ALAN J. GIVLER 1947-1977
A1 Givler and Dusan Jagersky perished last summer in Alaska while descending P 8440. Both were beloved friends of many people and the loss of their continued companionship has been keenly felt. It is an honor and privilege to try to convey some measure of A1 Givler’s contribution to American mountaineering to those of you who did not know him, and therefore were not befriended in turn.
A1 will always be remembered as an extremely gifted climber. He was equally at home on big walls, extreme free climbs or snow and ice. His wall climbs included the Salathé, the Integral, the West Face of Sentinel, the first ascent of the Black Dike on Squamish Chief and the east face routes on Liberty Bell. His prowess as a free climber had led to such ascents as Meatgrinder and Reed’s Triple Direct. He established new standards and routes in Washington. He had climbed most of the harder alpine routes in the Cascades. He was particularly pleased that he had been selected to attempt K2 this summer.
In addition, A1 gave unselfishly of his time and talents to the entire climbing community. He was a climbing instructor for the Mountaineers and the University of Washington climbing courses, eventually becoming the director of the latter’s climbing program. Also, he was heavily involved with the Mountain Rescue Council in Seattle serving as both an operation leader and a Medic. He was an instructor for the Red Cross and specialized in giving mountaineering oriented first-aid courses.
However, Al’s greatest attribute was his approach to life, his unexcelled and unrestrained exuberance and joy. Al’s presence assured that an outing would be a success. No matter if the weather soured, he simply redefined the objective. If we couldn’t climb, then we would “do a storm” or model the latest in mountain storm apparel! A1 cared deeply for people. The bonds of friendship forged in a wilderness environment were far more important to him than a particular ascent. His enthusiasm was contagious and for this reason all outings with A1 were fun, happy and memorable.
It is unacceptable that he is no longer with us and the sorrow, attendant with that reality, could be overwhelming. Yet Al, above all, would not want us to grieve. I prefer to think that what he gave to his friends will always be with us. His life and personality defined for us his ultimate objective; to love and spread happiness.