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skibabeage
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Jun 16, 2004, 10:21 AM
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Nov 28, 2004, 1:14 PM
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Rick White, off belay. 26/11/2004. [In reply to]
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Pioneering Australian climber Rick White died peacefully on 26 November 2004 in Winchester Hospital in the UK following a short but determined battle with cancer. He was 58 years old. Rick and his devoted second wife Jane travelled to the UK three weeks ago in a desperate attempt to seek natural treatment for a particularly aggressive brain tumour. As many of you will know, Rick — who is probably best known for his visionary development of Frog Buttress— battled the muscle-wasting disease, inclusion body myositis, for the past 12 years and has been unable to climb since the early 1990s. In recent years, he devoted himself to coaching Australia's top junior sport climbers, Cass Crane, Tiffany Melius, Libby Hall and Thomas Farrell, and worked with Samantha Berry under a Mountain Designs climbing support program. They are some of the many hundreds of young climbers who have benefited from Rick's mentorship over three decades.

Rick's first climb was a scary solo ascent of the exposed Prometheus II on the east face of Tibrogargan in 1967. From 1968, he played a leading role in a new wave of climbers in Queensland who began to push the existing limits nationally. Within 12 months, Rick had repeated all of the toughest known routes in SE Queensland, the Warrumbungles and the Blue Mountains and realised there was only one place left to go: into the unknown. With his climbing partner Chris Meadows, Rick first walked down the scree slope of what would later become Frog Buttress on 9 November 1968 and Australian climbing changed forever. Rick led hundreds of new routes at the Buttress over the next 20 years and many of the guides to those early climbs read invariably...'Second unable to follow'. Rick inspired a cohort of climbers in Queensland as he pushed the boundaries of the known, opening up new routes on the east face of Mt Maroon. In 1972, he put up what was then the hardest route in Australia --Valhalla. He and a small group of hard climbers like Ted Cais, Paul Caffyn, Greg Sheard, Ian Thomas, and Robert Staszewski put Queensland climbing at the forefront of the sport in Australia.

In 1973, Rick made the first Australian ascent of The Nose on El Capitan followed by the Salathe Wall with his long-time friend, Doug Scott. In the Christmas period 1974-1975, Rick teamed up with newcomer Robert ‘Squeak’ Staszewski in a bold attempt to climb the FitzRoy in Patagonia. Thwarted by the weather and tent-ridden on the Torre Glacier, they discussed the possibility of making a living out of climbing by manufacturing quality equipment designed for local and international use. When they returned to Australia, Rick expanded his small part-time climbing equipment import business into a fully-fledged manufacturing venture: the forerunner of Mountain Designs. Although much of Rick’s time was then spent developing his business interests, he maintained his interest in Frog Buttress, Mt Maroon and new areas like Maggie’s Farm (Mt Maroon). In 1979, he made a solo ascent of Ball’s Pyramid. Two years later, he was reunited with Doug Scott and an international climbing team to make the first ascent of the East Pillar of the 6500 metre spire, Shivling, in the Garwhal Himalaya in northern India. Both he and Doug Scott celebrated their birthdays on the climb—Rick turned 33 and Doug, 38. The climbing equipment business was booming and Rick always ensured that the benefits flowed on to his mates, with scores of climbers finding work at Mountain Designs over the years. Some wryly recall that cash-flow crises always seemed to emerge when Rick was on a climbing trip out of the country! Rick began to turn his attention to the international climbing scene and the high mountains and in 1990, organised an expedition to climb the 8000 metre Cho Oyu. Michael Groom joined the expedition and was the only member of the team to summit, climbing the standard route after their attempt to climb a new route was abandoned because of avalanche danger and altitude sickness by most members of the team. Rick returned to the Himalayas in 1991, this time with Everest in his sights. But the collapse of a long-time financier meant Mountain Designs was plunged into crisis. In a devastating set of circumstances, Rick lost control of the company he had started and was left with huge debts. It was about this time that his muscle-wasting disease was diagnosed. Despite extraordinary odds, he was determined to continue his lifetime commitment to climbing and eventually started up a high-end sleeping bag manufacturing business, working from home. By 2001, Mountain Designs’ ownership had changed again and new proprietor Greg Nunn invited Rick back into the fold as research and development advisor, or as Rick described himself, ‘a walking historian’.

Rick maintained his intimate association with Frog Buttress and participated in all of the ‘milestones’ over the years. At the 20th anniversary in 1988, he and Chris Meadows made another ascent of the first route they climbed at the Buttress on 16 November 1968, Corner of Eden. It was their last climb together. Chris took his own life in 1991, the same year that Rick’s illness was diagnosed. In 1998, Rick was back at Frog Buttress for the 30th anniversary and abseiled down the classic ‘jamB’ crack, The Infinity. With his adductor muscles no longer operating, he struggled back up the scree on his hands and knees, denying all offers of assistance. It took him the best part of 45 minutes to make it back to the car park.

