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Dr. Rob Milne dies on attempt of Everest
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Jun 10, 2005, 9:51 PM
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Dr. Rob Milne dies on attempt of Everest
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British software expert Dr. Rob Milne from West Lothian, Scotland has died during an ascent of Mount Everest.

Dr. Milne, 49, was 1,200ft short of the summit of the world's highest mountain. Only Everest stood in the way of the climber's goal to reach the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

The artificial intelligence specialist was, among other experiments, testing communications equipment during the climb of Everest.

Milne's expedition leader Henry Todd sent EverestNews.com the following message: Just below the Balcony he suddenly collapsed, and was found to have died instantly of a sudden heart attack. This was confirmed by the 3 doctors we have on the team who were climbing with him. He had had no problems prior to this and it was completely unexpected. All his team are shocked and saddened by this turn of events and they are now descending the mountain to Base Camp.

Dr. Milne's party had been hampered by bad weather during their ascent.

He left home on April 3rd for the expedition and arrived at base camp on Everest on April 12th. Dr Milne and his team then spent several weeks acclimatizing before attempting their ascent and were ready to go by May 7th. However, weather conditions were constantly against them, with high winds making it dangerous to proceed from Camp 3, 7,200m above sea level. On May 20th, the group had returned to base camp at 4,000m with the prospect of another week's wait. By May 23rd, Milne, who was married with two children, wrote in his web log that there was a "strong feeling of despair" as the weather refused to break. He said: "The weather is not co-operating, the jet stream is over Everest and the Monsoon too far south. So there is no summit weather window for the south before 29/30 May. There are a lot of frustrated people here and several other expeditions have now run out of time and are going home." However, he said veterans expressed confidence that conditions would change by the end of the month.

By May 27th, Dr. Milne's last web log entry, there was a glimmer of hope. He said: "The long range forecast says we have a good chance the first few days of June, so we are holding out. Around June they have to close the icefall as it gets too warm, so it is down to the wire and getting late. Crossing fingers didn't work before, so please think of something else! Otherwise in good spirits and health. Back to my book..."

Milne was raised in Littleton, Colorado and attended college at MIT where he graduated in 1978 with a degree in Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Milne remained an extremely active climber his entire life. He climbed extensively in Colorado with ascents of the Diamond and many other RMNP classics. He climbed in Yosemite and Alaska in the late 1970's.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/...1097_robmilne203.jpg
Dr. Rob Milne

Dr Milne was pioneering a system called IM-PACs, which allows climbers and adventurers to plan their expeditions more effectively and report progress to those monitoring. It was developed at the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute in the School of Informatics at Edinburgh University. Dr Milne had announced his intention to "road test" the system on Everest, with a team at base camp monitoring his movements using a laptop and satellite telephone. Progress information was sent back via the internet to Edinburgh, alongside informal e-mail reporting.

Dr. Milne had already climbed the highest peaks on six of the world's continents, with only Everest on the continent of Asia remaining.

Mike Fourman, Head of the School of Informatics at Edinburgh University, said: "Rob was a pioneer of artificial intelligence applications, creating a successful company based in Livingston. He has been a leader of scientific organizations concerned in his field across the UK, Europe and internationally. He will be sorely missed by colleagues in industry and academia alike. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

At least two other climbers have died this season during periods of sustained bad weather on Everest.


http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/...erest/blog/weblog.pl

http://news.bbc.co.uk/...scotland/4611635.stm

http://www.climbingboulder.com/


hacksaw


Jun 12, 2005, 10:58 AM
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Re: Dr. Rob Milne dies on attempt of Everest [In reply to]
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:(

I met Rob in 1978 aboard the train from Anchorage to Talkeetna.

He was with Andy Tuthill, Brian Becker and Andy Embick. They where going to the Kichatna Spires, and I was going to met my partner in the Ruth Gorge.

The weather in Talkeetna was awful. We waited almost 2 weeks to get flowen into the mountains. We all bunked in an old leaky shack that our bush pilot Cliff Hudson had. We all spent a lot of time talking, drinking beer and watching the rain come down.

I later ran into Rob a couple of times in Eldorado and once in the Tetons. It was always good to catch-up on things, with him. We never did get to climb together. Rob was a really nice guy, without a lot of ego. In all the time in Talkeetna, he didn't talk much about what climbs he'd done. He was one of those really good climbers that was under the climbing media radar. He just did his climbs without a bunch of fanfare. I'm really very sorry to hear that he's dead. :(

Halsted Morris


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Jun 28, 2005, 10:12 PM
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Re: Dr. Rob Milne dies on attempt of Everest [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Mike Fourman, Head of the School of Informatics at Edinburgh University, said: "Rob was a pioneer of artificial intelligence applications, creating a successful company based in Livingston. He has been a leader of scientific organizations concerned in his field across the UK, Europe and internationally. He will be sorely missed by colleagues in industry and academia alike. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

OMG. :shock: :cry:

Rob was one of my superiors. I worked at that intelligent applications company in Livingston.

What a small world. My condolences to his family and fellow co-workers. Bummer to hear it this way.. :cry:

Dan A


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Jun 30, 2005, 5:31 AM
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http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=56735

Dr Milne on the summit of Vinson Masiff, the highest peak in Antarctica, with the company flag (blurred intentionally)


hacksaw


Jul 15, 2005, 9:00 PM
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Re: Dr. Rob Milne dies on attempt of Everest [In reply to]
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:cry: :(

Sorry, just felt like bumping this thread up to the top again. I always hate to see friends that have been lost in the mountains, pass from the memory of the climbing/ski community too quickly...

I have lost a lot of friends in the the mountains over the years. For some reason I keep a list so they won't be forgotten.

Halsted


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