Famous New Zealand climber dies in fall

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 25/02/2012
Jannu North Face. Lindsay Griffin

The well-known New Zealand rock climber, mountaineer and Piolet d'or recipient Athol Whimp, has been killed in a fall.

Although details are currently unclear, it appears 50-year old Whimp was moving along an easy but exposed ridge on Homer Saddle, a granite climbing area in New Zealand's Fiordland, when he slipped, falling 800m down the west flank.

Two friends, who were with him at the time, descended to Homer Tunnel entrance, where they were able to telephone rescue services. However, poor weather meant his body could not be recovered until next day.

New Zealand born Whimp, who was a long-time Australian resident, gained international acclaim for several highly significant ascents in Patagonia and the Himalaya during the period from the mid '90s to the Millennium.

Either side of that period he was an avid and talented rock climber.

In the 1980s Whimp was a captain in the SAS, and by the mid 1990s had led sport routes up to 8a.

In 1994 he climbed the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre with Australian Andrew Lindblade. Several days later he returned to the Col of Patience with two other Australians, and next day, letting them climb ahead, made the second solo ascent of route.

That same season Lindblade and Whimp made the fourth complete ascent of the Casarotto Route on Fitz Roy.

The pair then turned to the Himalaya, and in 1996 attempted a much tried direct line up the North Face of Thalay Sager (6,904m) in India's Gangotri.

They returned next year to complete this coveted new route.

Their ascent, late in the year, failed to register at the time with the Piolet d'Or organizers. But the jury made amends the following year by awarding the climb the 1999 Piolet d'Or. Whimp is the only New Zealander to have received this accolade.

In 2000 Lindblade and Whimp made the fourth ascent of the North Face of Jannu (7,710m).

The pair originally tried a capsule ascent of the then unclimbed North Face Direct. They retreated from 6,100m after their portaledge was destroyed by stonefall and back in base camp re-assessed their options.

After fixing 200m of rope, they made an alpine-style ascent of the 1976 Japanese Route, sometimes dubbed the Wall of Shadows, returning to camp in a seven-day round trip.

In 2003 they made a spirited attempt to repeat the legendary Kurtyka-Schauer route on the West Face of Gasherbrum IV, retreating in bad weather from 6,800m.

Many of this team's exploits were documented in Andrew Lindblade's book, Expeditions, which was short-listed for the Boardman-Tasker Award in 2002.
 


« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 11570 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

Sir Chris Bonington: winning a Piolet d'Or and his future climbing plans
0
Sir Chris Bonington: winning a Piolet d'Or and his future climbing plans

Having just picked up the prestigious Piolet d'Or lifetime achievement award, BMC Patron Sir Chris Bonington tells us why the award is so special, offers advice on making a career out of climbing and reveals what climbs he's got his eye on next.
Read more »

Chris Bonington picked for Piolet d’Or lifetime achievement award
0
Chris Bonington picked for Piolet d’Or lifetime achievement award

Sir Chris Bonington is set to receive one of the most prestigious awards in mountaineering: the Piolet d’Or Career. This lifetime achievement award is now in its seventh year, and was created to reward mountaineers whose achievements have inspired successive generations. Previous winners include Reinhold Messner, Walter Bonatti and Doug Scott.
Read more »

BMC supported expeditions - what was achieved in 2014?
0
BMC supported expeditions - what was achieved in 2014?

In 2014 the BMC International Committee awarded a total of £14,250 to 16 expeditions, and an additional three awards from the Julie Tullis Memorial fund. Supported trips visited South America, Greenland and various regions in Asia, with mixed success.
Read more »

Post a Comment
Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
0

There are currently no comments, why not add your own?

RELATED ARTICLES

Sir Chris Bonington: winning a Piolet d'Or and his future climbing plans
0

Having just picked up the prestigious Piolet d'Or lifetime achievement award, BMC Patron Sir Chris Bonington tells us why the award is so special, offers advice on making a career out of climbing and reveals what climbs he's got his eye on next.
Read more »

Chris Bonington picked for Piolet d’Or lifetime achievement award
0

Sir Chris Bonington is set to receive one of the most prestigious awards in mountaineering: the Piolet d’Or Career. This lifetime achievement award is now in its seventh year, and was created to reward mountaineers whose achievements have inspired successive generations. Previous winners include Reinhold Messner, Walter Bonatti and Doug Scott.
Read more »

BMC supported expeditions - what was achieved in 2014?
0

In 2014 the BMC International Committee awarded a total of £14,250 to 16 expeditions, and an additional three awards from the Julie Tullis Memorial fund. Supported trips visited South America, Greenland and various regions in Asia, with mixed success.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 70,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £15.72.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »