Erich Bell was a bear-sized man, who gave hugs that matched his stature.
"For anyone who knew Erich, I am sure that you would give anything for a big, burly, crushing bear hug from him," says Brandon Beavers, who met Erich while learning to rappel.
"That he was loved by so many was not a fluke, but a reflection of the teddy-bear [energy] he gave off to everyone," says William Shrewsbury, Erich's friend, former roommate and owner of On Rope 1.
Erich was an avid outdoorsman, a caver, paddler and wildlife rehabilitator - almost always accompanied by his adventure sidekick, Polly, a trained emotional support Chihuahua. He was also a combat veteran of both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, who spoke openly about his ongoing battle with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.