American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

John Dupuy Graham, 1896-1981

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1982



John D. (Jack) Graham was one of the most vigorous members of the American Alpine Club. Although he began his hiking and mountaineering in 1927, he did the major number of his climbs after he had passed the age of fifty. He was remarkably athletic and climbed very fast. At the age of 55 he kept up with the famous French guide Lionel Terray when they climbed all five peaks of Mont Blanc in one day in 1951. That same summer Jack climbed all of the 23 peaks in the Alps that were over 14,000 feet. In 1959 and 1960 he climbed all fifteen peaks over 16,000 feet in Africa, including the twin peaks of Mount Kenya, Batian and Nelion, in one day. But the achievement which encouraged many of us to think that we still have a few years left in the mountains came in 1961 when he climbed Mount McKinley at the age of 65.

Jack’s interest in setting records sometimes obscured his deep affection for the mountains. But he loved to climb; he loved the mountains, and he had a fond regard for the American Alpine Club which he joined in 1951. He was a member of the AdAmAn Club of Colorado Springs and especially enjoyed the annual New Year’s Eve climb of Pike’s Peak.

He was born March 21, 1896, in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance and Commerce in 1918. He served with distinction in the Army in France in World War I where he won the nation’s second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross. In World War II he served in the Fifth Air Force in the Pacific with the rank of Major. After the war he lived in Santa Barbara, California where he died on February 15, 1981 from a lingering illness. He left one son, George Ross Graham, four stepsons, Benjamin Cowles Hammett, Lawrence Thayer Hammett, William Regan Graham, George Emlen Graham, and 14 grandchildren.

Jack set a remarkable example as to how we can continue to enjoy the mountains all through our lives and his enthusiasm for the hills will be missed by all who knew him.

Nicholas B. Clinch

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.