Friday, June 22, 2012

Nick Hall

We want to take a moment and honor Nick Hall.  Nick always showed up ready to give his all - not only at work, but at play too.  Nick Hall came to our program as a mid-season emergency hire in 2009 when our climbing ranger program undertook a big transition.  His calm demeanor and dry sense of humor kept even the most serious issues manageable.  Spending time as a Marine Corps Avionics Specialist, Stevens Pass Ski Patroller (SPKA), and hunting in the great Methow Valley, Nick had a rich and varied lifestyle.  Nick's dog Grommet even had a hard time keeping up with all his changes!  One day he'd be in the hot desert climbing and the next he'd be back-country skiing with friends.

Nick served four years as a climbing ranger at Mount Rainier National Park.  He moved quickly from a capable team member to leading climbing patrols and an entire shift of climbing rangers.  His passion for the outdoors, skiing, and climbing showed while he was at work.  Patrolling with Nick meant good food, mind boggling jokes, and of course rad terrain.

Climbing came naturally to Nick.  He spent as little time as possible in the city (for locals: to get to Issaquah from Longmire - he'd drive through the east-side to get there).  Granite and basalt columns were Nick's playground.  Living out of the back of his truck he avoided suburban areas and flourished at local crags, big-wall hangouts, and took the occasional trip to Yosemite. 

The deliberate lifestyle choices that Nick made inspired his friends and co-workers.  His willingness to step up to challenges, try new systems and techniques first, and state exactly how he felt set the bar high for all of us fellow rangers.  Nick risked his life to help others numerous times as a ranger at Mount Rainier.  Never careless, he purposefully went about his job of alpine guardian with finesse and style.

These are a few links for articles regarding Nick... the Seattle Times Rainier Rescue, Last Rescued Climber Leaves Mount Rainier, and Last of Four Rescued Climbers Leave Mount Rainier.  In the next few days as this tragedy progresses we'll be focused on Nick and his family.