American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Mark Dennis Weigelt, 1949-1972

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1973

MARK DENNIS WEIGELT 1949-1972

Mark Weigelt died on October 15, 1972, in a massive rockfall in the exit gully of the Ice Cliff Glacier on Mount Stuart in the Washington Cascades. He was very exuberant that day because the glacier was well broken, in excellent shape, we were climbing well, and it was a beautiful day. He enjoyed his last day, as all his others, to its fullest.

Mark, a native of Washington, grew up with a fine view of the Olympics beckoning from his front window. Because of his natural abilities as a gymnast, he took up rock climbing while still in high school. He rapidly became an expert, climbing throughout Leavenworth and making seasonal trips to Yosemite.

However, Mark was not content to be just a rock climber and eventually took up alpine climbing. His first ascents include numerous routes in the Leavenworth rock climbing areas, as well as technical alpine routes in the Northwest and Canada.

Because of his gregarious nature, and because he wanted others to be able to climb safely, Mark taught some of the University of Washington’s climbing classes. He devoted time to this, not for any monetary rewards, but to help his students to really appreciate and protect the mountain environment. His course was difficult, and only those with a real dedication ever bothered to finish the course. He always started out with a difficult map and compass bushwhack and bivouac, to ferret out those who didn’t already have a deep motivation to be in the mountains. Those who completed Mark’s course learned not only the technical aspects of the sport, but also of the fragility of the mountain environment and the need to think about and be responsible for one’s actions.

The thing that one most remembers about Mark is his personality. He was strong and belligerent, yet filled with a deep kindness for those around him. He was full of energy—always had to be doing something. When the weather was not suitable for climbing, he was down at the “Y” working out or playing basketball, or off on a bicycle trip.

For being such an excellent climber, Mark was always willing to climb with a partner of nearly any ability—and help him or her enjoy the climb. He was sure of himself, yet felt no need to prove it.

The mountains were such a large part of Mark’s life, it seems fitting that his death was there, but it is hard to accept that such a vital friend is no longer with us.

Earl W. Hamilton

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