Friday, May 1, 2009

John Evans

Today was going to be the day that John Evans showed up here at AMS to brief and start packing to teach a Mountaineering Course. John never made it to Talkeetna though. Unfortunately he died on April 28th while walking off of a climb in Wales. He was done with the climb and was simply walking down. It appears that he slipped while coming down a slope of grass or heather. He rolled and fell about 100 feet.

John was the epitome of safety, so when we learned of his death a few days ago it took all of us by surprise. We have been getting emails and calls from our and John's friends from all over the world.

We have known John for many years. This was only John's second year officially working as one of our guides, but he has been an honorary AMS guide for much longer. He was always over here hanging with all the guides just about every evening when he was in town. He was very much apart of the mountain climbing and guiding community. We all miss him around here. He taught us all a lot about life, not just about the climbing life. John was a very patient and approachable person. He did not have any ego or attitude about him. Everyone loved working with John. His students were always amazed by him. He was such a wealth of knowledge and after all these years he never lost any of his excitement about it all. We already miss you tons John. We'll teach some extra special haul systems just for you buddy.


by Megan Baldino
Thursday, April 30, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A well-known and well-liked mountaineer and rescue guide in Alaska is dead after a tragic accident in the United Kingdom.

John Evans, 54, spent years guiding on Denali -- summiting the mountain 14 times -- and was also a para-rescueman with the U.S. Air Force in Alaska.

Evans, a member of the Ogwan Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation in North Wales since 1973, was killed in Lanberis Pass on Tuesday while descending after completing a climb with his partner Lynne.

The group reports he fell 100 feet and suffered serious head injuries. Rescuers and his team made extensive efforts to save his life Tuesday night.

As a retired para-rescueman with the Air Force, it was the PJs who introduced Evans to the big mountains of Alaska.

From the British Broadcasting Corporation to Internet sites around the world, word of Evans' death hit the international climbing community hard.

His friends remember a man who was as careful as anyone.

"(He was) very accomplished, and he used to climb all over the place and all over the world," said Gary Bocard, who had been friends with Evans for nearly 20 years.

Bocard met Evans climbing Denali.

"You're always shocked when a friend and an accomplished climber gets killed in a climbing accident, especially when it's not anything -- at least I don't think it was anything extreme -- that he was doing," Bocard said.

Evans lived in Talkeetna while in Alaska. He spent years guiding and rescuing on Denali, most recently with Alaska Mountaineering School, which was expecting him Friday for his first teaching course of the season.

"He was always involved with rescues," Rob Gowler, a guide with AMS. "Whenever there were rescues going on up on Denali, he was an incident commander, something like that. Everything to him was about safety, safety to the rescuers safety, I mean he always thought about safety."

It was Evans who answered the call for help in 2004 when a climber was killed by a rock slide on Denali's Windy Corner, Gowler said.

But Gowler also remembers the lighter moments.

"I remember being with him a 14,000 feet one year. Me and my crew, we were stuck there forever that year," Gowler said. "We spent eight or 10 days at 14 (thousand feet) and we had a big game ultimate Frisbee -- goggles versus sunglasses -- at 14,000 feet."

Evans is originally from North Wales in the United Kingdom. He leaves behind his partner Lynne and his two children, 22-year-old David and 18-year-old Rhiannon.


Jim said...

Sincere sympathies to all of those lives John was and is a part of. Very nice tribute entry.

Bernd Ade said...

Our sympathy to all John's friend.
John was an integral part of our team to cross the Antarctic in 2010. We learned a lot from John preparing for our trip and we will miss him dearly but we will never forget him.

Bernd Ade