said,” lets see if Valle de Los Halcones is dry, It’ a nice short walk.
“Whatever Bro, I’m in.”
We spent the afternoon climbing wet 5.11 that felt more like 5.12
Bianca and I couldn’t help but laugh as Mike screamed his way up at every move he made.
After several climbs, we walked back home and cooked another good meal.
It was great to catch up after so many years. Shared stories of places he had been, like China and new spots in Mexico.
As I prepare a fire, I hear Mike chatting with Bianca about guns he had back home. Bianca gives me the weird look. I couldn’t help but laugh.
Mike always loved to talk about his guns or his Harley Davidson.
He joked about joining F.A.R.K in Colombia to fight for the revolution. We thought he would fit right in. – He even posted something on his facebook wall.
The next day was perfect, warm and sunny. We drank coffee while planning our climbing day. “Let’s walk to the crag below. “ I mentioned.
“Sure man, whatever AL” I’ll climb anywhere.
We walk down to the river where we cross a bridge to the crag. The bridge was gone due to the high floods a week ago. A bit late to walk all the way around. “Let’s go back to Valle de los Halcones, it’s near, we can go this way” – “whatever Al”
Mike had his big wall bag, heavy as shit. “What the hell do you have in there Mike?”
“You know, climbing shit, training man” he says while huffing and puffing his way uphill at nearly 3000 meter elevation.
“The altitude will train you my friend”, I said. “ You want me to take your bag?”
“Fuck you Al, I carry my own shit”
Arriving on top of the hill, we hear someone on a loud microphone.
“What the hell is going on up here?”
Hundreds of people were forming a straight line holding hands. They were shooting a Coca Cola commercial.
“ I want to be in the commercial” Mike says.
“ You fit right in man with your red t shirt, go join them” I told him.
We needed to walk across the field where everyone was to get to the climbing. Then we hear out loud through the microphone. (in Spanish)
“You with the red t-shirt, please move out of the way!”
Bianca and I just laughed. “ Mike, he’s talking to you”
“Well he can just suck my B…” I’m not moving.
Again we hear,” Por favor” asking us to move out of the way.
We manage to get to the crag. Mike was beat from logging around his massive wall bag.
“I’m not climbing Al” he tells me as he drops his bag to the ground.
Two kids arrive, “ No escalar aqui, esta privado – por favor”
“ What!” Mike says “I just haled my heavy bag here and now we can’t climb”
The two kids told us we could climb a little higher outside the property.
So we walked up a little more to the same place we had climbed the previous day. More climbs were dried, so we climbed new routes.
“ Here man, this one is for you,” I told Mike. Good onsight.
Mike ropes up and starts screaming at the moves, loud enough that the crowd below could hear him.
The microphone guy is giving direction to the crowd, repeating over and over orders to the big crowd in a straight line.
Meanwhile Mike is up on the wall, screaming at them to shut up.
“ I’m climbing here! I need concentration” We couldn’t help but laughing as Mike made his way up the wall.
“ Shut the fuck up you motherfuckers, can’t you see I’m climbing here!”
He just went on until he got to the top of the climb.
After several climbs, we called it the day. Mostly tired from our long walk.
Mike wanted to cook us a good egg omelet that night. We needed groceries so I told him to go with my bike.
“ You know how to ride don’t you?” I asked
“ Fuck you Al, don’t you know I have a Harley back home.”
“But this is not a Harley! It’s a DR!” laughing with him.
“Well to tell you the truth, I’m a bit nervous. I haven’t ridden a dirtbike in a while.”
I give him the keys, he managed to get on the bike without tipping it over.
“It’s a bit tall “he says
He takes off nearly crashing in our muddy driveway.
20 minutes later I could hear my bike coming up the hill. He walks in the house.
“So?” I asked
“How do you like my bike?”
“It’s good man, fun ride.”
“ You have the key?” I asked him. “ Oh sorry man, I left them on the bike.”
I walk over to my bike. The right side handle bar is covered with mud.
“Did you crash or what?” I asked
“ Oh, well, ya, I kind of lost balance in the mud there and dropped your bike. Sorry man.”
It was too funny not to laugh.
I offered him a glass of red wine.
“Comon man” we need to celebrate our meeting and climbing again.
But he still refused to have a drink.
The next day, Mike wanted to go to Bogota to see a soccer game. He was always a fan of live soccer games if he could see one. The taxi driver that brought him to Suesca had told him about a good game on Sunday.
Couple rest days won’t hurt. I gave him a lift to town with my bike so he could catch a bus to the city early Saturday afternoon.
“Ok bro, see you Monday for some climbing” he told me.
Those were the last words I heard from him.
Sunday, Bianca and I went bouldering with some friends. That night we checked emails and had no news from Mike. I sent him a message that we were heading to the city to get my bike paperwork. And told him where we would leave the key.
The next morning, Monday, we rode to the city and got back to Suesca around 6pm.
“I’m surprised Mike isn’t back” I told Bianca.
“ I guess he likes Bogota, or maybe he met a cute girl at the hostel???”
I was kind of worried, as it’s not for Mike to say he will be back Monday and he’s not back.
“ Don’t worry” Bianca said. “ He’s a big boy, I’m sure he can take care of himself”
The next day, the sun was out, still no Mike so Bianca and I went climbing.
“ Where’s Mike man, he’s missing a killer climbing day here!” I said
That same night, after we got home. I check my emails and got a message from his friend Sabina from New York.
