Have you ever met someone so selfless, so giving that he or she would give free rein of their house for the weekend at a moment's notice? Friends like that are hard to come by in this increasingly fragmented world we live in. Everyone who was blessed to have crossed paths with Chris Hale would agree, "He's one helluva guy."
Chris moved to Chattanooga before the rest of my climbing buds from Gainesville. His tiny apartment was often covered with fifteen or twenty crashpads and the accompanying dirtbags sprawled on the floor. Not just for one weekend once a year; almost every weekend when the weather was right during climbing season. He didn't seem to care; good times with friends and good times climbing. Working just enough to climb. He lived the life.
Before I knew him, I never would've considered calling him on Thursday or Friday to say I was climbing for the weekend and asking to stay. Every one did it, but it was because he loved being around other climbers, even if not at the crag. One time, I was passing through Chatty, planning on staying with some other friends, but I'd called Chris to see if he wanted to climb while I was in town. We got in a few hours at Little Rock City, and I still hadn't heard from my other friends. He offered his place without a moment's hesitation. Stories like this were left in his wake when he left Chattanooga to follow the climbing seasons around the country.
We lost a great friend this week. I hope we can honor him with his spirit and love of life every time we pull hard on sandstone, granite, or limestone outdoors. He will be sorely missed.