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I didn’t know him well. In fact,…

I didn't know him well. In fact,...

I didn’t know him well. In fact, I only met him once and spoke with him on the phone a few times. But those brief interactions – and the many Legends and stories I had heard years prior – showed me that Dick Pownall, who sadly passed away two weeks ago, was yet another true hero of the golden age of mountaineering. A gifted and strong climber, Dick made impressive ascents early on, including the Pownall-Gilkey on the Grand Teton in 1948 and, the following year, Pownall unlocked the Pendulum Pitch high on the North Face of the Grand Teton. It was undoubtedly ascents like these that earned Dick a spot on the 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition. With his strength and skill, Dick had a good chance of being on the first summit team, but in a tragic turn, Dick narrowly escaped death early on in the expedition when a massive collapse in the Khumbu Icefall – roughly where this photo was taken in 2009 – took the life of his good friend, Jake Breitenbach; Dick was buried waist deep for 30+ minutes. Dick continued to climb on the expedition and was a huge asset to the team, but did not reach the summit. Off the mountain, Dick was a soft-spoken man who, despite his accomplishments, didn’t boast or brag: he taught and mentored and gave back to his community in spades. Dick is one of many of a magical age of mountaineering who I admire hugely, knew a little, and wish I had spent more time with. He will be missed. #liveyouradventure #passingofalegend #RIP #AMEE1963

Mount Everest

View this photo in Jake Norton & MountainWorld’s Instagram ⇒

About the Author : Jake NortonClimber, guide, photographer, speaker, founder of www.Challenge21.com, and - most importantly - husband and father.View all posts by Jake Norton

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