This site is for family, friends, and colleagues of Avner Magen to post their thoughts and memories of him. Avner died in a climbing accident on May 29, 2010, in Alaska.

Avner was a beloved and devoted father, husband and son; a terrifically warm, funny, and energetic person; a brilliant and creative researcher; and a wonderful friend and colleague.

Please share your stories, memories and words of support by sending an email to You may also post comments to any entry. Visit this Photo Site for a photo memorial of Avner and his family and friends. Instructions for adding pictures appear next to the album.

More details appear on the Avner Magen Memorial page.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peter Schön

byl na pamir (or "how was it in the pamir") this year?”

You asked me that a few months ago. It was a great adventure! It was one of these adventures full of dreams & expectations, moments so full of deprivations and exhaustion that one questions everything, and days of success when all the questions about the “why” and “what for” are answered. Did I tell you that from the summit we stood on I saw the great Pik Somoni, from the opposite side then we had seen it the year before? It loomed above the clouds that hung over the Academy of Science Range, surpassing everything. Pik Somoni there, and great Tirich Mir on the other side of the horizon.

Do you remember the day when you stepped on the summit of Pik Chetyriokh? Standing above everything and everybody else for a little while? How you first questioned your abilities, doubted that you can make it, but then gave everything, trusted in our roped connection, consumed the
team’s energy, to make it in the end? The day we then summited Pik Korzhenevskaya, that elevating moment when it all makes sense, all of a sudden? And great Pik Somoni – one day, yes, one day!

Our mentalities and backgrounds were so different. I am younger than some of your students! Yet there were no biases, no prejudices from your side whatsoever. You never talked about how great a scientist, researcher and above all teacher you were – unless I asked you, and even then just
briefly and then we would often end up talking about something else. About our research activities we have really just learned after we had both returned home. And in the mountains you became an excited student again, keen to learn about high altitude climbing, your body’s response and
strategies to make it.

You fully respected me and trusted me in the most challenging situations. This is something I take far from granted, and something I will never forget.

”drop me a line (nothing long…) to tell me of your plans this spring. is it still georgia? I will be going to alaska (ruth gorge) May 23, and will be flying thru vancouver. I don't expect you will be still there, right? do tell me if you are flying thru toronto - will love to meet.”

When you were in Vancouver, I actually was just taking off from Tbilisi/Georgia to head back home to Austria. It was great to see the Caucasus – I say this because I I know you were lucky to have seen the great Caucasus, too! Like so many places you were lucky to have seen. I told you that a photo I took of you in the Pamirs was shown in a photo
exhibition in Tbilisi, right?

And how I wish I could have met you in Toronto earlier this year as we had planned. I have climbed with quite a few people. Some I climbed with once, some I climbed with again. And then there are a few, with whom I have keep in touch with regularly, also for reasons unrelated to the mountains; they are those I would drop that short line every once in a while to see what is up and how life is. When we would have met in Toronto we would have talked a little about mountains, a little about our research, but also a lot
about all the other things in our lives. And that is remarkable!

Next year I will greet the Pamirs from you. You were a climbing partner, but also a true friend.

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