“ Alain, the embassy just called his mom to say they found
Mike’s body at the hostel in Bogota”
I was speechless, my jaw dropped. “Bianca, read this! “ Am I reading this right?”
We were completely shocked at the same time in some sort of panic.
I checked on Mike’s facebook profile. His mom Elizabeth had put a note on his wall that Mike was found dead in Bogota.
We just couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t be true! Mike was coming back to climb!
I emailed his mom Elizabeth, she soon replied telling me the sad news.
The next day we received a call from the US embassy.
They told us Mike’s body was found in the bathroom at the hostel on Sunday, May 22nd at around 7am. The cause of his death was still unknown and under investigation.
We didn’t know what to think? It’ was hard to believe. A few days ago we were just climbing with him. He looked in good shape. We just couldn’t believe it…
Mike can’t be gone? He just got here!
A few days later we met with the US embassy to find out more info and identify his body. We also went to the hostel to get as much information as we could from the staff.
We spoke with the guy that found Mike in the morning.
He checked in the hostel around 6pm.
“Mike seemed like a cool guy”, he said.
“He mentioned to me he was climbing in Suesca”
He came to the bar at around 1:30 am, chatting with the girl working behind the bar. He complained about a having a bit of a headache. Thinking maybe he had altitude sickness from the high elevation in Bogota. The bartender offered Mike a beer. He refused, drinking only fizzy water.
He then went back to his room, staying in a dorm. He couldn’t sleep, so he went back to the bar before he went in the bathroom at around 2:30 – 3am. The night shift guy noticed him going in the bathroom, but never thought about anything of it. The next morning, someone wanting to use the bathroom mentioned to the staff that the door was locked. Staff went about to see. He could see inside the colored window a body shape, knocked on the door and no answer. He then broke down the lock to get in. Mike was there, on his knees.
“Miguel, Miguel” the guy called his name. Giving him a little push thinking he fell asleep. His body was cold. There was no reply. Mike was not waking up.
Mike had left us.
We will miss him forever. - Mike Bohorquez 11/23/1966 - 5/22/2011
As of now, everything is still under investigation. No information was given to us about his death from the police. But believe it was a natural cause. More info will be posted as we hear more.
Bianca chefs it up.
Back side view of my mini tomato sandwich.
Pretty cozy place.
La casa in Suesca. My new home for a while.
The Suesca cliff.
Valle de Los Halcones.
Mike pulling down...
Mike's last climb in Valle de Los Halcones, Suesca Colombia, May 20th, 2011.
These are few words from MIke's good friend Ulric Rousseau from Montreal, Canada...
you can also visit his blog @ www.ulricrousseau.blogspot.com
It never occurred to me that I would one day have to write an obituary. Then, on the morning of May 25th, the clock coming close to 6am, my ears heard the worse words come through the cellular connection of my mobile phone. My best friend; confidante, my shinning star amongst all wrong and wild things on this earth, was gone.
Mike Bohorquez was born in Newfoundland, Canada, on November 23rd, 1966. He studied at private schools and universities across the Americas and toured with the Grateful Dead, until climbing came to play a rampart part in turning him into the outgoing and amazing person he never failed to be. His body was found in a hotel room in Bogota, Columbia, on May 22th 2011.
Mike lived his life at the utmost pase. He drove his Harley, or 56 panhead hardtail, as he repeatedly corrected me, all over the Colorado highways. When asked about where he lived, he always replied, ‘’from here, for now. ‘’ His mailing address was stamped on his Metolius haul bags, which he used to travel, and to climb the walls of El Cap, to which, if he had a home, it would be. He spoke of his life as if it had no beginning and no end. He spoke with purity and laughter and spent his days trying his best.
What I remember the most about Mike was his girly screams falling from the anchors of his current projects and his headphones gushing out loud metal music camouflaged in his blonde dreads, which he would never cut. We would sit on the main street in the village of Cienega, waiting for the sun to hit us every morning, he with his coffee, imported and the most expensive money could buy. He took great pleasure in brewing his cups in the morning, and if anyone had a routine, that was his.
No amount of free gear was good enough for Mike, and in the past few years he had convinced Evolv, Bluewater and Metolius to put him on their grassroots team. This, above all else, gave Mike a motivation and drive to excel at his sport.
He spent his life living, and, for the most part, making sure we all remembered to do so as well. He was always looking out for his friends. He was always there. Mike always reminded me, that if I ever needed anyone taken out, hacked to pieces and made to disappear, he would do it. Mike loved his weapons, and was always close to his knives. He spoke about his guns as Shakespeare would about love. Never a day would go buy should we not hear something about him shooting off rounds in the dessert of Colorado.
We parted ways a few days into March of 2011, he went south and I, north. Plans to go to china in Oct. We both went our way, towards what we gravitate too. Mike had plans to travel for an undetermined amount of time. Our next meeting will now have to wait, just a little bit longer.
Here I am now, sitting on the floor of my apt, writing this for you. I have lost many friends over the past few years, but you are the one who will be sorely missed. I hope you Watch over me, us, with great wide eyes. May we make you proud. Maybe you take my dog for walks, where you both are, and may you never forget, that we will never stop remembering you, in our daily chores, activities and lives. You surround us, and bring us the strength and knowledge to forge on ahead, even though sometimes, we no not where we go.
In loving memeory of Mike Bohorquez