Just stumbled upon this shot of Stanley Longstaff at ITCC in Montréal in 2003.
Those of you who met Stanley, I am sure will agree that he was a fantastic person to spend time with. I had the privilege when I met him the first time to attend one of his splicing workshops in Glottertal in the Black Forest back in 2002 – or 2001. Apart from being a inspired teacher in all matters dealing with ropes, Stanley was also extremely warm-hearted, charismatic and a great musician. Every time I listen to the recording of the gig he played at ITCC in Milwaukee in 2001 I crack up, it’s so funny – Raking Up is Hard to Do with Scott Prophett , Rip Tompkins and Dwayne Neustaeter as backing vocalists is a classic! But also very sad, because it reminds you what a big gap was left by his passing away.
Coming from a marine background one of the things that Stanley used to talk about that struck a chord with me was the necessity for rituals and songs to deal with tragedy and sorrow. In one of the Art and Science of Practical Rigging videos he sings a song a cappella for Pete Donzelli, a close friend of his who died on the job in 2000 during a tree dismantling job. I firmly believe this to be true, we need to incorporate such elements into our climbers’ culture, not just for sorrowful moments, but also to celebrate and to commemorate important ones. In that sense, to me this is part of Stanley’s legacy in which he lives on – that, and his songs.
I will be thinking of him when we return to Milwaukee this summer.