“We achieved his goal for him.”
Around 200 hikers climbed the 10,064-foot Mt. Baldy last Saturday in remembrance of Seok-doo “Sam” Kim, who never returned after falling from a cliff last month. Kim’s longstanding goal was to climb the mountain for the 1,000th time. Knowing that his journey ended at 800-odd summits, the fellow hikers made the remaining 200 climbs together to reach his goal for him.
The story of the hikers’ memorial for Kim was also documented by the L.A. Times on Sunday.
Wearing a white ribbon, the hikers chanted and sang for Kim as they summited. They told the L.A. Times that Kim will “always remain” in their hearts even though he may not be there with them in person. “This is his mountain,” said Lissinia Aguilar, the memorial organizer.
Ethan Pontz, 37, met Kim last November at the top of Mt. Baldy as he was struggling to find his way down due to white-out conditions. “All of a sudden, here comes Sam with icicle eyelashes. He said: ‘I’ll help you find the way down, but only on one condition that you take a selfie with me first,” Pontz said.
Kim was a popular figure during his lifetime for summiting Mt. Baldy for 100 consecutive days. Also known for sharing snacks with his fellow hikers, he enjoyed befriending them. That is why he is considered the “Celebrity Sam” to many of the hikers.
Kim was found dead last month at Mt. Baldy. His funeral was Monday.
By Byung Chang