American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Richard N. Meyer

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1958

RICHARD N. MEYER

Many will remember Richard Meyer’s story called "A Middle-Aged Mountain” that appeared in last year’s Journal. This was the mellow account of a climber who had also mellowed, ascending a peak—the Ankogel —that had seemingly lost its harshness, too. But there is a story behind the story, because when Dick Meyer wrote his account of a peak revisited he knew that he had come down to the valley for the last time and had, in fact, only a few months left to live.

"A Middle-Aged Mountain” is a unique tribute to its author, reflecting in its gracious style and sophisticated humor the qualities that made Dick Meyer a gentleman even when faced with the certainty of his own disaster.

For those who knew him, it will be the fact of his complete decency that will always be remembered. He was tremendously competent, too. Whatever he undertook, professionally or in private life, was done truly well, for he had the good sense to leave to others tasks he was not cut out for. He could not, for example, drive a nail and therefore left this sort of thing to the handyman, but on the other hand he was a superb photographer, assembling a fine collection of pictures covering Madeleine’s and his many travels. He climbed, skied, and golfed with equal skill. He became a member of the A.A.C. in 1951. Dick Meyer possessed a prodigious knowledge of history and the arts. The conversation when he was in the room was always enriched by this and his wonderfully witty sense of humor. Dick, among many talents, was also an extraordinary linguist, an ability which, while normally serving an important function in connection

with his work in the field of education and on his assignments in the diplomatic service, could also be used to provide hilarious entertainment, particularly when satirizing the speech and manner of some typical character. Many warm and touching things can be said about Dick, but they only further serve to describe someone who was truly a gentleman. In life he was regarded as such by all who knew him, an impression that could only have been eclipsed by one of the immense courage he displayed as the certainty of the end became daily more real. Dick left many wonderful things to remember him by, but it is the image of a courageous and gracious man that will always abide in the minds and hearts of those who knew him.

J. Bruce McWilliams

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