Choices Have Consequences & Repentance
It is about a 23 year-old Luke Rodolph, and how a moment of his carelessness took the life an innocent man, and left him living a nightmare of regret for his actions.
Luke was camping with his family in the remote Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming. While on the rim he and his brothers were messing around throwing large rocks over the edge. They had no idea a couple of climbers were just below them. One of Luke’s rocks fell on climber Pete Absolon, killing him instantly. Jeff Herlihy was Absolon’s climbing partner, and survived the accident:
Herlihy wrestled with Absolon’s body to retrieve the gear he’d need to get down. Blood spilled all over him, on the rope, and on the haul bag. He considered bringing the body along but decided the effort would slow him down and might get him killed. Even without the extra weight, it took him an hour to rappel to the ledge. Once there, he tied the ropes together and fixed them for the final rappel to the base.
Then he ran—and stumbled—down the scree field in his climbing shoes. Herlihy retrieved his dogs and dunked his head in the lake, trying to wash off the blood and spitting to get rid of the pungent, metallic taste in his mouth. He looked around in the twilight, not sure what to do. He was startled to see four young men running toward him. The first one was crying.
“I’m so sorry for your loss,” Aaron Rodolph said. He was panting after the long run down from the rim.
“What happened?” Herlihy asked.
A pale, lean young man, more subdued than the first, approached him. “I threw a rock,” he said.
Herlihy stared at him. “Did it hit another rock or something?”
“No,” Luke Rodolph said. “That was the rock.”
Herlihy took a moment to digest this. It wasn’t a loose rock that had killed his friend. This kid had thrown the rock. Herlihy didn’t know what to say. What came out of his mouth next amazed the Rodolph brothers, who were half expecting him to attack them. He looked at Luke and said, “I forgive you.”
It is a great story to illustrate that you can choose your actions, but not the consequences. I found the boys could identify with it since it happened on a camping trip. I have posted before on how sometimes a decision isn’t immoral, but is just stupid, and how difficult it is to get invincible teenagers to consider this, this story will hopefully at least get them thinking, or at least give a frame of reference for the next camping trip when you get to yell at the boys who are doing something dangerous.
It is also a very interesting example of the humility of repentance, and the very human struggle to forgive by the victim’s family.
Thanks for Outside Online for the story, and the photos.