Liz Rocks Foundation

MOUNTAINEERING, TACOMA

In Memory of Liz Daley

 
At A Glance
  • The Liz Rocks Foundation is community of outdoor enthusiasts sharing Liz Daley’s passion for adventure
  • Mission: Provide opportunities for underrepresented youth to reach new peaks through mountain-related activities
  • Krystle Edwards started the foundation in 2015
  • Liz Daley was a mountain guide and splitboarder
  • Donations accepted online at lizrocks.com
Live Like Liz
Adventure knows none other than Liz Daley. A force to be reckoned with, Liz was—and still is—known in the community for her upbeat spirit, can-do attitude and zest for adventure. Krystle Edwards, Liz’s close friend and Liz Rocks Foundation creator, described Liz as friendly and bubbly. “She was the type of person who you meet once and could never forget.”

Liz’s heart was bound to the mountains, and she spent her time doing what she loved: snowboarding and mountaineering—and living adventurously. “Liz was always cliff jumping and doing backflips off everything. And she loved singing karaoke to Shania Twain,” Krystle said.

After graduating with a degree in environmental education, Liz pursued her passion for the mountains. She had first descents off peaks on a snowboard that men hadn’t achieved and strove toward the next peak. By the time she was 28 she was sponsored by major outdoor recreation brands. Liz was headed toward a professional career as a mountain guide and splitboarder when on September 29, 2014 she died in an avalanche on a sponsored trip to El Chaltén, Patagonia.

Inspiring Adventure
Liz may be gone, but her adventurous spirit lives on through those she touched. Krystle said Liz brought out her adventurous side through climbing and camping trips across Washington. Even though Krystle wasn’t a natural climber, “Liz had a way of convincing you that you could do it.”

Since 2014, Krystle has been inspired to live like Liz—she even got the phrase tattooed on her forearm.

Shortly after Liz’s death, Krystle climbed Mount Baker—a climb she was supposed to do with Liz. She decided to go along with the plan and ended up climbing with a lead guide who had worked with Liz. “He told me lots of stories about her, and only had positive things to say about her.”

That trip inspired Krystle to take up mountaineering for herself and instilled a sense of accountability to carry on Liz’s legacy for living adventurously and advocating for underrepresented youth. Since her Mount Baker experience, Krystle has been climbing mountains to honor Liz—both literally and in building the Liz Rocks Foundation.

A Lasting Impact
The Liz Rocks Foundation emerged from the grief of Liz’s passing and stands as a testament to Liz’s impact on the lives around her. Krystle and a group of Liz’s friends worked through their grief and came together to form the Liz Rocks Campaign, to build a climbing wall in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park to commemorate Liz’s adventurous life.

With the help of her committee members Krystle held the foundation’s first fundraiser for the climbing wall in 2016. Though Krystle admitted she knew nothing about fundraising, “Liz had such an impact on the community that support flooded in.” They raised over three times their initial goal and over half of the funds needed to build the climbing wall. In the second year of the fundraising event, they collected enough money for the entire project.

The Liz Rocks Foundation also provides outdoor leadership experience to underrepresented youth, through a nine-day mountaineering scholarship trip for teens who wouldn’t have the opportunity otherwise.

“The scholarship program builds confidence and our story relates to kids who have experienced the loss of a friend or family member,” Krystle said. Through the experience, “these kids are able to see that going outside can be an avenue to deal with stress and grief, and a way to make new friends. Along the way they receive support from lots of people who have also lost someone.”

Ultimately, Krystle hopes the program will promote diversity in the mountains and foster a sense of appreciation for the outdoors, the environment and the rules to protect the wilderness.

“We’re doing it all for Liz,” Krystle explained. The climbing wall is scheduled to be completed in 2020 at Point Defiance Park’s Camp 6. After the wall is finished, the foundation will expand scholarships to include more guiding and leadership training for program alumni so they, too, can inspire others to live like Liz.

To learn more, visit the Liz Rocks Foundation website.