Friday, 9 June 2017


Iain and I were saddened to hear from Alice that Dick had died (May 23, 2017). He was a legend in his own lifetime.  We both have memories of him which I have grouped into several categories: photos, stories, poetry.

The images are high res and all are in my possession (UBC memorbilia and Christmas cards).

[1] Some photos ...

 Christmas card 1972

  Christmas card 1971

 Christmas card 1969  "Steck & Hagen Waddington in winter"

Christmas card 1971 "Mt Augusta St Elias Range"

[2] The stories ...

When Iain came to Vancouver from Scotland in 1966 he lived with Bob Cuthbert and mates on West 11th.   There were lots of stories of climbing, climbing with Dick and also of Dick's 'first ascents'.

Iain recalls the fellows lamenting at that time that there were only a few 'first ascents' left that could be done from Vancouver in a weekend!  

Around about 1968 or 1969 we visited Dick and family in Alberta.  On that occasion Dick told us a story about when he had had a confrontation with a grizzly.  He had a gun and used it.  Iain then asked Dick "Do you still carry a gun?"   "No. I lie down behind a log (or whatever) and play dead."

The next day we were sitting in the airport awaiting our flight east when a fellow sitting back to back with us got up and came around to say hello.  It was Ian Stirling (VOC).  He was getting on the same flight east.  We sat together in a 3 seater row and Ian told us stories of his work with polar bears and, yes, he had had also had an encounter with a grizzly bear.  And, yes, he echoed Dick's strategy (play dead behind a log) and ... was alive to tell the tale.  

[3] The poetry ...

I was in awe of Dick from my very first meeting of him in the VOC hut on a Thursday (in the period 1963-67).   I recall being impressed that he had written a book [Climber's Guide to the Coastal Ranges of British Columbia which came out in 1965].  I had never met anyone who had written a book and was very struck by the brain of the man!

Over the years he was back and forth to the house on West 4th.  One memory I have is being on the phone one night anxious about their return from a night 'adventure'.  Let's just say it involved a concrete structure ?North Shore (as opposed to a campus building)!

In 1966 I offered to be the VOC Journal Editor.  Either Dick offered or I asked (can't recall which) but we got talking about the fact that he wrote poetry. I was mightily impressed, again, with the brain of the man!... a very 'deep' person, I remember concluding.

And that is how his poems went into that 1965-66 VOC Journal.  Those were the days when one (by that I mean me) typed every page.

He eventually had a collection published in 2009 and this is my copy as given to Iain and I when we visited him on the Sunshine Coast around that date.  He signed it with a nod to "The Good Old Days"!

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