All of us who knew Rick as a congenial, loyal friend will miss his incisive, invariably perceptive wit. He was working on a book about his life in the last weeks before his death. In typical style, bedridden, frustrated, he came up with a title just a few days ago: ‘@#%$ the diagnosis!’ Although unlikely to be acceptable to a publisher, it nevertheless sums up the extraordinary determination he showed right to the end. Doug Scott was one of the few climbers Rick ever saw as having a major influence on him — and in Doug’s words: ‘He’s the toughest bugger I’ve ever known’. Ted Cais, too, identifies Rick’s extraordinary mental toughness as one of his most admirable traits.

Perhaps the greatest contribution Rick has made here is his attitude to clean climbing. From the late 1960s, he adopted an approach that rejected the use of anything but ‘jamB’ protection. He always hoped that Frog Buttress would remain a bolt-free zone but the first bolt was placed there in 1981. Just weeks ago, he expressed a desire for Frog Buttress to de-bolted and kept as a bolt-free crag. Many of those who have placed bolts in climbs there have indicated they would be prepared to remove them. What a lasting tribute to one of the great Australian climbers this would be—a bolt-free zone in the tradition of the gritstone crags in the UK. We trust the climbing community to decide how best to honour this enigmatic, inspirational and quintessentially Australian climbing pioneer.
On behalf of all of the climbers and friends who have been part of this story for the past 36 years — we’ll miss you mate…rest in peace.

Michael Meadows and Phil Crane


Thanks to qurank.com for the above news item.

More tributes here.


whatsupdoc


Nov 29, 2004, 6:00 PM
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Re: Rick White, off belay. 26/11/2004. [In reply to]
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RIP


tecais


Nov 30, 2004, 9:04 AM
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Re: Rick White, off belay. 26/11/2004. [In reply to]
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http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=44515

Rick and I go back together to the beginning of his emergence and transformation of the Queensland climbing scene in 1968. It was a pivotal year when rock climbing emerged from its roots there as a weekend social outing for walking clubs into a dedicated sport at international levels of difficulty. Rick was the driving force that made it so. Rather appropriately, our first and last climbs together were at Frog Buttress, starting with the mega classic "Infinity" on December 7, 1968 and ending with "Borderline 29" on September 2, 1987.

Thirty years ago our generation firmly believed he would outlast all of us with his incredible energy and drive, but unfortunately life had other plans. Now Rick's name is synonymous with Frog Buttress, recognized as a world-class climbing destination for international visitors. This premier crag provided an ideal medium for Rick to perfect technical crack climbing skills and propel local climbers to the forefront of Australia’s hardest grades. By the early 1970's these locals had attained 5.11 levels of difficulty for the first time.

Soon Rick progressed to big walls and hard aid climbing that culminated in his milestone first Australian ascent of The Nose and Salathe Wall on El Capitan in 1973. There he met Henry Barber and later hosted his first visit to Australia in 1975 and kept up with the blistering pace.

Climbers and athletes in general are often judged by the level of their technical abilities alone. This does not give the full measure of the man and there's more than a few top climbers whose egos unpleasantly distort their personalities. Rick was never like that.

Not that he was shy or retiring, far from it. He had an uncanny ability to sense pretentious behavior in others and succinctly let them know. To his friends that included almost all he met he was always decent, trustworthy, straightforward, fair and supportive. Like Australia's great gentleman of tennis Rod Laver, Rick was a true sportsman. And like Rod, he was a giant in his time. Rick may no longer be with us physically but his memory lives on in so many he has influenced over the years through his personal, business and climbing activities. I can easily visualize him now telling us to focus and get on with life. That certainly would be his way.


Partner philbox
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Nov 30, 2004, 12:40 PM
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Re: Rick White, off belay. 26/11/2004. [In reply to]
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[quote="tecais"]http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=44515

The above picture shows Rick with the dark hair, Ted Cais to the right of the picture and Ian Thomas behind.

My how fashions have moved on.

Thank you ever so much Ted for this moving tribute to your old friend. Awesome picture too mate.


