I have only been a friend of Mizuki’s for less than 2 years. But in that short period of time, she became a huge presence in my life. We met when we joined a climbing team at Vertical World Seattle back in Fall 2005. I didn’t know who she was, but I soon became aware based on the buzzing around her in the gym that she was a highly respected climber, particularly in Mountaineers circles. That was the end of my first summer climbing and I had just finished the Mt’neers Basic Climbing Course. Needless to say, I was awestruck by her. As a newbie woman climber, I didn’t realize how much I craved a role model—when I met Mizuki, I knew she was it. We became friends and started climbing together…in the summer we went outside, in the fall we came back indoors and drank beer, and, this winter, she introduced me to waterfall ice and snow boarding. I have so many wonderful memories in such a short period of time….endless hours of gym climbing, the Eldorado boulder field in the dark, skydiving at sunset, beer, martinis, sushi, movies, Ouray hot springs, breakfasts at sunrise in Banks Lake, swimming in the river at Exit 38, hail storms while on belay and long, long talks about climbing, life, love and the future. Mizuki was an extraordinary woman, a good friend and a force of nature. She was an immensely skilled, experienced, strong, driven and passionate climber. As a new climber, I always felt so lucky to be climbing with her but worried that I would hold her back. Mizuki was modest, patient and supportive and matter-of-factly respected my limits when I would hit one. She was kind and generous. Her mind and her heart were open to anyone she met who was up for an adventure. Mizuki was never about ego, she was about climbing. Over the next months and years the depths of this loss will slowly settle in. I will be forever grateful for the brief time I shared with Mizuki on this earth, for everything I learned from her and for the inspiration of her example.
Goodbye dear friend.