American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

David Jonathan Bernays, 1932-1980

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  • Publication Year: 1981

DAVID JONATHAN BERNAYS

1932-1980

David J. Bernays was born in 1932 in New York City and died suddenly of a heart attack on July 6, 1980. Dave, who as a young man got his beginning as a mountaineer on the hills and rock faces of the Adirondacks in the 40s, went on to climb in many other parts of the world in the 50s and 60s before settling with his family in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Much of his recent spare-time energy then went into his house and his boat. Professionally he was a skilled electronics expert.

Those of us who were fortunate enough to have climbed with Dave in those mountaineering years found a climbing partner eager to try almost any challenge, from caving to cliff hanging, while at the same time patient enough to teach his skills to anyone who shared his enthusiasm for this vertical sport. While many of us just grumbled about available equipment, Dave was always puttering and perfecting new ideas that quickly led to better clothing, tentage and hardware, especially ice hardware; his popular ice piton was in heavy use for many years and his snow picket is doubtless the best ever designed. Expeditions in the Himalaya and elsewhere have kept in close communication with his super-light radio which runs on tiny flashlight batteries.

After learning to cope well with the mountaineering challenge of the Northeast, Dave was involved in many expeditions, which took him to Mexico, the Canadian Rockies, the Brooks Range of Alaska in the 50s. He took part in three expeditions to Peru in the 60s.

Dave was eager, responsive and a true friend to all who cared to share their world with him.

Harry K. Eldridge

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