ithomas


Nov 30, 2004, 4:05 PM
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Re: Rick White, off belay. 26/11/2004. [In reply to]
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Just day's before Rick died he lamented the fact that he would not be able to finish writing his autobiography. The contents of the book would have covered the history of Australian climbing from the dark ages of the late 60's to international indoor climbing competitions in 2004.
Rick was associated with most of the major developments over this entire period. He climbed old style walls with little or no pro in the Warrumbungle Range and Glasshouse Mts; he discovered and climbed on premier new crags such as Frog Buttress with the emphasis on clean climbing in 5.11 jam cracks; he forced A4 aid routes on the exposed walls of Mt Maroon and Mt Buffalo; he combined with Doug Scott for early ascents of the Salathe Wall and the first Australian ascent of the Nose on El Cap; he soloed routes on the fabulously remote Balls Pyramid; he attempted new routes in Patagonia on Cerro Fitzroy; he introduced Henry Barber to Australian climbing, thereby awakening the sleepy local scene to world standards of free climbing; he climbed with Doug Scott, Greg Child, George Bettembourg and Don Whillans on a scary and rarely repeated route on the east pillar of Shivling in the Garwhal Himalaya; he was responsible for developing a rock climbing importation agency which brought Chouinard pitons and hexentrics to Australia for the first time and which then developed into a continent wide climbing enterprise that supported climbers in all facets of their sport; finally, while desperately ill with an incurable muscle wasting disease he sponsored and coached a team of young women sport climbers to the top in that highly technical discipline. Most of all Rick was what we in Australia call a "good bloke", a supportive friend to many and a loving husband and father. On his deathbed, in typical blunt fashion, he declared that the title of his autobiography would be " ##@$ the diagnosis"! Rick is missed by me and by climbers and friends the world over.
Ian Thomas


Partner phaedrus


Nov 27, 2005, 2:45 PM
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Mike Donahue, owner of Colorado Mountain School, has died [In reply to]
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Mike Donahue, owner of the Colorado Mountain School, died on November 16 from a malignant brain tumor. He was 59. Donahue came from a long line of climbers, and was the author of the 1992 trail guide "The Longs Peak Experience." His maternal grandfather built the north Longs Peak trail in the 1920s and 30s. Donahue became an assistant guide and then later a full guide while in his teens. His clients included the first blind climbers to summit Longs Peak as well as the first paraplegic to summit the peak. One of his climbing partners was Beck Wethers, who gained fame as one of the American survivors of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. In 2003, when Donahue was diagnosed with the malignant brain cancer, he was said to have stood on the summit of Longs Peak 250 times. He is survived by his parents, his wife, his three children, his brothers, and two grandchildren.

For more details, go to:
http://www.denverpost.com/obituaries/ci_3255636


http://extras.mnginteractive.com/...5334_1127donahue.jpg


virginia_alpinist


Dec 1, 2005, 3:08 PM
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Re: Mike Donahue, owner of Colorado Mountain School, has die [In reply to]
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God will bless a true Alpinist like Mike. We all aspire to this but only a few special souls really make it...


pettsnjam


Dec 9, 2005, 8:57 AM
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Re: Mike Donahue, owner of Colorado Mountain School, has die [In reply to]
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Peace be the Journey.


a_friend


Dec 14, 2005, 7:51 PM
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Re: Mike Donahue, owner of Colorado Mountain School, has die [In reply to]
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I was deeply affected by Mike Donahue's illness & death.
I'm a fairly long term RC.com user who is posting under a different name since it is a very personal issue. In 2000, my mother died from the same form of brain cancer. I never met Mike Donahue (I did stay at the CMS bunk house a couple times) but I was motivated to contribute to Mike’s Brain Expedition Fund (a fund that helped with his expenses). I remember writing the check but I will never miss the money. Keep the right perspective & value your family, friends, climbing partners & even those individuals who you have never met.


socialclimber


Jun 5, 2006, 4:51 PM
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Obituaries [In reply to]
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ROSAMOND HARPER-CLIMBING WAS IN HER BLOOD

Rosamond Harper, grand daughter of Leonard Harper who crossed the Southern Alps in 1857, and daughter of noted mountaineer Arthur Harper CBE, died recently in the United States aged 96.

Her introduction to alpine climbing was in 1926, at the age of 17 when she and her Father climbed Mildred Peak. She qualified as a full member of the New Zealand Alpine Club two years later when a group, including Arthur Harper, crossed the southern Alps via Fifes Pass and the Karangarua Saddle. Rosamond was the third generation of her family to achieve full membership of the Alpine Club, it's thought to be the first time this had occurred.

Rosamond Harper is perhaps best known for her part in the first all woman ascent of Mt Sefton in 1934. It drew great interest from alpine circles internationally and was considered by many as an outstanding achievement.

Prior to her marriage to Selwin Hadfield in 1936, she was a mountain guide based at The Hermitage, Mt Cook. A rare occupation for a woman in those days.

By the start of World War II the marriage was over and Rosamond turned her hand to numerous jobs to support herself and her three young children, including tram conductor, secretary, cook and truck driver. A far cry from the affluent and privileged upbringing she had as a child.

By the 1950's Her children were themselves married with children and living at opposite ends of the globe. Her son and one daughter in New Zealand, another daughter in the U.S. She eventually settled in the United States to be with her daughter and family

Even into her 70's, Rosamond was an energetic sports woman, excelling at tennis. She took grand-children on camping and hiking trips into The Appalachians, passing on to them her love for the mountains.

Rosamond Mary Templer Harper was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 22nd 1909.
She died in Columbus Georgia, United States, December 26th 2005.
She is survived by three children, five grand children and eleven great grand children.


Origonal story was found in the Christchurch Press newspaper. Not available on line


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