Victim was ‘definitely a hero,’ says close friend |

Victim was ‘definitely a hero,’ says close friend

Kip White was remembered Tuesday as a spiritual man, talented singer and passionate mountain climber. He died Monday on the Maroon Bells.

Kip White was a spiritual man, talented folk singer, passionate mountain climber and someone who served as an excellent role model through his actions, according to one of his closest friends.”He was an amazing guy. He was the kind of guy I wanted to grow up to be,” said Keith “Chet” Clerihue of Denver. “He was definitely a hero to me.”White was killed in a climbing accident on the Maroon Bells Monday. The 49-year-old Lakewood man owned an environmental engineering business that designed landfills, among other things.

“That was his job. Music was his passion,” Clerihue said.White described himself on his website as “an independent (indie) acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter. This means that I am an unsigned artist to any major record label.” It also means he doesn’t make a lot of money from music, he noted.Clerihue said he knew White as long as he can remember. White counseled Clerihue and other youths at a church in Littleton. They became friends and Clerihue took photographs that White used on his compact discs and concert shots used on his website.White’s website said he grew up in Texas and moved to Colorado in 1979. Clerihue said he believes White started climbing almost immediately after moving to the state. He climbed peaks frequently when they were still covered in snow. Officials with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said White and his son, Jordan, were well-equipped for climbing on snow and ice.Clerihue said White was “an excellent athlete.” He was also a pilot. “He was a Renaissance kind of man.”

White and his wife, Luann, have two children – Jordan, 19, who received minor injuries in the same climbing accident that killed his dad, and Aubrey. Clerihue said he was uncertain about Aubrey’s age but knew she is graduating from high school next year. The family couldn’t be reached for comment.White climbed a lot with his son and enjoyed hitting the slopes at times when they were less crowded.”I think he would describe himself as an introvert,” Clerihue said. “The reason he climbed in winter was because he liked his alone time.”Clerihue said White’s spirituality was also a “top priority” in his life. White was a worship leader at St. James Presbyterian Church in Littleton. White wrote on his website that he didn’t think his music was religious.

“My writing reflects my belief in God as the sovereign and personal creator of the universe. Though I do not consider most of my music to be religious, it is necessarily deeply spiritual,” he wrote.Clerihue said White wanted people to hear the spiritual message in his music, but the tunes weren’t overtly religious.”He wasn’t the kind of evangelical you’d be turned off by,” his friend said.White wrote this about his spirituality: “If I did not believe in God, I would have no hope, I would be a bitter cynic, and I probably would never have started making music.”Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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