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RIP (Read 504377 times)

Fultonius

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#1850 Re: RIP
June 23, 2024, 09:26:05 am
 Holy shit! I've been infrequently following his mechanical advantage series on Substack. That's a shock.

Paul B

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#1851 Re: RIP
June 23, 2024, 12:03:46 pm
RIP indeed.

remus

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#1852 Re: RIP
June 23, 2024, 12:29:03 pm
Funnily, John's book "How to Climb: Big Walls" was one of the first climbing books I ever owned. I've fond memories of reading it cover to cover, soaking up all those juicy details of how to arrange a big wall belay, how to haul massive bags, how many pins to take etc. (yet to actually put it in to practice!). For what could have been a pretty dry book on building anchors and the like, you somehow still got a sense for the passion behind it and all the hard-earned wisdom.

Falling Down

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#1853 Re: RIP
June 23, 2024, 11:47:04 pm
Sad news. I used to read his (US) Climbing articles of adventures in the 90ís in awe and I guess you knew him Duncan. RIP Deucey.

chillax

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#1854 Re: RIP
June 24, 2024, 11:00:14 am
Very sad to hear this. Never met the man, but his kit has saved my ass on many occasions. Super generous with his knowledge and innovations, which have doubtless saved many lives over the last 30 years. As Duncan put so well, a man who left the world with more than he found in it. RIP

danm

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#1855 Re: RIP
June 24, 2024, 11:59:00 am
I too read his big wall book, got psyched and got hold of a big wall guide to Yosemite. I went to practice aid with a mate at Tilberthwaite Quarry, who went first and proceeded to fall the height of the crag when bounce testing a piece. I rapidly decided trad climbing was a better use of my time but I'll never forget the fantastic blend of great advice and passion contained in his book. Rest easy big wall big man.

spidermonkey09

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#1856 Re: RIP
June 24, 2024, 02:12:33 pm
Legend of Tasmanian climbing and all round good egg. Never met him personally but touched the lives of loads of people I know there.

duncan

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#1857 Re: RIP
June 26, 2024, 01:15:01 pm
John Middendorf.

Climber, engineer, environmental activist, entrepreneur, teacher, writer and historian about big wall climbing and climbing gear, and all-round good guy. Someone who brought a lot more to the world than took from it.


Iíll write something a bit more considered when Iím not in quite so much shock at the news.

Johnís own bigwalls.net site has a profile of his climbing to the mid-90s from Cameron Burns: http://bigwalls.net/download/mtnreview.pdf and much more besides.

My thoughts are a bit more personal.

I first met and climbed with John in 1984 when he was part of Yosemiteís climber search and rescue team. He had had a comfortable upbringing and had just gained an Engineering degree from Stanford but passing though Yosemite on the way to starting a conventional career he had somehow got distracted...  He suggested we do a push ascent of Zodiac which I turned down for a date with Sunkist instead. I slightly regret this as it would have been great fun and Iíd have learned a lot from him. Zodiac was still considered quite a hard route at the time and I didn't have Johnís imagination to see the feasibility of doing a big nail-up in this style. After an accident on Sunkist my gear was impounded by the rangers as collateral for medical bills (no insurance of course). John made sure my haul bag mysteriously vanished from the rescue cache before I did a runner!

In his two and a half years as a Valley local John did over 40 walls including several new big free and aid routes. He didn't do Zodiac but did manage The Shield in a push which is possibly even more impressive. This spell came to an end when he nearly died in a storm on the south face of Half Dome in winter 1986. This encouraged him to take a break from Yosemite, move to warm and dry Arizona, and design and bring to market big wall gear. These included the A5 portaledge, a relatively storm-proof and sturdy design, a direct result of Half Dome experience. This was not the first to the market, Jeff Lowe and Mike Graham had produced ledges in the 1970s sold to friends and friends-of-friends but it was the first properly sorted design that was widely available. Like early bouldering mats the A5 ledge facilitated a boom in an activity previously reserved for a lunatic fringe and also encouraged that fringe to greater lunacy. The A5 design lives on in contemporary models, now bloated like a computer operating system.

John continued to enjoy climbing, taking his skills to Zion and the SW desert. After a lot of hard work A5 Adventures had become a successful small enterprise by the mid 1990s. John entered into partnership with The North Face in order to have access to the latest and best materials, leading to A5 being absorbed completely in 1996. Not long after, TNF management underwent some upheavals [legally uncontentious version] resulting in him being let go from his own company. At the same time as all this John was continuing to pioneer hard ascents culminating in the epic Grand Voyage on Great Trango Tower.

His pay-off from TNF sent him off around the world. He eventually settled in Tasmania. In part he felt this was somewhere more likely to weather the climate crisis, the probable effects of which he was well aware of more than 25 years ago. His growing interest in environmentalism led him to revisit portaledges as a vehicle for direct action against logging the Tasmanian rainforests. More on this here: http://bigwalls.net/download/climbingzinejm.pdf
Characteristically these were open source designs with very little thought on trying to make a buck.

It was a surprise and pleasure to bump into him completely by chance in Joshua Tree in 2005 and climb with him again. Much easier stuff this time! Weíve been corresponding ever since, about gear and big wall history and other stuff. I was happy to make a very small contribution through editing and proofreading to his recent books.

Most of all I remember his generosity of spirit.

Falling Down

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#1858 Re: RIP
June 26, 2024, 06:28:08 pm
Lovely tribute Duncan.

(I think he only climbed in the UK once and it pissed down most of the time. He told me he remembered doing Bitterfingers at Stoney as the highlight of his trip!).

remus

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#1859 Re: RIP
June 27, 2024, 07:53:34 pm
Japanese climber Keita Kurakami https://www.instagram.com/keitakurakami/

He was a very talented trad climber, including making the fifth ascent of The Walk of Life E9 and a remarkable rope solo free ascent of The Nose. He also established a lot of incredible looking trad climbs and boulder problems in Japan.

jwi

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#1860 Re: RIP
June 28, 2024, 08:20:25 pm
Japanese climber Keita Kurakami https://www.instagram.com/keitakurakami/

He was a very talented trad climber, including making the fifth ascent of The Walk of Life E9 and a remarkable rope solo free ascent of The Nose. He also established a lot of incredible looking trad climbs and boulder problems in Japan.

https://explorersweb.com/i-choose-climbing-keita-kurakami-dies-on-mt-fuji-after-years-with-heart-condition/

steveri

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#1861 Re: RIP
June 29, 2024, 05:03:04 pm
Joss Naylor, fell running legend. 88 but what an innings.

MarkJ

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#1862 Re: RIP
June 29, 2024, 05:28:35 pm
Oh, sad news indeed, but blimey, what a legend.

SamT

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#1863 Re: RIP
June 29, 2024, 06:29:13 pm
 :'( - that's just made me well up.

Good excuse to post this up again..


Falling Down

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#1864 Re: RIP
June 29, 2024, 09:28:57 pm
The word legend gets bandied around a lot these days, but you know it when you see it. What a life. Marvellous. RIP.

Duncan Disorderly

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#1865 Re: RIP
July 02, 2024, 02:51:57 pm
:'( - that's just made me well up.

Good excuse to post this up again..



That's magic that!

Read about his passing after running up the Langdale Pikes on Saturday afternoon and felt the same :'(.

A true legend - Go well Iron Joss... RIP

SamT

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#1866 Re: RIP
July 02, 2024, 04:04:26 pm
mega innit.. I'm not really into running, infact I loath it, but that vid seems to stir some sort of emotion, perhaps just a love of the fells.  I seem to end up with dust in my eye each time I've seen it, even more so now..  :'(

 

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