Demings deeply rooted in Summit Co. | VailDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Demings deeply rooted in Summit Co.

Jonathan Batuello
Summit County Correspondent
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyBrett Deming and his wife, Amy, and Joyce Deming Hahn and her husband Vic, reach the summit of the Deming namesake peak earlier this month. Climbing the mountain, named after a great-grandfather, has been an annual tradition for the family.
ALL |

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” Climbing a mountain with your family’s name attached to it isn’t a typical activity.

For the Deming family, though, it has become a tradition every year to celebrate the family’s local history.

Deming Mountain, a 12,906-foot peak framing Eccles Pass in the Gore Range, was summited by the family most recently on Aug. 9, when Brett Deming and his wife, Amy, and Joyce Deming Hahn and her husband, Vic hiked in via North Ten Mile Canyon.

Upon reaching the summit, the family called the oldest surviving Deming, Harold P. “Chick” Deming, who was born in Frisco in 1918.

Brett Deming said the call was to tell his grandfather that the tradition Chick helped start back on July Fourth in 1976 was still being carried out and honoring the family’s deep roots.

“It’s pretty overwhelming to think back to what my grandfather and great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather would have seen 100 years ago,” Brett Deming said.

The Deming family’s roots go back to the 1880s, when Elisha Deming homesteaded a ranch in west Frisco, according to local historian Mary Ellen Gilliland.

His son, John, grew up in the area and eventually married Nellie Rose in 1902 and had seven children, one of them being Chick.

John Deming, who grew up mining on Chief Mountain and owned a saloon in Frisco, died during the influenza epidemic in 1920, and Chick is the only survivor of his children.

Although the peak isn’t officially named for the family, locals gradually began to refer to the rounded peak as Deming Mountain, since the family has lived, worked and been an entrenched part of the community for five generations, Gilliland said.

Demings also were renowned for their unique summer tradition.

“Every Fourth of July, the Deming boys were up and by 4 in the morning exploding dynamite in the local hills,” Gilliland said. “It woke up everybody in the hills, and babies were crying, and it was their annual joke, and it got to be a tradition, and so I think the mountain climb is just continuing that.”

Chick Deming now resides in the Grand Junction area and last made the climb in 1992.

He said the tradition was started in part to celebrate the United States bicentennial and Colorado’s centennial, but now he feels proud that it marks his family’s resilience.

With her grandfather no longer climbing Joyce has been the family member most dedicated to carrying on the family tradition.

The usual date for the climb is the Fourth of July, but often it occurs at different times in the summer every year depending on the schedules of family members. In this case, though, it depended on an auspicious date.

Brett and Amy Demming were married on Aug. 8, and the two decided to make the climb as a culmination to their first 10 years of marriage.

For Brett Deming, this year was also his first time reaching the summit since he was a pre-teen, almost 22 years ago.

Now living in Bayfield, he said he is just now coming to realize the significance of his family in the Frisco area.

“I came back up on Memorial Day and helped clean up the family graves,” he said. “There on Memorial Day, to look at the headstones…at that point I knew I had to get back up (the mountain) for my family.”

Jonathan Batuello can be reached at (970) 668-4653 or jbatuello@summitdaily.com.


Support Local Journalism


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User