American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Robert C. Linck, 1905-1970

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1971

ROBERT C. LINCK 1905-1970

The American Alpine Club has lost a devoted friend with the untimely death of Robert C. Linck on July 17, 1970, at the age of 64. He was born in Philadelphia on December 24, 1905, and graduated summa cum laude in engineering from Lehigh University in 1926. He succeeded his father in becoming president of the Linck Sheet Metal Company, with offices in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh and Washington, a firm connected with important enterprises, among them the National Cathedral, the Mellon Gallery and the Jefferson Memorial. He had many interests outside of business: music (he was a talented pianist); a collector of minerals, and in all things connected with outdoor life. He was a member of the Pickwick Table of the Union League, the Engineers Club, the Swiss and Canadian Alpine Clubs, and the American Alpine Club, to which he was elected in 1950. He is survived by his widow, the former Mignon Fox, a son, Robert E., and a daughter, Mrs. Richard Bozorth; a family unique in that all four became members of our Club.

He began climbing in 1947 with our fellow-member, G. E. Landt, visiting the Selkirks under the guidance of Ernest Feuz. This led to repeated vacations in Canada, where, in 1948, he was fortunate in discovering Camille Couttet, of Chamonix, then employed as a ski instructor at Mount Temple Lodge.

This was the beginning of an enduring friendship. Bob, his wife and Camille made ascents in many parts of the Rockies between Lake Louise and Jasper, from such areas as the Columbia Icefield (Mount Athabaska in 1949, Mount Castleguard in 1949 and 1956; Tonquin Valley (Mount Clitheroe, Bennington Peak); Maligne Lake (Mounts Unwin and Henry McLeod, Coronet Mountain); Berg Lake (Mounts Mumm and Resplendent). In 1952, with the late Walter Perrin, Couttet being unavailable, Bob went to the Freshfield Group, where, among other climbs, they made the first ascent of Pangman Peak. In 1954 Linck was in the Tetons, completing the season with a moonlight ascent of the Grand Teton led by Glen Exum.

In other years the Lincks and Couttet were in the Alps, ranging along the chain from the Dauphiné to the Zillertal in a modern version of Conway’s “Alps from End to End.” Names indicate this: Barre des Ecrins, Mont Blanc, Aiguille du Plan, Aiguille d’Argentière, La Nonne, Aiguille du Moine, Pointe Isabel, Les Courtes. The High Level route to Zermatt: Mont Blanc de Seilon (1950); most of the important peaks of the Zermatt area, including two ascents of the Matterhorn (with his son, 1950; with his daughter, 1955). His further ascents were made in the Bernese Oberland, the Bernina, Ortler area, the Oetztal, Zillertal, and Brenta Dolomites. His last season (1960) was with the guide Oswald Brantschen of Randa, when they climbed widely separated peaks, among them Aiguille de la Za, Weisshorn and Königspitze.

Beyond this, Bob Linck was quite content in any outdoor environment, making one aware of this through his magnificent photography. His wife supplies notes of an unusual day out of Chamonix, quite in the tradition of the 18th century crystal seekers, the forerunners of pioneer guides: “In 1959 we went on a crystal hunt with Camille and his friend Luc. We started from the Couvercle Hut, where we had gone the night before. Mardi, le jour des Crystaux, le 1 Sept. Up at 4 – off in a beautiful early morning light at 5 o’clock. Luc had on a pair of old boots with tricounis on the heels. Crossed Glacier de Talèfre to Col de Talèfre — reached rognon of rock and found exciting traces on top. Luc went across col to wall and did some real prospecting – found a pocket. Worked over an hour and called us. We went over with sacks and ropes and perched ourselves on steps while Camille and he worked the mine for over an hour. With bloody knuckles and elbow, Luc produced a marvelous collection of smoky quartz crystals. We felt very lucky since Luc had not guaranteed finding anything, but assured us that he had “un bon nez’ for crystals. This trip was one of our greatest pleasures.’

Bob Linck managed publication of our Journal, 1952-70, and served as treasurer of the Club from January, 1968, until the time of his last illness. He was a Man for All Seasons, a friend whom we shall all miss.

J. Monroe Thorington.

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