American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

L.C. "Jack" Baldwin, 1921-1986

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987

L.C. “JACK” BALDWIN 1921-1986

The mountaineering world lost a great leader when, on June 26, Jack Baldwin suffered a fatal heart attack at age 65. Jack was bom in Hood River, Oregon and was a descendent of a pioneer Hood River family. He was educated at Oregon State University as an engineer and was owner of the L.C. Baldwin Construction Company. He served with distinction as a Sea-Bee in the South Pacific during World War II.

Jack was an avid and devoted mountain man from adolescence until the time of his death. He climbed hundreds of peaks in the Cascades and Olympics. He became a member of the American Alpine Club in 1955 and was a founding member of the Alpinees, a Hood River climbing and mountain rescue organization, serving as president for many terms. As an engineer, Jack designed and developed a cable rescue system widely used in the Northwest. He was developer and operator of the Cooper Spur Ski Area on Mount Hood.

Jack was a strong and versatile climber and woodsman. He carried huge packs with ease over rough country. If you fell into a stream and your camera was soaked, Jack would pull out of the side pocket of his pack a jeweler’s kit and a vial of alcohol and, two hours later, you had a dry and working camera. If a pack-strap rivet stripped, presto—a rivet kit appeared. If a boot started to come apart, he would dig in his pack and find an awl and thread.

Obviously, Jack was an expedition man par excellence. He was quartermaster of the American Quitana Roo Expedition of 1967, which crossed on foot 170 miles of previously unexplored jungle in Yucatán, Mexico. They discovered significant Mayan ruins en route. He served in the same capacity in the 1978 penetration of the great and previously unexplored canyon of the Río Mesquital between the Mexican states of Durango and Nayarit.

No one could match Jack for pure strength and determination. He was a man who enjoyed the mountains or the jungles to the fullest. The mountain winds and snows exalted him. The jungle Morpho butterflies challenged him.

The Alpinees have established the Jack Baldwin Memorial Fund to assist in financing young climbers and explorers in their efforts to “look behind the ranges.” (Address: Alpinees, c/o Carrol Davis, Hood River, Oregon 97031.)

Jack is survived by his wife Virginia, a son Donald, both of Hood River and a daughter Jan Panfilio of Portland, Oregon.

Robert Lee

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