A trip even more meaningful than summiting a fourteener
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Sitting in a quaint little Rhode Island church packed with grief, Corbin Mabon had traveled nearly 2,000 miles to pay respects to a man he never met.
With waves from the Atlantic caressing the sandy beaches, he stood shoulder to shoulder with the family and friends of Jeff Rosinski on a somber and sad day but one filled with special memories of a man who embraced life and loved the outdoors.
It’s a credo that Mabon also cradles tightly.
The trip to the scenic town of Middletown, R.I., left Mabon humbled and overcome with emotion.
It was a trip he had to make. He needed to know who was this adventurous man named Jeff Rosinski.
Dressed in black slacks, a blue dress shirt and casual shoes, the blond-haired, blue-eyed, 22-year-old from Colorado Springs heard the stories of Jeff Rosinski’s life. And Mabon cried and hugged people he barely knew.
On July 16, Mabon’s life was forever changed.
As grief and special stories of Jeff Rosinski drifted through the Rhode Island church on the border of the Atlantic Ocean, Corbin Mabon couldn’t help but think about a night of tragedy at the top of a 14,259-foot peak in the Rocky Mountains.
Longs Peak would be Mabon’s 16th fourteener in just 10 months.
Powerful winds forced the sturdy, slender man to his knees, and he crawled to the summit.
“If I stood up, I was going to be blown off the back side. So I stayed on all fours,” he reflects on that eerie night.
This was one summit that he didn’t take time to enjoy. “I pretty much crawled to the summit and crawled right back off.”
He quickly turned to escape the howling winds around 3 a.m. That’s when he found the body of Jeff Rosinski.
Longs Peak was Rosinski’s first try at a Colorado fourteener.
Every year, at least one person dies on Longs Peak.
Jeff, who would have turned 30 later this month, left behind a wife, a 2-year-old son and an 8-month old daughter.
Over the next week, shock and panic gave way to agony and sadness, then depression for Mabon.
As a student at a technology school in Denver, Mabon hopes to someday find a career in the wind energy industry.
His haunting trip to the summit of Longs Peak will remain one of the harshest lessons he will ever learn about the power of wind.
He kept asking himself – who was this man? Who was this fellow adventure-seeker?
“I wanted to know who Jeff was as a person, instead of that image I had in my head,” Mabon says.
He contacted the family and asked if it would be OK if he attended the funeral.
What he discovered in that tiny church by the ocean was an outpouring of love, respect and grief for a man who left a lasting impression with everyone who knew him. Then he heard four words that inspired him and touched him.
“No room for cream.”
The words were spoken by Jeff’s brother Greg, and it epitomized Jeff’s life. This profound message really had little to do with coffee and everything to do with living life to the brim.
“He just lived life to the fullest, and he didn’t need those extra things in his life to comfort him,” Mabon says.
Family, friends, community, adventure, faith – those were the things that kept life’s cup full for Jeff Rosinski.
“Everything he did, he did it 100 percent,” Mabon says.
Mabon could see as clearly as the views from atop a Colorado fourteener on a cloudless day, that Jeff Rosinski’s life was all about “no room for cream.”
On this day, Mabon learned about a man named Jeff Rosinski. A man who lived life like Mabon lives life.
“When I found out who Jeff was as a person, I could move on. Now I have a person that I can associate with, and how awesome of a person he was, and how much of an inspiration he was. How he lived his life has definitely become a huge inspiration for me,” Mabon says.
For all the sofa seekers and sideline surfers, it’s impossible for them to comprehend why people like Rosinski and Mabon choose a life of adventure.
For Rosinski and Mabon, they wouldn’t live any other way.
“It’s a way to strive for adventure and something new and challenging,” Mabon says of the appeal of climbing fourteeners.
Mabon wants to climb all 54 of Colorado’s fourteeners. Then even higher goals. Denali, a 20,320-foot peak in Alaska in the summer of 2012 is his target; and maybe even Everest someday.
A couple of weeks after the funeral, Mabon was still thinking about those four words: “No room for cream.” Jeff Rosinski was also still on his mind as he tugged his boot laces tight and made a trek up his 17th fourteener. Mount Bierstadt was an easy one, but it’s what he needed to get started again after that tormenting night on Longs Peak.
Mabon’s love of fourteeners started with his first – Mount Elbert in September 2009.
“It was just amazing, the view from the top, and how high you are. Literally you’re at the top of Colorado. It just hooked me. I knew right then that this was something that I was going to be doing for the rest of my life,” he says.
The nighttime journey and ultimate destination is even more enticing.
“The sunrise from the summit is absolutely phenomenal. It’s one of the most breathtaking, gorgeous views I’ve ever seen.”
Next July, some of the Rosinski family plan to come to Colorado and reunite with Mabon for a trip up Longs Peak. A trip to remember a special man and his love of adventure.
Maybe it will provide another chapter of closure for all of them.
For Mabon, the memory of a Rhode Island man that he’d never met will always be part of his life.
Mabon will always have Jeff Rosinski to remind him that life is about living to the fullest.
For Jeff Rosinski, it was a life that had no room for cream.
And for Mabon, he plans to make sure his cup will always be full as well.
But there will always be room for adventure.
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