Mountaineering Legend Bob Bates Has Passed


More sad news to the world of mountaineering today, as Jake Norton has posted that mountaineering legend Bob Bates has passed at the age of 96.

Bates was truly one of the great, early American mountaineers, making early expeditions to Denali, Ojos del Salado in Chile, and of course two famous climbs on K2. It was during the 1953 K2 climb that Pete Schoening made his heroic self arrest that ended up saving the entire team, although Art Gilke eventually succumbed to other injuries. That daring self arrest became known in climbing circles simply as “The Belay”.

As Jake notes in his blog post, Bates wasn’t just a mountaineer however. He was also an author, professor and the first director of the Peace Corps in Nepal. Some of his books are amongst the seminal works on mountaineering in the 20th Century, including Five Miles High and K2: The Savage Mountain.

You can read his full obituary here.

So passes a true legend. Although it is a sad time for his friends and family, we must also remember that at the age of 96, this man could go to the great beyond, having lived a true life of adventure.

7 thoughts on “Mountaineering Legend Bob Bates Has Passed”

  1. Very sad…
    One of my first mountaineering books read was one of his…
    We can only hope to live this long, give back so much, and enjoy such a life of adventure…
    DSD

  2. I agree. It’s hard not to be sad for the loss of a legend like Bob, but on the other hand, if I live to be 96, I’d be feeling like I did pretty good for myself.

    He lived a long and fulfilling life, and what more can you ask for?

  3. IT’S DISAPPOINTING THAT YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT THE BELAY ON K2 ARE SO INACCURATE. IT WAS NOT A “SELF ARREST” BUT A CAREFULLY PLANTED BELAY BY SCHOENING, AN EXPERT IN THE SKILL OF THE BELAY AND OF EXCEPTIONAL STRENGTH THAT SAVED BOB BATES AND 4 OTHERS—-

  4. You’re right. I misspoke when I said it was a self arrest. And your comments are spot on in regards to “The Belay”.

    Sorry to “disappoint” of course. BTW, where is your capslock?

  5. You are right. I didn’t need to shout! Have you read the new biography of Charlie Houston? Mountaineer books has published it and it comes with the CD of the Brotherhood of the Rope. In paperback for 19.95 it is the best buy around.

  6. Nope, I haven’t read it, but I’m looking for something new to read, and getting the “Brotherhood of the Rope” along with it does sound like a bargain. I definitely have to look that up. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

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