Tim Auger

1946–2018

Gripped - - OBITUARIES -

Tim Auger was one of Canada’s cut­ting edge climbers dur­ing the height of his climb­ing ca­reer. He passed away in Banff at the age of 72 af­ter strug­gling with health prob­lems. At age 13, he read Hein­rich Har­rer’s book The White Spi­der and knew that he wanted to ex­plore the moun­tains. He started climb­ing young and at 18, he made the se­cond as­cent of Grand Wall in Squamish with Dan Tate. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” said Auger af­ter the climb.

A few years later, Auger teamed up with Tate, Glenn Woodsworth and Hamish Mutch for the first as­cent of Uni­ver­sity Wall, a route that would be­come one of the most pop­u­lar gran­ite climbs in North Amer­ica. Auger would soon move to Yoho Na­tional Park for work af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Uni­ver­sity of Bri­tish Columbia. In the mid- 1970s, Auger moved to Banff Na­tional Park and would help pi­o­neer so­phis­ti­cated search and res­cue tech­niques, such as he­li­copter sling res­cue sys­tems res­cue pi­lot stan­dards and avalanche prob­ing meth­ods.

Auger con­tin­ued to travel and made the first win­ter as­cent of the East Face of Keeler Nee­dle on Mount Whit­ney and an early re­peat of Triple Di­rect on El Cap­i­tan. In the Rock­ies, he made the first as­cents of Bourgeau Right and Bourgeau Left. He then climbed the South Ridge of Pu­mori in Nepal and was a mem­ber of the Cana­dian Mount Ever­est Ex­pe­di­tion in 1982. Auger climbed the East Ridge of Mount Lo­gan and sur­vived a 600- me­tre fall dur­ing the de­scent.

Some of his most clas­sic routes are Homage to the Spi­der on Mount Louis and Ul­tra Brew­ers on Cas­tle Moun­tain. He soloed the Kain Route on Mount Louis dozens of times. In 1992, he and Pe­ter Ar­bic made the sev­enth as­cent of The Lowe/Glid­den on the north face of Mount Al­berta. Auger said that one of this best climb­ing mo­ments was the third as­cent of the 700- me­tre East Face of Mount Ba­bel, a run-out and loose wall with hard moves above ques­tion­able pro­tec­tion. Auger con­tin­ued to climb into his 60s and would make a sea­sonal trip to Mount Louis.

He was one of Canada’s best climb­ing sto­ry­tellers, took part in hun­dreds of res­cues and de­vel­oped amaz­ing routes. His death has left a hole in the Rock­ies climb­ing scene, but his style and routes will con­tinue to in­spire gen­er­a­tions of climbers. He once said, “You can climb on ver­ti­cal stuff and over­hang­ing stuff at 5.8. You can fi­nesse your way through pitch af­ter pitch of re­ally beau­ti­ful sit­u­a­tions where you’re just shar­ing it with the swal­lows.”

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