Alex Diekmann Peak

Gravestones cheer the living, dear, they’re no use to the dead
madison river montana
Steam rises from the Madison River in Montana (photo: NPS / Jacob W. Frank).

The quote from the song "By for Me the Rain" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band evokes a sad reference to how our memorials to the departed are tangible reminders to the living of the deeds of those no longer among us.

The song came to mind when I heard Donald Trump had signed the Alex Diekmann Peak Designation Act into law (Public Law 115-122) on Jan. 31, two years after Alex’s untimely death on Feb. 1, 2016. This new law designates an unnamed peak in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in Montana as the "Alex Diekmann Peak."

If you knew Alex Diekmann, then you know what a fitting memorial it is that a peak in the Madison Valley of Montana now bears his name. The 9,765-foot peak is located 2.2 miles west-northwest of Finger Mountain on the western boundary of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, in the Beaverhead National Forest and stands as a sentinel over a valley the Alex treasured. I wrote about Alex and his work in this Hatch Magazine article titled They will write songs about you.

Hanging over my desk is a large panoramic photograph taken by Alex and given to me after we completed some conservation work in the Madison Valley. I like to think it has captured Alex Diekmann Peak. If not, it's no matter really. I know I will see his peak every time I drive down route 287 to fish on the Madison.

The good news is you can too. If you are driving south from Ennis when you get about 7 miles past the road to McAtee Bridge look to the east, tip your hat to Alex Diekmann Peak and say thanks for all he did for fishing in the Madison Valley and around the state.

These days I miss my friend Alex, the work we did and the times we fished together. But, thanks to the work of his many friends we now have a fitting gravestone to cheer the living.